Beefeater (restaurant)
Beefeater is a chain of pub
Public house
A public house, informally known as a pub, is a drinking establishment fundamental to the culture of Britain, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. There are approximately 53,500 public houses in the United Kingdom. This number has been declining every year, so that nearly half of the smaller...

A restaurant is an establishment which prepares and serves food and drink to customers in return for money. Meals are generally served and eaten on premises, but many restaurants also offer take-out and food delivery services...

s in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, owned by Whitbread
Whitbread PLC is a global hotel, coffee shop and restaurant company headquartered in Dunstable, United Kingdom. Its largest division is Premier Inn, which is the largest hotel brand in the UK with around 580 hotels and over 40,000 rooms. Its Costa Coffee chain has around 1,600 stores across 25...

. There are currently 131 Beefeater restaurants in the UK.


Beefeater was set up by Whitbread Brewery (which has since changed to Whitbread
Whitbread PLC is a global hotel, coffee shop and restaurant company headquartered in Dunstable, United Kingdom. Its largest division is Premier Inn, which is the largest hotel brand in the UK with around 580 hotels and over 40,000 rooms. Its Costa Coffee chain has around 1,600 stores across 25...

) in the mid 1970s and used to be famous for its prawn cocktails and steaks. Once seen as a rival to Berni Inns, Beefeater expanded over the decades, but the chain has experienced difficulties in more recent years.

During the 1990s the flagging brand tried a number of strategies to boost sales. A large number of Beefeaters, for example the Ock Mill in Abingdon, and the Crossbush in Arundel, were converted to Out and Out. This proved unsuccessful and they were rebranded back to Beefeater in 2005. Also a few sites became "Grillbars", but these were soon sold. A "Banter" was launched at the Roundabout Beefeater in Reading, which has since been demolished after it also failed. Brian Turner was recruited to advise on the remaining Beefeaters, and his signature dishes and face were featured on the menu. As the brand begun to decline further, a number of sites, like the Moorfield in Kilmarnock, were rebranded as Brewers Fayre, while others were sold, like the Carpenters Arms in Botley, Oxford, which is now a McDonald's.


In the early 2000s, the parent company (Whitbread plc) invested millions of pounds refurbishing almost all of its Beefeater outlets in a project known internally as "B2". The works involved the complete refurbishment of the restaurants from scratch, retaining nothing of the existing fittings and design.

The refurbished restaurants, described by the parent company as "warm, modern and stylish", have been mostly successful and embraced by customers. Main changes included introducing chargrills
Grilling is a form of cooking that involves dry heat applied to the surface of food, commonly from above or below.Grilling usually involves a significant amount of direct, radiant heat, and tends to be used for cooking meat quickly and meat that has already been cut into slices...

 to all outlets, and many having open plan grill areas so customers can see their meals being prepared. Due to building shape restrictions, the kitchen remained "back of house" in a few exceptions, such as the Coldra in Newport
Newport is a city and unitary authority area in Wales. Standing on the banks of the River Usk, it is located about east of Cardiff and is the largest urban area within the historic county boundaries of Monmouthshire and the preserved county of Gwent...

, Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...


The B2 conversion programme was set to be completed by February 2008. The remaining, unrefurbished restaurants were sold in late 2008.


Beefeater implements the same remodeling and retraining programme that 'Brewers Fayre', a sister company, uses.

Premier Inn partnership

Despite the success in general terms of the B2 programme, it was found that Beefeater Restaurants not adjoining a Premier Inn (also owned and operated by Whitbread) were not performing as well. In late 2006, Whitbread made the decision to sell off the majority of stand-alone Beefeaters.

These were sold to a rival restaurant company, Mitchells & Butlers
Mitchells & Butlers
Mitchells & Butlers plc runs around 2,000 managed pubs, bars and restaurants throughout the United Kingdom. The Company's headquarters is in Birmingham, England, United Kingdom...

, which owns a number of pub and restaurant brands, such as Harvester
Harvester (restaurant)
Harvester Restaurants is a popular family farmhouse-style licensed restaurant chain with more than 170 outlets in the United Kingdom.-History:-Courage:...

, Toby Carvery
Toby Carvery
Toby Carvery is a British carvery chain brand owned and operated by Mitchells and Butlers. The brand has been in operation for over 30 years. The chain is one of the most popular in the UK, serving 21 Million meals last year....

 and Scream Pubs. Since the sale, the retained estate's financial performance has improved.

The period after this sale has seen Whitbread also sell its Pizza Hut
Pizza Hut
Pizza Hut is an American restaurant chain and international franchise that offers different styles of pizza along with side dishes including pasta, buffalo wings, breadsticks, and garlic bread....

 and T.G.I. Friday's
T.G.I. Friday's
T.G.I. Friday's is an American restaurant chain focusing on casual dining. The company is a unit of the Carlson Companies. Its name is taken from the expression TGIF...

 brands, with the intention of concentrating entirely on its Beefeater, Table Table
Table Table
Table Table is a brand of restaurants set up by Whitbread Plc in 2008. The brand was created following a rethink of the brand formerly known as Out & Out, a previous brand owned by Whitbread...

, Brewers Fayre
Brewers Fayre
Brewers Fayre is a chain of around 125 licensed family and casual dining pub restaurants in the United Kingdom, owned by Whitbread.They are known for serving traditional British pub food, including gammon and steak & ale pie which are among the most popular choices. Nearly all Brewers Fayres are...

, Taybarns
Taybarns is a British low-cost 'all-you-can-eat' restaurant chain owned by Whitbread, modelled on the US Golden Corral chain. Customers pay on arrival and can eat as much food as they like from a 34-metre food counter....

 and Costa Coffee
Costa Coffee
Costa Coffee is a British coffeehouse company founded in 1971 by Italian brothers Sergio and Bruno Costa, as a wholesale operation supplying roasted coffee to caterers and specialist Italian coffee shops. Since 1995 it has been a subsidiary of Whitbread, since when the company has grown to over...


"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 was to advertise the chargrilling aspect of the Beefeater experience. A new TV advert was produced and has been run on ITV1 and Channel 4 in the Midlands, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire region.

National Steak Week

National Steak Week is an annual promotion by Beefeater.

It is a celebration of all things steak
A steak is a cut of meat . Most are cut perpendicular to the muscle fibers, improving the perceived tenderness of the meat. In North America, steaks are typically served grilled, pan-fried, or broiled. The more tender cuts from the loin and rib are cooked quickly, using dry heat, and served whole...

. The purpose of National Steak Week is to raise awareness of the steaks available in the UK and improve the levels of understanding of how to cook the perfect steak.

The current media face of National Steak Week is Jayne Middlemiss
Jayne Middlemiss
Jayne Middlemiss is a London-based British television and radio presenter, originally from Northumberland. She began presenting music television shows such as The O-Zone and Top of the Pops in the mid '90s, before presenting a variety of other television and radio shows, including on BBC 6 Music...

 who won Celebrity MasterChef 2009.

External links

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