All Bar One and Miller & Carter owner Mitchells & Butlers is gearing up to launch new sites in Scotland.
Having already established its Miller & Carter steakhouse brand in key city sites, the next stage of the expansion will focus on more new build, out-of-town opportunities involving a site purchase, or buying an existing business.
John Menzies, a director in the national retail team at property agency Savills in Glasgow, which is advising the pub and restaurant giant, said: “The licensed sector is proving resilient in the current market and best-in-class operators with a strong and differentiated offer are seeking to grow.
“There are now five Miller & Carter steakhouse restaurants in Scotland, across Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. The format is proving versatile for the business with all the existing restaurants trading well.
“The business is now seeking new opportunities to grow the brand further with particular interest in busy roadside locations.”
News of the Scottish growth plans came as Mitchells & Butlers hailed a “strong” year after investment across its sites helped to boost sales despite “challenging” conditions in the sector.
The company, which also runs scores of well-known Scottish watering holes including Edinburgh’s historic Sheep Heid Inn, saw like-for-like sales jump 3.5 per cent in the year to September, as total revenues rose to £2.23 billion. It saw pre-tax profit for the year increase, rising by 36 per cent to £177 million.
Nevertheless, the owner of Toby Carvery and pub chains Nicholson’s and O’Neill’s said sales growth has eased to 1.4 per cent for the most recent seven weeks due to poor weather.
The group said it had been boosted by its programme of investment into refurbishments, with 240 of its 1,748 pubs being “remodelled” during the year.
Chief executive Phil Urban said: “These strong results reflect the work we have done over the last few years, first to build sustained sales growth and then to convert that into profit growth.
“It has been extremely encouraging to see an improvement in like-for-like sales growth across the portfolio during the year, fuelled by our ‘Ignite’ programme of work. This puts us in a stronger position as we move forward into the next financial year, in what we expect to remain challenging market conditions.”