The managed division of Punch Taverns has launched a new food-led concept called Flaming Grill at a pub in the Midlands, writes Paul Charity.

The company has converted the Drawbridge Inn, Solihull to the new concept, which opened just before Easter.

Mike Tye, head of the managed division, has already indicated that the company may open as many as 80 of these sites in the next three years if the trial is successful.

Between 550 and 600 pubs in Punch’s managed division will be converted to new concepts or be refurbished in the next three years.

The average cost will be around £110,000 a site to make a total spend of around £60m — the company’s normal run-rate of capital expenditure over three years.

Tye has previously indicated that the plan involved 80 Chef & Brewer sites and 50 Chef & Brewer venues converted to the company’s new Pub & Kitchen Company gastropub template. There could also be 130 Fayre & Square sites eventually, plus 50 Roast Inn carveries.

Tye said that improving customer experience at Punch pubs had been shown to produce a 10% sales uplift.

A total of 60 out of the 80 Chef & Brewers — a brand Tye said had been “allowed to fester” in the past — will have seen refurbishments by July. Tye said that Punch’s Two for One brand was “not going to hack it in today’s market”.