is a chain of pub restaurants
in the United Kingdom
, owned by Whitbread
Beefeater was set up by Whitbread Brewery (which since changed to Whitbread
) in the 1970s and used to be famous for its prawn cocktails and steaks. Beefeater has continued to expand, and currently has 131 restaurants throughout the UK.
In the early part of the millennium, the parent company (Whitbread plc) invested millions of pounds refurbishing almost all of its Beefeater outlets in a project known internally as "B2". The refurbishment works involved ripping all Beefeater buildings back to their shells and starting again.
The refurbished restaurants described by the parent company as "Warm, Modern and Stylish" have been mostly successful and embraced by the customers. Main changes included introducing chargrills to all outlets, and many having open plan grill areas so guests can see their meals being prepared. Due to building shape restrictions, the kitchen remained "Back Of House" with in a few exceptions such as the Coldra in Newport, Wales.
The B2 conversion programme was set to be completed as of February 2008, with the final remaining (The Encore Beefeater Bar and Grill at Stratford Upon Avon) from being B1 to B2. This conversion is still pending.
Premier Inn Partnership
Despite the success of the B2 Programme, Beefeater Restaurants not adjoined to a Premier Inn
(also owned and operated by Whitbread) were not performing. In late 2006, Whitbread made the decision to sell off the majority of stand-alone Beefeaters.
These were sold to rival restaurant company Mitchells & Butlers, which owns an array of pubs and restaurants such as Harvester, Toby Carvery and Scream pubs. Since the sale, the retained estate's financial performance has improved vastly.
The period after this sale has seen Whitbread also sell its Pizza Hut and T.G.I. Friday's brands, with the intent of simply concentrating on their Beefeater and Brewers Fayre brands.
"The Fire behind the food" campaign
In April 2008, Beefeater launched a new marketing campaign in line with its new Spring menu. The focus of the campaign is to advertise the chargrilling aspect to the Beefeater experience. A new TV advert has been produced and is currently running on ITV1 and Channel 4 in the Midlands, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire region.