Bass to pour 200m into pub expansion initiative

Bass Taverns plans to open up to 300 new outlets under its branded pub chains Fork & Pitcher, All Bar One and Innkeeper’s Fayre. It will spend a large part of its 200m expansion budget developing the chains over the next three years.

The plans include expanding the mid-market Fork & Pitcher chain from 25 pubs to 200 by 1997, and family pubs Inn-keeper’s Fayre from eight to 80.

The new chain All Bar One – aimed at “young cosmopolitan professionals”, especially women – is expected to have “steady growth”. The first pub opened in Sutton last December.

The plans have fuelled speculation that Bass Taverns will acquire existing pub chains, such as Pitcher and Piano and JD Wetherspoons, in its search for new sites.

The company declines to comment on this, but says some of the new sites will be conversions from existing standalone pubs.

As a result of Government re-strictions, introduced through the Beer Orders, Bass is thought to be 400 pubs under its limit with 2,600 managed pubs and 1,600 leased pubs. The company is planning to revamp or relocate about 100 existing standalone pubs.

Bass is in talks with agencies to launch campaigns supporting local pub openings and says the branded chains will consider national advertising when they have reached sufficient size, which could be next year.

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