Mitchells & Butlers, the 2,000-strong managed house business that was formed from some of the UK’s biggest brewers such as Allied and Bass, expects its sales of food to overtake beer within the next 12 months. According to latest figures supplied by the company, food sales currently represent around 31% of its revenues while beer accounts for 33%. It is a dramatic change. Just a decade ago almost 70% of the company’s revenues were derived from beer sales while food accounted for just 11%. Now it sells 75 million meals a year. Tim Clarke, M&B’s chief executive, told M&C Report: "Despite the current focus on session drinking, the truth of the matter is that pubs have re-invented themselves." At its latest results, for the 28 weeks to May 2005 the company reported that its food volumes were up 9% while its drink volumes had risen 3%. Combined sales of coffee and soft drinks already account for more revenue than beer. It represents a seismic shift in the genetic make-up of the business, which was founded on Britain’s love of beer and session drinking. Tony Hughes, managing director of M&B’s restaurant arm, said: "The informal pub restaurant has replaced the pure pub and the pure restaurant as the key leisure activity for the UK population. Integrated eating and drinking is the only viable future for our industry. It is the winning formula for today and for tomorrow." Food sales in M&B’s restaurant division, which includes the All Bar One, Harvester, Toby and Vintage Inns, account for 50% of sales. In its pub division, which includes Ember Inns and Sizzling Pub Company, food represents 20% of the sales mix.