Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) has opened its first two “smaller footprint” Harvester and Toby Carvery sites today, writes Paul Charity. The venues, which are located in Staines, Middlesex and Bradley Stoke, Bristol, have around 330 square metres of trading space compared to the usual 700 square metres. The venues offer 140 covers compared to the current average of 200. Adam Fowle, M&B’s chief executive, said: “We think this is the optimum size for the maximum return on capital. They don’t look like pubs from the outside and are an evolution of the brands.” Fowle said there were around 180 retail and leisure parks around the UK where M&B currently had no presence. Competition for sites was at a low level, not least because competitors tend to have existing sites. He also indicated that he expected to sell the 60-strong franchise division within the next four weeks. There was a good level of interest for the package and individual pubs within the franchise division, he added.