15- fold increase in Turnover for redeveloped Comber restaurant


A 30-year-old family restaurant and hotel in Comber has achieved a 15-fold increase in turnover since undergoing a six figure redevelopment supported by Ulster Bank.

The OId Schoolhouse Inn on the Ballydrain Road, which was taken over by the Marco Pierre White-trained son of the founders last year, has also increased staff numbers by more than 20 since the refurbishment was completed in June.

Ulster Bank provided funding of £140,000 to support the project, which saw a complete overhaul of the long-standing premises to include a new lounge, refurbished 50-seat restaurant and nine hotel bedrooms.

William Brown, who also worked under Gordon Ramsay in London before coming back to Northern Ireland to take over the business of his parents, Terry and Avril, says that the success of the investment will lead to further new jobs.

“I wanted to turn what was a longstanding and successful family business into one of the top restaurants in Northern Ireland, and we’re well on the way to achieving that. We are now completely booked out every Thursday, Friday and Saturday and extremely busy the rest of the week too. Turnover and employment have increased significantly, and we plan to further develop the business, including the addition of a cookery school, which will lead to further new jobs,” he says.

Ulster Bank supported the refurbishment of the premises with funds from the HMT / Bank of England Funding for Lending Scheme.

William says that the success story would not have been possible without the bank’s support: “I want to stress the absolutely vital role of Ulster Bank in making this possible by having the vision and confidence to provide the funding to make it happen.”

Business Manager James Foote says: “We have worked closely with the family for many years and were extremely impressed by William’s impact on the business since taking it over in 2012, achieving excellent reviews and increasing custom. His plans for the business were well thought out and carefully put together and we are very pleased to work with him to make them a successful reality.”

Ulster Bank was the first local bank to join the HMT / Bank of England Funding for Lending Scheme, in September 2012, and has since agreed over £100m in new lending to more than 600 companies under the scheme.

Further information about how Ulster Bank can help companies under the Funding for Lending Scheme can be found here.

Further information about the Old Schoolhouse Inn can be found at: