Bar Med brand set for major surgery

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Bar Med, one of SFI's three core brands, is set for a major overhaul which could see the bar chain re-named.Executive chairman Stuart Lawson, who...

Bar Med, one of SFI's three core brands, is set for a major overhaul which could see the bar chain re-named.

Executive chairman Stuart Lawson, who last week unveiled the group's recovery strategy, said its two other concepts needed tweaking but Bar Med needed more extensive work.

He had not ruled out a re-branding of the high street bar business. "Bar Med has lost some of its relevance," said Mr Lawson. "Some brands are capable of evolution, some need more dynamic attention."

SFI has "re-modelled" a site in Bournemouth. It is still a Bar Med but had been "toned down" the company said.

The brand was put up for sale last year when the company ran into trouble. It was later withdrawn from the market after bids failed to meet SFI's own valuation. The estate has since been boiled down from 30 sites to 22.

Mr Lawson believes SFI's two other core brands simply need tweaking. He said: "Research shows that Slug & Lettuce is well understood. It will be treated carefully and is certainly capable of evolution with regard to the offer and product ranges."

The SFI boss said Litten Tree would need slightly more attention. Jez King, the former Springwood and Regent director, has been recruited as operations director of Litten Tree.

"There is a degree of confusion with Litten Tree," said Mr Lawson. "It trades in a number of places and there appears to be three templates.

"We need to evolve it more strongly and be clear about what we want to be - it needs to be more differentiated. We have to get better on service and standards and compete on price.

"We also need to get the right balance between national and local activity - we went a bit too national."

Related articles:

SFI finance director Tim Andrews quits (8 April 2004)

Troubled bar group to sue auditors (8 April 2004)

SFI Group gets bank lifeline (8 April 2004)

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