Mitchells & Butlers (M&B), the UK’s leading managed pub operator, will continue to reshape itself as a food-led business with the launch of several new formats and concepts over the next few months, including its first dual Toby Carvery/Harvester site, M&C Report has learnt. The dual site in Carmarthen, Wales, which is due to open in October, will be joined over the coming months by the launch of a new look Harvester in Sheffield Meadowhall, the company’s first in a covered shopping centre, and a new look Toby Carvery in Basildon, Essex. M&B is also developing an express format for Toby Carvery and is currently exploring opportunities to launch a pilot site for a pan-Asian concept before the end of this year. The dual site in Carmarthen town centre, which will open in October, will feature a Harvester on the ground floor and a Toby Carvery on the first floor. Gary John, property director, told M&C Report: “Both brands appeal to different customers and in general upper floors can be picked up at lower costs. If it is successful this format opens up further expansion opportunities both in town centres and out-of-town leisure parks.” The Meadowhall Harvester, which will open in October, will feature a more contemporary look and have a smaller footprint compared to the group’s usual sites under the brand, falling from 9-10,000sq ft to closer to 4,000sq ft. The new look Toby Carvery, which will open in the Festival Park development at the start of August, will also have a smaller footprint. John said: “Both brand looks had become slightly staid and will now have a more contemporary look, which will appeal to a wider audience. These are pilot locations but volumes per square foot increase dramatically in smaller units and again we think this should give us greater flexibility to open more of these sites in a wider range of location.” As revealed by M&C Report earlier this year, the company is currently developing a pan-Asian concept, with a pilot site set to open before the end of the year. The company is also looking at developing a more “express” version of Toby Carvery, which could be rolled out into food courts and transport hubs. John, who joined M&B from Burger King last November, said: “This is at a very early stage but it is something we are looking at. It will be carvery-based and include the core elements of the brand.” Although the company is currently converting a number of its unbranded sites to its branded formats, John said that next year the group will look at expanding through new openings. He said: “It will be a step change for the group. We will open 55 new restaurants this year and will pass that figure next year. We will look to invest in securing a new pipeline of openings over the next 12 months.” At the start of 2010, M&B unveiled plans to double six key brands within its business. The company said it would drive organic site growth through Crown Carveries, Harvester, Premium Country Dining, Sizzling Pub Company, Toby Carvery and Vintage Inns. The six growth-driving formats, which currently account for just under 950 of M&B’s 1,600 outlets, would be grown by at least 50%, if not 100%. At the time, it said that it would grow Harvester from 171 sites to 400 and Toby Carvery from 133 to 300. John said that the company was constantly re-evaluating its growth figures for the brands and was also looking at opportunities to grow the other four key formats. He also didn’t rule out the possibility of some of the brands eventually being tried overseas. Earlier this year, M&B reported that its food sales had for the first time overtaken drink sales. The company’s share of the full service eating out market at the end of 2010 was 4.3%, which it believed left it with plenty of opportunity to grow share in what is “an enormous market”.