Mitchells and Butlers, the country’s largest managed pub operator, this morning revealed plans to develop smaller high street versions of Harvester and Toby Carvery as it moves to “rapidly reshape” itself into a food led business. The company, which has just conducted a review of the business following the appointment of its new chairman John Lovering, said it wanted to own and develop brands with the potential to grow to more than 100 outlets or deliver ebit of more than £10m and that it planned to develop a “lease viable” versions, allowing key brands to grow to 300 or 400 outlets. It said the move to becoming a food led business had been a good one – but that the company had not been fast enough to exit the more price sensitive drinks led business. To that end there would be some “gold bricks” that would leave the business. It plans to grow the following brands: * Harvester from 171 sites to 400 * Toby Carvery from 133 to 300 * Crown Carveries from 111 to 300 * Sizzling Pub Co from 200 to 400 * Premium Country Dining Group from 61 to 150 * Vintage Inns from 237 to 350 Lovering, M&B’s new chairman, said: “I am delighted with the cohesion and effectiveness of the new board which has quickly concluded on a highly attractive growth plan for the business. We are already implementing the plans with targets being cascaded through the business.” Other planned measures include the improvement of key operating ratios, especially net operating margins; the improvement of return on capital expenditure and addressing pension funding, with an eye to reducing net debt to around 5x ebitda. Also, it said that it would move the basis of pay and culture towards one “which ecnourages greater growth in shareholder value." On the topic of capital expenditure M&B said that it aimed to reduce it by 15% per square foot. Regarding the majority freehold estate M&B said that the ownership of property should not be a matter of “dogma but economics”. It said: “Sometimes owning the freehold can distort management's understanding of a unit's performance and make retention of disadvantaged sites seem necessary to defend property values. Our view is pragmatic. If freehold property is likely to achieve return on investment of 11%, we retain it. If not, we sell it.” The group also added that external concerns about its balance sheer were “misplaced” and said that its cash generation, plus sizeable estate, made the debt manageable.