Downham’s Arbuckles plans £1 million expansion with opening of new restaurant in Ely

An initial design idea for how Arbuckles new Ely restaurant may shape up. ANL-160816-122228001
An initial design idea for how Arbuckles new Ely restaurant may shape up. ANL-160816-122228001
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Arbuckles restaurant in Downham has major expansion plans set to see the opening of up to five more restaurants in the East of England over the next five years with its first due to open in Ely in February.

The restaurant located by the A10 at Bexwell which serves classic American-style meals will continue to be a cornerstone of the business.

The Ely restaurant, costing between £750,000 and £1 million, will be in the new Cineworld leisure complex currently being built and will have around 175 seats.

Arbuckles was opened by John and Maxine Murphy in 2008 and its huge success has been attributed to the staff who work there and has enabled the business to expand. They are the parents of Norwich City twin stars Jacob and Josh Murphy.

Said John: “The quality of my staff is outstanding. They are genuinely nice people who work incredibly hard. We have had a lot of our staff for a long time and I am confident that with the development of the business I will be able to keep them long into the future.

“We have some amazing people who work for us, but up until now with no opportunity for promotion. With the Ely restaurant opening, it will mean that they will be able to move on up into new roles. We have already selected our management team for Ely from those who work here.

“Everyone is massively enthusiastic about Ely opening and it is a major investment. Our five-year plan is for between three and five more restaurants, including Ely, but we will wait until the new restaurant has been open for about a year. We like the idea of perhaps expanding into Peterborough and Norwich in the future.”

The Ely restaurant will have a minimum of 30 staff, with 12 moving there from the Downham site, which at present employs 98 in full and part-time roles. This will mean more recruitment at Downham for replacements and more positions to be filled at Ely.

“Downham is our flagship and will always be the core of our business and head of operations. It is also where all our training will be done,” said John.

The design for Ely is almost complete and has been based on the Downham restaurant which has expanded several times since opening and is laid in three main areas. These are the main restaurant for casual family dining, the conservatory which is a quieter adults-only room and the Chandelier Room designed for larger group bookings. All three areas combine to accommodate 340 diners at any one time.

“Arbuckles serves around 6,000 customers per week. Hopefully the new restaurant in Ely will take some of our current customers as the Downham site still has to turn away around 500 people over a week because we are fully booked. This should then create extra capacity for more people to be able to use the Downham restaurant,” said John.