Substantial numbers of Marston's pub tenants have recorded increased food sales since the introduction of the smoking ban on 1 July, according to a recent survey.
Around 40 of the 100 licensees quizzed said sales had risen while 50 hosts said they planned to develop the food side of their business.
The survey was part of the Marston's Pub Company's independent research programme, which seeks
licensees' views on a range of issues. Most hosts said they had taken action to develop outside smoking initiatives, but only 25% felt the ban would improve business.
A further 25% felt the ban would make no difference while 25% said it would have a negative effect.
Marston's said the research gives a picture of how licensees view the company. The feedback is used to make improvements to its support package to licensees.
"We have involved a cross section of licensees including existing tenants, new customers and those leaving the business, so we can build up a complete picture of what we are getting right and what we are getting wrong," said marketing and development director Andrew Cooney.
Licensees rated the pubco as good on technical support, logistics and communication, but felt it fell short in areas such as building repairs.
"One of our priorities is to attract top quality entrepreneurs and we can only do this if we have great pubs backed by first-class support. The research is important because it will allow us to address our weaknesses, improve our standards and ultimately our reputation," Cooney said.