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Whitbread plans to offload underperforming restaurants

Hospitality giant Whitbread is reportedly planning on selling a number of its worst-performing food and beverage sites, including Brewers Fayre and Beefeater restaurants.

A Brewers Fayre in Llanelli (not necessarily one of the underperforming sites)

Whitbread, which operates more than 840 Premier Inn hotels in the UK (as well as a further 51 in Germany), is reportedly considering sacrificing some of its less profitable food and beverage outlets in an effort to improve the overall business’ performance.

The Times reported on Sunday (24 March) that Whitbread has “instructed adviser Christie & Co to sell between 30 and 50 of its worst-performing sites, according to City sources”.

Furthermore, “a further 100 pubs and restaurants are expected to be converted into extra hotel rooms for Premier Inns, also part of Whitbread”.

According to Whitbread’s website, there are in excess of 83,000 Premier Inn hotel rooms in the UK, with a further 7,000 “in committed pipeline”.

In addition to Brewers Fayre and Beefeater, Whitbread also oversees Table Table, Premier Inn’s in-house restaurant Thyme, and its newest brand, Cookhouse & Pub.

Given that the number of Whitbread-operated food and beverage sites sits at around 400, the sale/conversion of up to 150 of those would represent a sizeable reduction in the size of its portfolio. db has asked Whitbread if there is any truth to these reports, and the group declined to comment.

It was also reported in The Times piece that Whitbread had been in talks with Platinum Equity to sell its food and beverage estate, though these negotiations did not progress. db has reached out to Platinum Equity for comment on the matter.

In Whitbread’s Q3 FY24 Trading Update, issued on 11 January this year, revealed that in the year-to-date in the UK, there had been 14% growth accommodation and sales, compared to 9% for food and drink.

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