Marston's hails the food-led 'F-Plan' as profits jump by 9.2%

By Peter Ruddick

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Food sales Public house

Wolverhampton-based brewer and pubco Marston's has reported a jump in pre-tax profits and described its 'F-Plan', which includes a focus on food, as being 'transformational' to the business
Wolverhampton-based brewer and pubco Marston's has reported a jump in pre-tax profits and described its 'F-Plan', which includes a focus on food, as being 'transformational' to the business
Leading brewer and pubco Marston's has said its 'F-Plan', which includes a focus on food, has had a 'transformational' impact on its pub business as the company's pre-tax profits jumped by more than 9 per cent in the past year.

Reporting its preliminary results for the year to 29 September 2012, the Wolverhampton-based company said it had enjoyed a rise in underlying profit before tax to £87.8m, up from just over £80m a year ago.

Operating profit for the tenanted and franchised division of the pub business grew by 3.2 per cent, while like-for-like sales in its managed venues are up 2.2 per cent - representing a 0.2 per cent jump in underlying operating margins.

However, once again, it was Marston's focus on food, families, female pub-goers and forty or fifty-somethings that was the cause for the biggest celebration.

The 'F-Plan'

Since Marston's introduced the so-called 'F-Plan' in 2005, food sales in its managed houses have increased from around 28 per cent to 44 per cent in the past twelve months.

A 2.4 per cent jump in food sales this year alone helped the pubco serve up 28 million meals - food-led occasions now account for a massive 75 per cent of all visits to a Marston's pub.

"These results demonstrate resilience despite the weak economy and very poor weather during the summer," Ralph Findlay, Marston's chief executive, said.

"All areas of the business achieved increased revenue and profit in the year, demonstrating the continuing appeal of good pubs and beers. The economy is likely to remain weak for the foreseeable future, but we have a clear, proven strategy which is appropriate for current market conditions, and which is achieving growth."

Food investment

Going forward, the company has said it will now invest in its family area and children's menus, introduce full table service in its destination food pubs and develop food feedback, recruitment and training systems.

This year Marston's opened 25 new-build pubs and has today announced it is on target to build another 20-25 in 2013, including its first sites in Scotland. A number of the new-builds are expected to fit the destination food pub-restaurant concepts - Two for One and Milestone.

The less food-heavy concepts, Tavern community pubs and premium pubs and bars, are also expected to increase their share of sales from meals next year with a current food sales mix of 28 and 20 per cent respectively.

Accommodation will also remain a key focus for the company in 2013. Two lodges are expected to be built next year, adding to the 50 pubs with rooms it already operates.

Marston's currently has an estate of around 2,150 pubs which are now operated under Marston’s Inns and Taverns with Peter Dalzell heading up the division as managing director.

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