Marston’s chief executive, Ralph Findlay, has said 2016 will see a further rollout of the Generous George concept — a focus on working with multiple franchisees —and the company’s first new Pitcher & Piano site for several years.
Findlay spoke to M&C Allegra Report on the back of the release of the company’s results for the financial year to 3 October. They showed like-for-like sales in its managed estate up 1.8% with Taverns growing 2% and leased division like-for-like profit growing 4%.
The figures for the managed estate included food like-for-like sales growth of 1.7% and wet like-for-like sales growth of 1.7%. In the last 11 weeks of the period like-for-like sales have grown 2.2%. The Taverns division saw like-for-like sales rise 3.1% in the last 11 weeks.
In Brewing, excluding the Thwaites portfolio, ownbrand beer volumes were up 5% compared to last year, with strong performance in premium ales and the off-trade. Including Thwaites, own-brewed beer volumes were up 15%.
Findlay told M&C: “We are continuing to develop what we are doing with rotisserie, pizza and carvery within the pub-restaurant category.
“Generous George has been working really well for us in the sites we have trialled it in. That will be a focus for us going forward and we will probably add another three to four units in the coming financial year.
“The continuing development of the Pitcher & Piano and Revere business is also really pleasing. We have two major projects underway in the Revere estate and we have bought our first Pitcher & Piano site for a number of years, in Sheffield.”
On the evolution of the franchised model, Findlay said: “It has moved on a long way over the last six years in terms of the support we offer. What we have seen in the last year is more interest from multiple franchisees, which is a relatively new thing. We now have our first multiple franchisees and I think that will be interesting to watch.
“I think we have got the potential to see a further 100 to 200 sites operating as franchises over the next 18 months to two years.”