Spirit Group, the managed arm of Punch Taverns, is planning to reposition as much as a quarter of its pub estate, according to Mike Tye.
The Spirit managing director, who took the helm of the division last July, told M&C Report that somewhere between 100 and 200 of its sites - the group operates over 800 - needed to be “something else”.
He said that changes would range from new discreet formats to the creation of new overt customer-facing brands. He said that the company required “one or two concepts that work well at a local level or for food.”
Tye said that he and his team had been looking very closely at the carvery market and all of his competitors in a bid to revitalise his own pubs.
He told M&C Report: “Spirit is made up of a lot of really good pubs, but they weren’t being optimised and a lot of the basics weren’t locked down. It was obvious that Spirit was under performing compared with a lot of its peers.
“Over a period of a number of years, a number of pubs had not been invested in. We now have a stable of brands that is incomplete.
“We have 320 local pubs and 260 are really good pubs and they all have a very clear direction. But with some of the others we weren’t really clear enough about what makes a good local pub.
“Other than Chef & Brewer, there are no brand names for Spirit but we have them. I have looked at the carvery market.
“Why the hell wouldn’t Spirit have a carvery? Will it be the same as a Toby? No, because you can’t out-Toby a Toby.
“I don’t need an exact replica. But we do need one or two concepts that work well at a local level or for food.”
The former Whitbread executive has already revamped some of the 138 Chef & Brewer pubs in the Spirit estate, introduced new menus across the 850-strong business and changed the food offering at its city centre hostelries.
He also put a stop to the trial of Grill House Kitchen, the charcoal-oven concept that the company had hoped it could expand.