Allied Domecq embarks on 150m pub expansion

Allied Domecq Retailing is exploiting the growing popularity of themed pubs with a 150m expansion of its three brands – Big Steak Pub with Wacky Warehouse, Firkin and Mr Q’s – over the next year.

More than 140 pubs, including at least 50 acquisitions of new sites, will be redeveloped and refurbished in the programme, which will create 4,000 full- and part-time jobs and expand a new concept called Golden Oak Inns for older drinkers.

The move comes as rival pub operator Whitbread reveals plans to double the size of its US-style TGI Friday restaurant chain by the year 2000.

Last Friday – US Independence Day – Whitbread launched a partnership with Brown Forman’s Jack Daniels Whiskey, involving a new menu for its 23 restaurants.

Allied Domecq hopes to capitalise on growing demand for family friendly pubs by creating 43 more Big Steak pubs with Wacky Warehouses (playbarns for children), including buying 20 new sites.

The 150-strong Firkin Brewery chain, which is aimed at students, will be expanded with 24 conversions of existing Allied pubs and nearly 30 acquisitions. And 9m will be spent on converting local pubs into Mr Q’s, the chain for young adults based on music and pool.

Traditional country-style pubs, focusing on high quality food, are being themed under the new Allied concept Golden Oak Inns, to attract older consumers. The first Golden Oak Inn opened earlier this month in the West Midlands.

Allied Domecq Retailing operates 3,900 managed and leased pubs through its two subsidiaries, Allied Domecq Leisure (responsible for the majority of branded outlets) and Allied Domecq Inns (the local and leased pub estate).

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