Pubs get big lift from M&B spend

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Related tags: Cask ale, Public house

by The PMA Team Mitchells & Butlers has refurbished and re-opened 32 unbranded pubs in London aimed at "metropolitan professionals". The pubs,...

by The PMA Team Mitchells & Butlers has refurbished and re-opened 32 unbranded pubs in London aimed at "metropolitan professionals". The pubs, such as the Prince Albert in Notting Hill and the Washington in Belsize Park, are among the Allied Domecq pubs the company bought from Hugh Osmond. In a dire state on acquisition, Mitchells & Butlers has invested an average of £250,000 per site to return them to their former glory. Chief executive Tim Clarke said: "Most of them were trading well below their level of opportunity. They are beautiful pubs that have been appallingly neglected and we're seeing sales uplift well over 50% and returns over 30%. "They've been restored to bring out their individual character and have been a huge hit within their neighbourhoods." The pubs offer an "integrated food and drink offer" but with a strong focus on a large range of cask ale. "Our sales of cask ale from family brewers is absolutely booming ­ it is one of the most exciting aspects of our sales development." This news came as the company revealed a strong performance in its restaurant and suburban brands ­ but continued weakness in London and on high streets. Total drink sales were down by 1% while food sales showed 2.7% growth ­ its pubs in London and on high street circuits that had not seen investment saw sales drop by 7%. Overall, like- for-like sales for the 32 weeks to 10 May were down 3.7%. The company, which employs 40,000 people in retail estate, has achieved a 5% increase in productivity by more targeted staffing and increased incentives. "We're rewarding teams at outlet level who achieve sales targets associated with particular promotions ­ a Daily Mail wrap on Ember, for example," said Clarke. "We recognise people are going to be working much harder, with a much bigger sales gain through the outlet. There is a direct compatibility between the pub doing well to the benefit of the company ­ and people in the pub doing well." For the six months to 12 April, turnover rose 1% to £793m, with pre-tax profit down 7% to £93m New flagship Browns brasserie Mitchells & Butlers is to open a flagship Browns brasserie on London's Teatrade Wharf ­ the next wharf to Butlers Wharf and close to an existing All Bar One and Terence Conran's Pont de la Tour. The outlet, which will open in July, will have 250 covers inside and a further 170 outside, making it marginally larger than the St Martins Lane Browns, previously the brand's largest site. "It's a wonderful opportunity to open a flagship site," said Clarke. O'Neill's hits the right notes Tim Clarke has highlighted the continued strong performance of the 91-strong O'Neill's Irish pub chain. "It continues to be one of our most profitable brands," he said. "Its success has been about authenticity. We've continued to recruit experienced licensees from Dublin and other Irish cities, and put investment behind live bands. "If you go to Wardour Street and watch a live band, you can see why that site continues to generate sales of £70,000 to £80,000 a week.".

Related topics: Mitchells & Butlers

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