A former paratrooper and his brother have transformed a pub in Wormfingford and are reaping the benefits of their investment.
Adam and Shaun Pullum took over The Crown in October and promptly set about putting their own stamp on the business with a host of changes.
Adam spent 11 years in the Army’s parachute regiment before deciding to change career and join his brother in the industry.
“It has been a massive change for me,” said Adam, 30. “It has not been easy but it is good to see the business growing and being successful.
Shaun, 28, was previously general manager at The Lemon Tree and The Lexden Crown in Colchester, having started as a chef.
“He has been in the business for years and we wanted to open our own business,” said Adam. “I used to work for him on holidays from the Army and we wanted to do this together.”
Having acquired the pub, the pair took steps to refurbish and update the building.
“We put in a new kitchen, new toilets and did some general painting and decorating,” said Adam.
“It has mostly been things like a new gas tank that people don’t necessarily see. The investment has been between £40,000 and £50,000.”
He said the efforts appeared to be paying off, with review website Tripadvisor ranking the restaurant as the best in Colchester since January – until it was reclassified as separate to the town.
“We have increased turnover and the number of covers week by week,” said Adam.
The Crown currently has a four-and-a-half star rating from 93 reviews on the website.
The pub has also increased staff numbers and changed its menu.
“When we started, there were five part-time staff. Two of those are still here but we now have between 20 and 30 part-time and full-time staff,” said Adam.
“We have come in with a completely different menu, with full a la carte, a set price menu and light lunches. It is more of a bistro-style menu whereas before it was traditional pub grub.”
Despite their success, the pair are not planning on slowing down.
“We held a wedding earlier this year in a marquee, and we are looking to add a proper wedding venue on site,” said Adam.
“Ideally, we want to build a wedding bar and room as we have got a good amount of land at the pub with nice views over the River Stour.”
The brothers, whose aunt helps with their accounts and whose cousin works at The Crown, are keen to expand and would like to secure another pub within the next six months.