Whitbread to sell 250 Beefeater and Brewers Fayre pubs and restaurants

Hospitality brand Whitbread is reportedly selling 250 of its pub-restaurants in the UK.

According to media reports, the company, which owns the Premier Inn and Beefeater restaurant brands is said to be selling sites that are either marginal or loss-making, and most of them are located near to a Premier Inn and together are estimated to have a value of £600m.

While The Times reported that Mitchells & Butlers (M&B), who owns of Harvester, Toby Carvery All Bar One and Brown's is the frontrunner in acquiring these sites, the bar group has responded to this speculation, telling The Caterer: 'As a major player in hospitality we're regularly the subject of industry speculation. But that's all this is … speculation.'

Mitchells & Butlers, runs over 1,700 pubs and restaurants across the UK and in 2006, it paid £497m for 239 Whitbread pub-restaurants. Then in 2008 44 of Whitbread’s pub-restaurants were exchanged for 21 of Mitchells & Butlers Express by Holiday Inn branded hotels in a straight asset swap.

Whitbread, which has 440 pub-restaurants in the UK and is said to be looking to sell to established pub operators such as Greene King, Heineken, Marston’s and Punch.

Marston’s also recently put 61 of its freehold pubs in England and Wales up for sale after a review of its estate. The portfolio of pubs up for sale includes a mix of leased, tenanted, retail and managed pubs and business property adviser and pub specialist Christie & Co were appointed to execute this sale.

Whitbread has said that the reason for the sale is to focus on its Premier Inn hotel estate and its annual report showed that despite a rise in hotel guests the group's restaurants were trading 4 per cent below pre-pandemic levels.