Pub and restaurant business Mitchells & Butlers is embarking on a fundamental overhaul of its estate, which will see the expansion of its Miller & Carter steakhouse brand and a reduction in the number of Harvester mid-market restaurants.
M&B announced the plans at its interim results, which saw it report a 1.5% dip in revenue to £1.096b and 1.6% slide in like-for-like sales in the 28 weeks to 9 April, despite 10% growth in sales from its refurbished outlets.
M&B has completed a full strategic review of its business, chief executive Phil Urban said, and has highlighted three priority areas in which "there is much to do": building a more balanced business; instilling a more commercial culture and increasing the pace of execution and innovation.
The overall aim is to build a more premium estate by converting sites where appropriate into growth concepts with a small number of disposals, according to the company's interim statement.
Harvester has suffered at the hands of increased competition and underinvestment in guest-facing areas in recent years, making it difficult for the brand to remain competitive in [its] local markets. "Over time we are looking to reduce the scale of the Harvester estate to a core, all of which will be remodelled within the next 18 months, offering a consistent proposition and a level of amenity to truly leverage the brand's strength," the company stated. However, it refused to be drawn on how many outlets will be in that "core".
Meanwhile the premium steakhouse offering will grow from 43 sites to 100 by 2018 and at the other end of the market its Pizza & Carvery format will be rolled out to another 20 outlets by the end of 2016 fiscal year.
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