Pie-maker Pieminister has established shops in a university and three London pubs as it reported its own shop business was 35% up year on year. 

Co-owners Tristan Hogg and Jon Simon now run 10 pie shops across the UK, with negotiations currently under way for another “in the north”; a deal is set to be finalised in December. Six of the 10 are licensed and this is the model the pair are looking for in the future.

Last month a pie shop was installed at Exeter University and has been “absolutely flying”, equating to a £400,000-a-year business. Pieminister is also in talks with other universities, including Bath, Cardiff and Birmingham, to implement a similar model. Hogg told British Baker: “This really opens up a whole new world for us.”

When asked whether the bespoke pie shop could be added to bakeries, he said: “We would consider doing it in different places. The one at Exeter University is a pretty similar concept with the same kind of structure. We approached them as we wanted to test it out.”

Pie pub

A Pieminister pie shop has also just soft-launched in the Nellie Dean pub in Soho, central London, with its big push to come after building work has been completed in around two months. It is a similar idea and has taken the pub from being entirely wet-led to making around £3,000 a week on food.

The pie offer takes up a whole floor of the pub and is called Upstairs at Nellie Dean. It comprises a counter, seating and branding. Pieminister takes 10% of the fit-out cost as a “franchise fee” and offers help in getting the package up and running. Then it takes a 10% “royalty”, for which the business gets after-sales service, such as mystery shoppers to check on staff, service and food, marketing initiatives and innovations.

In addition to the Nellie Dean, the British Oak in Blackheath, south-east London, and St James in Bermondsey, south-east London also offer a bespoke pie service, with talks under way with a pub in Kings Cross and another site owned by Bradford Brewery, due to open at the start of 2015. There is also a plan to roll out a further 28 with pub company Enterprise Inns, which owns all the pubs that currently house the offer. Hogg told British Baker the company plans to have 100 of these pie pubs within the next two to three years.