Punch Pubs is rolling out its virtual burger brand Bull & Bird across its estate, and has a second virtual brand in development.

Developed in partnership with Deliveroo, the dark kitchen offering was first trialled in three pubs in November 2020, and aimed to give local Punch pubs a critical new income stream during lockdown.

Believing there will be a permanent shift in consumer behaviour, Punch has since expanded the trial to a further 20 pubs including in Swindon to Macclesfield, after being encouraged by positive sales and consumer feedback.

The Bull & Bird menu includes breaded fried chicken, loaded fries, beef and chicken burgers, and was developed in response to the major growth in home delivery spend during national lockdowns.

Punch head of insight, projects & strategy James Gilbert, said: “We believe that this sustained growth is an indication of long-term behaviour change in our customer base, so creating a virtual brand made perfect sense.

“We are incredibly proud of Bull & Bird. The success we’ve seen so far is fantastic, and we are looking forward to rolling the brand out to more of our pubs in the coming weeks.”

Punch marketing & strategy director Russell Danks said Bull & Bird gave publicans access to a new income stream and consumer offer.

“Our pubs excel at providing outstanding service inside their pubs, and now they have a chance to serve customers looking to stay in and enjoy a takeaway at home via a virtual brand, separate from the pub,” he said.