Harvester (restaurant)

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Harvester
Industry Hospitality
Founded 1983
Founders Courage Brewery
Headquarters 27 Fleet Street, Birmingham, B3 1JP
Area served UK
Products 200 restaurants
Parent Mitchells & Butlers
Website Harvester

Harvester Restaurants is a popular family farmhouse-style licensed restaurant chain with over 200 outlets (as of July 2013) in the United Kingdom.

History[edit]

A modern style Harvester in The Printworks, Manchester

Courage[edit]

The first Harvester opened was the George Inn on Epsom Road (A24) in Morden, at the junction with the A239 near Morden Park and the former Merton College, in Surrey in 1983 by Courage (which had been owned by Imperial Group since 1972).

In 1986, Courage was sold by Imperial Group to Elders IXL, the Australian owner of Fosters, when Imperial Group was bought by the Hanson Trust.

Trust House Forte[edit]

In 1986 when Courage was sold, the Harvester chain was sold soon after to Trust House Forte.

In February 1988, it went into a joint venture with Courage, whereby THF leased 100 pubs from Courage, furnished as Harvester restaurants with Courage supplying the beer. THF placed some Travelodges next to its Harvester restaurants. On 17 July 1993, Forte's 80 Harvester restaurants were put up for sale. Most of these were in South East England, and were part of Forte's Distinctive Restaurants division. Whitbread showed an interest in the chain, but thought the price (at least £100 million) was too high. In 1994, Forte put the chain up for sale for £130 million.

In February 1995, children under 14 were allowed into pubs (until 9pm), but Harvester restaurants were not legally classified as public houses, and had always accepted children.

Bass[edit]

On 21 July 1995, Bass bought the 78 Harvester restaurants for £165 million. Whitbread had offered £150 million. Most Harvesters were in the south-east, and Bass had plans to rebrand other restaurants (such as the former Innkeeper's Fayre) elsewhere in England as Harvesters. When Bass divested its brewing division in 2000, the chain was looked after by the renamed company, Six Continents, until 2003.

Mitchells & Butlers[edit]

On 15 April 2003, Six Continents divested its hotel division, and the chain was taken over by the renamed company, Mitchells & Butlers plc, and had 127 outlets. By 2012 there were over 200 across the entire United Kingdom.

2010 return to television and radio advertising[edit]

For the first time in 10 years,[1][2] Harvester Restaurants spent nearly £20,000 on advertising on both United Kingdom television[3] and radio[4] stations in July 2010. The advertising campaign was part of a general shift within Mitchells & Butlers plc to focus on businesses that were food led.[5] As part of the marketing campaign, they also run "free Ice cream vouchers when you order main meal" campaign periodically [6]

Rogue restaurants controversy[edit]

On 31 July 2008 Harvester Restaurants were featured on the BBC One television show Rogue Restaurants and shown to be operating without regard to certain food hygiene regulations.[7]

A traditional style Harvester in Fleet in Hampshire

Products[edit]

The chain specialises in flame grilled food, spit-roasted chicken and help yourself salad carts.[8]

Often Harvesters are placed near an Innkeeper's Lodge, also owned by M & B.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Video clips[edit]