Award-winning bar group Arc Inspirations has successfully launched its first landmark venue of 2023 and remains on course to unveil three more grand openings before December, in what the founder and CEO has described as a transformational year for the group.
The ‘incredible’ opening, in Sheffield, will be followed by multi-million pound venue launches in Birmingham, Newcastle and Nottingham, in what is a period of significant investment and site growth, following investment in the business by BGF (the Business Growth Fund).
Bringing masterfully-crafted cocktails and the exciting and unmistakable beat of New York to Sheffield city centre, Manahatta features a 14-metre feature bar and a first-floor balcony overlooking City Hall. The venue has outperformed all expectations in its opening weeks, with outstanding guest feedback, and strong pre-booked sales.
The Sheffield launch follows a strong Christmas period for the Leeds-based operator. Total Like-For-Like Sales for the six weeks to the end of 2022 across Manahatta, BOX and Banyan were up by 3.2% on 2021, and 25.5% on 2020. Pre-Booked Sales accounted for a record 49% of total sales as groups looked to secure their spot at Arc’s premium venues for key celebration and sporting moments.
Building on recent successes, Arc Inspirations has confirmed that its 20th launch will be BOX, in Birmingham’s Brindleyplace, in early June. The new opening follows a period of strong trading for BOX, where like-for-like sales in the six weeks to the end of 2022 were up 22% year-on-year, and the Deansgate site in Manchester posted a company record gross sales week, turning over more than £200,000 thanks to two England games in the Men’s World Cup, and Tyson Fury vs Derek Chisora III. The Brindleyplace venue, on the site of an old PizzaExpress restaurant, will replicate Deansgate’s two-floor design, and bring a game-changing, high quality sports bar to the heart of the Second City.
Arc Inspirations, which posted record revenues for the year ending 31st March 2022, is planning to open at least two more sites in the next twelve months – BOX in Nottingham, and Manahatta in Newcastle. In Nottingham, the company has been granted a license to open the 12,000 square foot former All Saints store on Thurland Street, while planning and licensing have also been approved for a site at a former Allied Irish Bank branch on Collingwood Street in Newcastle.
To supplement a year of significant growth, Arc is also investing record amounts in its people, with the announcement of its first ever company-wide summer party. Arc In The Park will take place in a secret location on July 4th, with all 20 sites closing for the day, giving more than 1,000 team members the chance to enjoy an exclusive, unforgettable festival experience, with drinks and music set to be provided courtesy of suppliers and partners.
The operator has also recently revealed the names of the 26 team members selected for the company’s annual incentive ski trip to Meribel. The much sought-after trip is a reward for top performers in the group’s Diamond Leadership table, who have delivered outstanding performance against a series of metrics, including sales and profit, team retention, training, NPS, environmental standards and atmosphere audits. Arc has invested more than £50,000 in the four-night trip, which will take place in March.
Co-Founder and CEO, Martin Wolstencroft, said: “2023 is going to be a transformational year for us, so we’re delighted to have delivered such an incredible opening for Manahatta in Sheffield. This has been a fantastic effort from all our team, who have worked together to open so smoothly and with such great impact, resulting in brilliant feedback and very encouraging trading so far.
“As we continue to grow, it becomes more important than ever to attract and retain the best people, and we’re always looking at ways to incentivise and reward them for their hard work. Our Meribel trip is the stuff of legend within the company, and we’re very excited about putting on the mother of all summer parties for all our people at Arc in the Park.”
With a prominent footprint in neighbourhood locations, Banyan benefitted from Christmas Eve falling on a Saturday as families and friends looked for a stylish bar experience close to home – like for like Christmas Eve sales increased by 16.5% across the brand.
On New Year’s Eve, total Like-For-Like sales across the Arc estate were up 10.3% year-on-year, and 14.7% on 2020 figures. Sales at Manahatta on Temple Street in Birmingham were up 68% year-on-year, with the venue, which launched in 2020, now fully established as one of the West Midlands’ go-to party destinations.