Located in the trendy West End of Glasgow, Francos is reborn from it’s previous branding The Kelbourne Saint. Our Fierce team are what some may call “Regulars” in the West End bars (our Head of Digital literally lives behind Francos).
When we spoke to our Friends at Kained Holdings – the Owners of Fierce – about the re-brand from Kelbourne Saint to Francos it felt like a good chance to pay them a visit for a pint, some ridiculously good grub and a good old fashioned chin wag to see what’s what.
On one dull, grey Glasgow Saturday morning, some of the team nipped over to Francos for food, a few beers and a catch up with Bar Manager Graeme Roberts. Curiosity and the thirst for a nice crisp pint of Apache (West Brewery speciality, brewed in a microbrewery inside Francos) was enough to encourage us to arrange a catch up to find out: why the re-brand? Why Francos? and what’s the plans for the new face of this historic Scottish pub?
Check out our video here for how we got on and you can see the full interview below…
Fierce Francos Interview
J: The theme from going from the Kelbourne Saint to Francos based on trainspotting – whats your goal for the bar and getting it back to its roots?
G in bar: We realised we made a bit of an error, in the past where we maybe scared away some regulars, because we went too much into the way of the restaurant. So, the reason I’ve been brought in here is to try and get it back into a pub vibe. So many locals live around here but at the moment it wasn’t anybody’s regular boozer as such and so we want to be a more attractive option for the people that live around here. As well as that we want to attract students, freshers is coming up and it’s a perfect time to do it aswell. We want a friendly vibe, somewhere people can come and sit, have a beer and watch the telly, get a cheap drink- we’re going to have drinks promos. Also, we’ve went in a completely different direction for the menu before it was like rotisserie chicken, maybe too much. So the way we’ve got pizzas, dirty burgers really good messy food but cheap aswell so you know you’re getting it for a good price.
J: So touching on the group that this bar belongs too, Lebowskis, The finnieston – Kaines Holdings. Is Francos being movie based and Lebowskis being movie based a total coincidence?
G: Yeah it was just coincidence, lewbowksis was purely based on the film, with this when we took on the unit, me and the guys realised this was where the famous scene from Trainspotting, the first one was filmed where Begby threw the glass. So you you’ve got that wee tool there to play with so it’d be silly not to use it. Calling it Francos, it’s such an ice breaker for the customers as well, if they ask “so where does the name come from” we can be like oh well, this is actually where the scene was filmed etc and it just starts up a really conversation with the customer.
J: Yeah completely, from our marketing and digital angle it gives you a story to tell and there’s so many ways you can tap into that, it just plays into everything else. So outside, tell me about that?
Outside with G: So outside, this is a really big selling point for us is the outside area, as we’ve got five heated huts which are so popular during the summer but even on a cold night we still get people sitting out there because the huts are heated, and you control the heating in them and they’re also kitted out with plugs and usb sockets so you can charge your phone or plug in some music! But that’s not all the outside offers, we’ve got numerous benches for people to sit at and we’ve got a projector outside and the plan is to maybe show movies out there, maybe some sporting events. But the other thing that we have which is also a really big selling point is our family friendly area, so the kids can play while their maw and paw (lol) have some food…don’t want to say a drink.
J: that’s good it’s kid friendly, dog friendly, local, outside space. These are new when you took over originally?
G: yeah so West Brewery, as part of Kaines holdings actually brew pilsner called apache which comes straight from the tank which is really big selling point and they taste so fresh. Really good beer.
J: just gives a really good visual…so with the refresh besides booths and the open plan kitchen, that’s obviously been a design you’ve chosen to give visibility.
G: yeah exactly like for me personally being in a restaurant where you can see your food being cooked and prepped and see what’s going on, see that its clean- just things like that. Also we had the big space with the rostiiserie was so we just cut it down a bit and lets just make it bigger.
J: How long did the refurb take? From kelboure saint to francos?
G: it was really about 3 weeks,
J: really, was it closed for 3 weeks?
G: yeah we opened for a couple of nights as we had a wedding and we had to open for a few, but we still honoured some bookings because we’ve got really strong bookings for sat/sun for brunches. We don’t want to upset anyone who’s booked of course. And the place was ok it just didn’t have the high tables, they’re pretty much brand new and were brought in for the opening yesterday, and again I think like I think with the tables it brings back the feeling of it being a bar.
J: so in terms of your soft launch, in terms of the launch on Friday, what have you got in for that?
G: There’s a big push on social media, we’ve got a small Pr team doing work for us to, out with flyers- obviously we’ve got so many flats out here and with student halls not far away, even the park like Kelvingrove park, even if it’s a nice day we’ll just go round with a few flyers, it might peak everyone’s interest.
J: And with fresher’s week coming aswell
G: yeah that’s just been a happy coincidence, just the fact that freshers is here it gives you a whole new demographic to target which might have been missed in the past.
J: Yeah there’s a lot of footfall for that in this area which is great.
G: yeah and a lot of the time the students don’t come from Glasgow and they don’t know and where is good, so if you catch their interest then they’ll come down and see what its about.
J: yeah its good and its just a good space, really looking forward to coming down and seeing it-it’ll be my local! is the sign being redone?
G: yeah that’ll be done in time for Friday.
J: yeah that’s great, the moustache can be the thing you become known for…
G: yeah that’s it but I think it’s such an effective logo too. Yeah we’ve got plans to put some pictures up from trainspotting which will be good.
J: yeah that’ll strengthen the link between francos and trainspotting.