Findlay revealed that the c.150-strong Two for One portfolio is an “inordinately successful operating format”.
“It’s one of the most successful formats that we have. This year we’ll build 10 new ones and convert 15 from other formats.”
Findlay said the key was to “premiumise the offer” by, for example, making the venues “more attractive, warmer” and bringing in hand-held ordering technology.
“It may be value but at the same time it’s premium — it’s about getting that balance right,” he told the conference, which was held at Numis’s offices in the City of London.
Findlay also revealed that Marston’s plans to target a profit mix of 50% managed; 30% tenanted and leased; and 20% franchised (compared to the current mix of 48% manged; 44% tenanted and leased; and 8% franchised). Findlay called franchise a “game changer in our tenanted and leased estate”, adding that he expects more short-term tenancies and smaller managed pubs to be converted to franchise.
Marston’s growth strategy is focused on new-builds, with around 25 planned for this year.
Asked about possible acquisitions in the future, Findlay said: “I would never rule anything out. “We would look at attractive acquisitions that are on the market.”
However, he would be “cautious” of such a move, pointing out that good returns would be difficult.