Walkabout operator turns attention to all-day format

By James Wallin, M&C Report

- Last updated on GMT

Walkabout Carlisle: The company said it is concerned with 'quality not quantity'
Walkabout Carlisle: The company said it is concerned with 'quality not quantity'

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John Leslie, chief executive of Walkabout operator Intertain, has said that the company’s refurbishment programme will focus on an all-day format.

Speaking to the Publican's Morning Advertiser​'s sister title M&C Report​, Leslie said, where appropriate, sites would open before noon and that he was considering entering the hotly contested breakfast market.

Last week Intertain completed its refinancing and announced its first acquisition since 2009 — Bedrock in West Street, Brighton, which will trade as a Walkabout.

Leslie said a target list of other potential sites would be completed by Easter. He confirmed that Walkabout would be the focus of the acquisition drive, but did not rule out opening more unbranded sites.

He said the ideal site for a Walkabout was at least 9,000sq ft with an outside area and an existing licence.

Scope

He insisted that the company was concerned with “quality not quantity” but added: “Walkabout at one point was 50 venues nationwide and we are currently trading out of 22, so that gives you an idea of the scope. I’m not saying we would go back into all of those towns and cities and there will be some areas we will target that never had a Walkabout, but it gives you an idea of what the scope could be over the next few years.”

On the focus of the refurbishments, he said: “The late-night trade is as strong as ever, if not stronger, but we have also managed to build a decent daytime trade and get food on the map. The maturing of the brand and the work we have done to make the brand more appealing to women and a place to eat as well as party has led the refurbishment process.”

Day-time trade

Leslie said that while food still represented only a modest percentage of total turn-over, daytime trade was increasing significantly across the estate.

He said: “Our sites typically open at noon but some open earlier where there is that daytime footfall. We are not doing breakfasts at the moment, but it’s something we are looking at in the areas where the daytime trade will support it.”

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