Friday, October 14, 2016

News: Rotherham set for a slice of pub chain's new concept

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Mitchells & Butlers, one of the largest operators of restaurants, pubs and bars in the UK, looks set to operate one of its newest concepts from a Rotherham pub.

The chain operates around 1,700 restaurants and pubs all over the UK with brands such as Toby Carvery, Harvester, and All Bar One. With the business hit by falling sales and affected by wage inflation following the introduction of the National Living Wage, a plan is underway to "reshape the estate and innovate in both existing and new offers for our guests."

About three-quarters of the company's revenues come from food-led pubs. Like for like sales in the 51 weeks to September 17 2016 fell 0.8%, driven by a 1.4% fall in food sales.

A review of strategic options has been completed and 2015 saw an increase in trial activity with the company revamping the estate and trying out new concepts.

Now, The Drawbridge pub in Kimberworth, Rotherham is in line for an initiative designed to move the company's Crown Carveries business forward - feshly made pizza.

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The company explained: "Given the competitive environment, we will increase the level of trial activity that we undertake, and accelerate the rollout of those which are successful. This will help us to improve the return from our existing assets and to exploit further market opportunities through new product development.

"In the last year [2015] we have invested in our Heartland estate with two new concepts: Sizzling Pizza & Carvery provides an innovative solution to move our Crown Carveries business forward; and Sizzling Pub & Grill is an extension of the existing Sizzling Pubs offer. A small number of these formats have been trialled, with results exceeding expectations so far, and we are planning to accelerate the roll-out."

A planning application for new signage shows that the pub on Fellowsfield Way will become a "Stonehouse" Pizza & Carvery.

Pubs operating during the trial saw pizza ovens installed and offered diners a choice of stone-baked pizza as an alternative to the carvery, complete with salad bar and ice cream station.

The concept takes from the Pizza Kitchen & Bar sites operated by the Orchid Group, which Mitchells & Butlers acquired in 2014. It has been rolled out at the company's Sizzling Pubs brand with a number of Crown Carveries pubs also refurbished and rebranded across the UK.

Mitchell & Butler's website

Images: Mitchells & Butlers / Ashleigh Signs


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