The Laurel Pub Company has put food at the centre of its growth plans.
Chief executive Julian Sargeson said intense competition and a potential smoking ban in England meant the group would be aiming to push food sales as a percentage of turnover up from the teens to about 20% or higher.
"Food offers the biggest growth potential and a new team is already hard at work improving our offering," he said.
Laurel will also now split its 410 pubs and bars into three distinct divisions. The Circuit division will include Yates and the Litten Tree brands, Quality Food will encompass Slug & Lettuce with Ha! Ha! Bar & Canteen, and Town Locals will consist of unbranded pubs.
Laurel has earmarked about £40m for capital investment over the next two years.
By Chris Druce
|Sudoku Join the craze and play Sudoku online!|