Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) is to slow down the rate of expansion for its Miller & Carter brand, now that the business has reached the 100-site mark, with new openings likely to be driven by acquisitions.

Speaking at yesterday’s MCA Restaurant Conference 2018, Dennis Deare, brand operations director at M&B, told delegates that the business had earmarked 200 potential target towns, but he does not anticipate openings in all these locations – “I suspect we will get to around 150-160”.

“The pace is slowing down. We will now do 10-12 sites per year going forward,” he said, compared with opening one Miller & Carter every two weeks as it has done over the past two years. Deare said the company felt a period of consolidation was needed in order to stabilise the teams before it gets going on new openings, which he added are likely to come in part from further acquisitions.

Deare said its first Miller & Carter within a hotel – at the Bristol Marriot Royal Hotel, will open in November 2018. “This is our first joint venture, and our first foray into what we are calling ‘deliveroom’, which is room service, and a buffet breakfast,” he added.

While its first German venue will open in Frankfurt in March 2019, at the Sofitel Opera Hotel in Opera Square. At an investment of around €1.2m, the restaurant will seat around 200 guests and will open in exactly the same format as in the UK – with “opportunities for further expansion” if the opening in Frankfurt is successful.

Deare also spoke about the importance of training its people. The entire Miller & Carter management team as well as head chefs and support staff are required to attend ‘Steak School’, where they learn how about the process of the steaks’ production, from farm to fork, and are shown how to handle the meat and the best method for cooking it, he explained.