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They are known for serving traditional British pub food, including gammon and steak and ale pie, which are among the most popular choices. Nearly all Brewers Fayres are on the site of a Whitbread Premier Inn.
In 1995 50 outlets were added, at a cost of £85 million, taking the total to 280. At this time the Charlie Chalk Fun Factory was added to about thirty pubs. In 1996 52 were opened, with 17 having a Travel Inn next door; most were built near motorways. In early 1997 Whitbread introduced the Kiln & Kettle chain, which was similar to Brewers Fayre but without the children. Around the same time 90 more outlets opened.
In May 1999 Whitbread announced it was proposing to leave the brewing industry and attempted to buy 3,600 outlets (including Firkin pubs) from Allied Domecq in a proposed £2.25 billion deal, in which they lost out to Punch Taverns. Later in October 1999 Whitbread formed a pubs and bars division (2,900 outlets) and a restaurants division (1,300 outlets) which included Brewers Fayre headed by Bill Shannon. On 25 May 2000 Whitbread announced it was leaving the brewing industry by selling its beers to Interbrew for £400 million, which allowed expansion of its food restaurants. In March 2001 Whitbread sold its non-food pubs to Deutsche Bank for £1.6 billion. In September 2001 34 outlets (5 in Scotland) were put up for sale. In 2003 it announced that 35 outlets a year would be added over five years.
The Brewers Fayre menu serves up a variety of traditional pub meals such as "Sausages & Mash" There is a wide choice available to suit all tastes. Snack menus and lighter options are also available.
In 2009 Brewers Fayre trailed it's "Buffet Place" at "The Papermill" in High Wycombe. After proving successful the brand rolled out the buffet place to 7 venues in autumn 2010. At this time Brewers Fayre launched theme nights throughout all of its pubs, starting with three per week, these were on offer to pubs even if they didn't have a buffet place. During 2011 the buffet place was rolled out in stages to almost all pubs and more theme nights were added, In 2012 there was theme nights every night of the week and a Sunday Carvery available until 8:00 in 2014 this changed to carvery offering roast dinners until 6:00. Over time themes have changed, at current it is Monday - Viva Mexico Tuesday - Taste of Italy Wednesday - Burgers & Hotdogs Thursday - World of curries Friday - Chip Shop Saturday - Chicken Feast Sunday - Carvery (available 11:30 until 6:00)
During 2013 the brand underwent a change where a new logo was brought in and the Buffet Place became "Our Chef's Counter"
Brewers Fayre pubs are designed to give the feel of a traditional English pub. Warm contrasting colours are used throughout as well as stonework and wooden panelling. A small number of restaurants also feature stained glass. Victorian-style lampposts are a feature in many pub car parks. Paintings featuring a local feature (for example The Forth Road Bridge in the Brewers Fayre in South Queensferry) are located at the front entrance to many pubs Each pub was always given a name which reflected the area it was located in (or if the building was originally used for something else then it would take on that buildings name like at "The Pirnhall Inn" outside Stirling) New pubs opened since 2012 have not been named individually but are just known as Brewers Fayre.
Disposals and re-branding
There used to be many standalone Brewers Fayre pubs, but in 2006 Whitbread agreed to dispose of the 239 standalone Brewers Fayre and Beefeater sites. These had traditionally lower revenues and as growth had stalled in them compared to the still-growing Premier Inn sites, they were seen as an obstacle to the company's sales growth. Sites were sold to market rival Mitchells & Butlers, and over the year after they were sold, pubs were re-branded to Harvester, Toby Carvery and a selection of other brands. A large number of sites became Crown Carveries (formerly Pub & Carvery), and this sparked growth in the brand, which originally consisted of only a small number of pubs throughout the UK (they now have over 100 restaurants). A small number of standalone Brewers Fayre sites were retained where there was land where a Premier Inn could be built, such as The Three Bells near Lymington and The Craigside Inn in Llandudno. In 2008 Whitbread sold a further 44 Brewers Fayre & Beefeater sites where planning permission for a Premier Inn was not possible (such as the Lauriston Farm in Edinburgh) in exchange of 21 Express by Holiday Inn hotels, which were converted to Premier Inn.
Brewers Fayre Local
A small number of sites were renamed Brewers Fayre local, such as "The Glassworks" in Stourbridge. These pubs originally had a different menu but on the inside were designed more or less like a Table Table restaurant. The spin off brand did not appear to work as planned, and they are now just known as Brewers Fayre and have the same menu.
In 1998, 120 restaurants were re-branded as Brewster's to differentiate a set of more family-oriented pubs from those more suited to adults. Although very similar in the environment and food offerings, Brewster's placed a greater emphasis on entertaining children: pubs had a multi-level play area known as the 'Fun Factory', children's entertainers and ice-cream machines.The brand's slogan was 'Fun for kids, relaxing for parents'. A further 30 outlets were added in 2001. While the brand benefited from a stream of awards during its first few years of operation, they then suffered from a decline in performance, 5 sites were subsequently sold off in early 2005 and during late 2005 and early 2006, they integrated the majority of the 145 restaurants back into the original Brewers Fayre brand, only to be met with widespread criticism and complaints from members of the public who were more attached to the Brewster's brand. The brand had completely phased out by Spring 2006. In the wake of the conversion act, the 2005-2006 annual report indicated that it was beneficial for Brewers Fayre as it allowed them to focus more on families, furthermore, it stated that Brewster's was focused a tad too much on young families. Out of the original 150 outlets, all of them kept their indoor fun factories however a small number of Brewster's sites, such as The Inshes Gate in Inverness and Central Park in Rugby, had their fun factories cut down in size and became known as Play Zones and at this point the firm's mascot Brewster the Bear took over as the Brewers Fayre mascot. Most Brewster's outlets were Brewers Fayre's which housed Charlie Chalk fun factories.
In late 2006 a small number of Brewers Fayre restaurants were refurbished bringing in a more contemporary theme. The first site was The Newhouse in Motherwell (which opened in June 2006 as a pilot). The restaurants were not officially given a brand name however some kept the name Brewers Fayre but the logo was black instead of red while other sites were signed as "Contemporary Dining & Drinking". In Autumn 2007 further Brewers Fayre sites were changed to this new brand and then again in February 2008. On 18 May 2008 Whitbread launched the brand as "Table Table". about 100 sites were re-branded in total but new sites built after 2008 have all been new builds. Brewers Fayre has now stopped refurbishing its sites to this brand. Table Table had grown to 111 outlets by summer 2012. however Brewers Fayre has now converted a number of Table Table sites back to Brewers Fayre such as "The Phoenix Park" in Paisley .
Starting in December 2007 with the "Swansea Vale" Brewers Fayre, 6 restaurants have been converted to the Taybarns format and one was bought from a rival company. THis is an all-you-can-eat buffet restaurant. Whitbread announced plans to convert more Brewers Fayre sites to the Taybarns brand during 2009 and 2010, but these conversions had not taken place by the end of 2011, partly due to their high cost. Possible sites included The Yeadon Way in Blackpool.
Brewers Fayre Buffet Place and Our Chefs Counter
Although a majority of Brewers Fayre pubs featured the Buffet Place as part of their restaurants, the site's in Widnes and Barry were named 'Brewers Fayre Buffet Place'. they features a larger buffet counter with buffets available all the time. Extras such as cakes and salads are also available. The theme of the restaurant is also slightly different. INspite of this, these restaurants now just run as normal Brewers Fayre pubs after Brewers Fayre changed the "Buffet Place" to the "Chef's Counter" in 2013
Despite the previous policy of disposals and rebranding of Brewers Fayres sites, the chain has seen a resurgence in popularity fuelled by new menu offers such as 2 for £10 meal deals, along with an option for 2 desserts for £2.
In late 2008 a refurbishment program was launched. All sites were given a small make over featuring a new colour scheme, new carpets and paintings in the restaurants. Some of the first sites to be refurbished were The Meadows near Barnsley and The Oaks at Norwich Airport.
On 31 March 2009 the new theme kicked off with a new logo featuring the new slogan "Pub Food as it Should Be" printed on the menus. Sites continued to be refurbished, with the last site refurbished in 2010. New external signage was given to each pub at this time, too. In December 2009, The Papermill in High Wycombe was refurbished and hot counters were added in the restaurant. to host theme nights on weekdays in addition to the main menu. After a successful trial at this location the programme was rolled out to further Brewers Fayre locations in September 2010 and then again during 2011. In September 2010 theme nights were introduced to all pubs, including those without buffet counters. These included "Pie nights" and "Fish & Chip shop nights". This was a more cost-effective solution than conversion to a Taybarns or a Table Table restaurant, formats which currently have higher sales and profits than Brewers Fayre. According to Whitbread, it was "benefiting from sales at its Brewers Fayre and Premier Inn chain" in a 2011 economy in which "domestic price pressures [are] near their highest levels in two decades." After opening The Harbour in Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland in early 2006, Brewers Fayre opened no pubs for over two years. Then The Wobbly Wheel near Banbury was refurbished from Millers Kitchen to Brewers Fayre in June 2008. Brewers Fayre opened its first new build site in 2011, The Malt & Myre at Lomondgate near Dumbarton, and now the brand is slowly opening more new build sites such as Londonderry and Dagenham new sites are tending not to have individual house names and are just known as Brewers Fayre.
IN 2013 Brewers Fayre launched a new logo and refurbished the "Buffet Place's" which is now known as "The Chefs Counter" Each site has been given a small refurbishment along with new menus. The first sites to trial this were "The Weather Vane" The "Rhubarb Triangle" and The "Orbital"
Fun Factory and Play Zones
A number of Brewers Fayres have some sort of children's play area. A few pubs feature an outdoor children's play area. All sites that were known as Brewster's have a big indoor multi-level soft play areas known as the Fun Factory (with the exception of a small number of pubs which cut the size of the fun factory to make way for more dining space). Brewster the Bear is the firm's own mascot who appears in the indoor fun factories. Brewers Fayre originally had Charlie Chalk as their mascot, but he was replaced after the take over of Brewster's in 1998. A small number of Brewers Fayre pubs which had not been Brewster's also featured fun factories; however, most just had outdoor play areas.
In the wake of Brewster's having a decline in performance, the majority of the sites were converted back to the original Brewers Fayre brand. To maintain the family-friendly environment, all Brewster's outlets kept their indoor play areas, despite a few having their play areas cut down in size.
Brewers Fayre specialise in birthday parties for children, allowing private use of the Fun Factory.
In 2013 along with a refurbishment in the brand Brewers Fayre launched a new themed children's menu with The Beano's Dennis The Menace as the new mascot. The theme was originally going to be Scooby Doo.
- The Times (London) 27 September 1999, Monday "Corporate profile", by Martin Waller
- Kent, Tamsyn (2009-10-26). "BBC NEWS | UK | Magazine | Rise of the all-you-can-eat restaurant". Newsvote.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-04-11.
- Cohen, Norma (2011-04-29). "Economy Watch: Reality rains on wedding parade". FT.com. Retrieved 2014-04-11.
- Ebbw Vale outlet in February 2011
- Mike and the Mechanics singer has possessions stolen from carpark in October 2003
- Gangland figure murdered in front of diners in Glasgow outlet in March 2003
- Taking jelly off the menu in March 2000