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Flanagans gears up for AC with online boost

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View from the top: Flanagans new-look terrace from above

Front Street fixture Flanagans Irish Pub is to boost its online presence as it gears up for a 2017 business boost from the America’s Cup.

But Chris Garland, one of the three directors of Harbourside Holdings, which also owns the Outback sports bar and the Snug Café, said the company was not pinning all its hopes on the event next year, which will also mark the tenth anniversary of their team taking over the pub.

Mr Garland said: “Some of it is it’s our tenth anniversary of ownership, some of it is because it’s the right time, but the investment was done as a way to strengthen our brand and show the world we are a well-established business and a well-established country.

“We have to be seen as a country that has got its act together.”

He added that America’s Cup-linked races last October had been a major boost for the hospitality industry in Hamilton.

He said: “We should use the America’s Cup as an opportunity to take that volume to the next level. We haven’t seen extended volume like we saw last October.

“If that’s extended for five weeks, it’s a major thing.”

The new website, designed by island IT experts Fireminds and set to be live soon, features a more interactive calendar section so customers can see at a glance what events are going on.

Mr Garland said: “That will be useful for Outback customers in planning for sports events.”

He added that people can also use the website to e-mail reservations, with diagrams of the bars so people can pick their favourite table. check if private parties are being held and watch videos of both bars.

The site also has a live feed to Facebook and Trip Advisor.

Deon Mills, also a director, said: “Online is huge — technology means everybody uses iPhones and iPads. We’ve finally got our website where we want it to be and got all our information out there.

“The new additions to our websites will be tremendous for our business moving forward.”

Mr Garland added: “We’ve basically gone into a real partnership with Gosling’s and had all our porch furniture replaced and a new awning structure put in.”

And Outback has benefited from a large new drop-down projector screen for sports events, while the doors have been altered to allow more natural light into the bar space.

The pub also now boasts a range of 15 different beers. Mr Garland said the Bermuda Tourism Authority had done a good job in promoting the island in the run-up to the America’s Cup.

He added: “The rest of the industry has to do the same and get together.”

Mr Garland said the group also pitches in to help sports teams, with sponsorship of the Onions football team and the Budgies ladies hockey squad.

Harbourside Holdings also backs the YouthNet development programme and the Kids over BAA championship league.

Mr Mills said: “We have believed from day one in rewarding our hard-working staff. Our unique ownership structure allows our staff to become working partners in the business.

“This is a great staff incentive. When the business does well, we all benefit. Our working partners are heavily involved in the running of the business.

“Having such a joint ownership structure with the majority of the partners working on site on a day-to-day basis is simply a formula that works.”

Staff meeting: employees and management at Flanagans inside the Front Street fixture's Irish pub