|Type||Public limited company|
|Traded as||LSE: WTB|
|Founder(s)||Samuel Whitbread and Thomas Shewell|
|Headquarters||Dunstable, United Kingdom|
|Area served||China, Dubai, Europe, India, Republic of Ireland, Russia, United Kingdom|
|Key people||Andy Harrison (CEO)
Anthony Habgood (chairman)
|Revenue||£1,778.0 million (2012)|
|Operating income||£345.9 million (2012)|
|Net income||£266.0 million (2012)|
|Employees||approx. 40,000 (2012)|
Whitbread PLC is a multinational 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 650 hotels and over 50,000 rooms. Its Costa Coffee chain has around 1,600 stores across 25 countries and is the world's second-largest international coffee shop chain. Its other brands include the restaurant chains Beefeater Grill, Brewers Fayre, Table Table and Taybarns.
Whitbread was founded by Samuel Whitbread and Thomas Shewell, who established a partnership in 1742. The company adopted the name Whitbread & Co Ltd in 1799. In 1750 Samuel Whitbread moved his brewing operations to premises in Chiswell Street on the eastern rim of Georgian London, establishing the first purpose-built mass-production brewery in Britain.
The company was first listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1948. Between 1961 and 1971, Whitbread's output increased from 2.1 to 7.4 million hectolitres and it became Britain's third-largest brewer by output.
Whitbread acquired a 20% stake in TVS for £6.5M from European ferries in April 1984, but sold on the stake in November 1986. Lionel Ross financial director stated "We think that Television south remains a very good company but we carried out a review of our investments and decided to concentrate out energies elsewhere".
Whitbread Group Plc decided in 2001 to sell all its breweries and brewing interests (Whitbread Beer Company) to Interbrew, now known as InBev. Whitbread-branded alcoholic beverages are still available in the UK, such as canned Whitbread bitter, but these are not produced by InBev, merely produced under licence by other producers. InBev controls the use of the Whitbread brand, and the hind's head logo, for use on beverages. In 2002 Whitbread sold its pub estate, known as the Laurel Pub Company, to Enterprise Inns.
The Whitbread & Co brewery building at 52 Chiswell Street in London still survives, although beer ceased to be brewed there in 1976 and it is now a conference and events venue. Still named "The Brewery", it is now part of the Earls Court and Olympia Group, as the site itself was sold to an investment firm in 2005, a decision which was seen by some in the company as "selling the family silver", as Whitbread sought to distance itself from its history.
In 2005, it moved its core operations from CityPoint in central London, to Oakley House in Luton, and then, in 2006, to larger offices at Whitbread Court in Dunstable (previously used by the now defunct Whitbread Restaurants Company) in a bid to reduce costs.
In 2006, it went on to sell 239 of its 271 Beefeater sites to Mitchells & Butlers. In January 2010, Whitbread introduced a new corporate logo, and replaced the tagline "welcome with a smile" with "Eat, Sleep and Drink".
Whitbread's principal current operations are:
Premier Inn is the UK's largest hotel chain, with over 600 hotels in the United Kingdom, plus 1 hotel in Republic of Ireland and a number of hotels in Dubai and India.
There are more than 1000 outlets worldwide. The chain also operates in the Middle East, Pakistan and India through franchise partners, and in China through a joint venture agreement. Whitbread plans for more Costa outlets to be operated outside the UK than in its home market by 2012.
Table Table is a UK restaurant brand. They started as converted Brewers Fayre restaurants, next to a Premier Inn. The brand was originally set up in autumn 2006 as an unnamed brand. The name Table Table was launched in May 2008. There are around 110 sites in the UK.
Beefeater was launched in 1974 and serves millions of guests each year. The chain underwent a huge revamp in the early 2000s. It has just finished another refurbishment programme renaming the brand Beefeater Grill. Beefeater Grill has 131 houses across the UK; most have a Premier Inn hotel located next door.
Brewers Fayre is a pub-restaurant brand. The pubs are designed to look and feel like traditional local pubs but with a particularly strong family presence. In 2013, Brewers Fayre started an all-you-can-eat "Buffet Place" at many of its sites.
Taybarns is an all-you-can-eat American buffet-style restaurant. There are six sites in England and one (the very first site at Swansea) in Wales. The buffet consists of a 34 metre food counter serving a large range of just about any type of food such as pizza, carvery & soups.
Whitbread's former operations include:
- Britvic, a large UK manufacturer of soft drinks, producing brands such as J2O, Robinson's and Tango as well as Pepsi in the UK and Ireland.
- Whitbread Inns, standalone pubs with no restaurant attached.
- Marriott hotels and clubs in the UK, sold to brand owner Marriott Corporation.
- TGI Friday's - Whitbread originally held the UK franchise rights to the American restaurant chain TGI Friday's. The restaurants are known for their "over the top" American style and are popular with teenagers for birthday parties. It is also noted for its cocktails including a top-selling Long Island Iced Tea. On 17 January 2007 Whitbread announced that the franchise rights for TGI Friday's were being sold to a joint venture between Carlson Restaurants Worldwide Inc and ABN AMRO Capital for £70.4m.
- Pizza Hut UK, sold to brand owner Yum!.
- David Lloyd Leisure - Whitbread ran more than 50 David Lloyd Leisure (DLL) clubs in the UK and Ireland with a further number in Spain, the Netherlands and Belgium. DLL is Britain's biggest tennis operator and manages more than 500 tennis courts. On 4 July 2007, Whitbread announced that it had conditionally agreed to sell the David Lloyd Leisure chain to Versailles Bidco Limited for £925 million. Whitbread will initially use the proceeds from its sale to pay off debt.
- Hogshead, a group of town-centre pubs, similar to Wetherspoons, became part of the Laurel Pub Company
- Threshers, a chain of off licences.
- Whitbread Food Logistics, responsible for delivering food/drinks to above brands, sold to Kuehne + Nagel in 2008.
- Germany: Churasco, owned since 1990, and Maredo, owned since 1994; in 1999 the Churasco restaurants have been transformed into Maredo branded ones; Maredo has been sold in 2005
In 1971, the company launched the Whitbread Literary Awards, but in 2005 Whitbread changed its sponsorship strategy to support the Costa Coffee brand, as the Whitbread name was no longer a customer-facing brand, merely a holding company for a series of other brands: hence the new name "Costa Book Awards".
Whitbread formerly sponsored the Whitbread Round the World Race, now the Volvo Ocean Race.
- "Preliminary Results 2012". Whitbread PLC. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
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- Alcohol and Temperance in Modern History
- Whitbread buys £6m TVS stake. By Derek Harris Commercial Editor. The Times, Thursday, Apr 12, 1984; pg. 18
- £18m TVS stake sold. Cliff Feltham. The Times Tuesday, November 11, 1986; pg. 28
- Enterprise Inns buys 1,860 pubs to become UK's top landlord[dead link]
- Whitbread sells historic brewery[dead link]
- "UK Business Park". UK Business Park. Retrieved 19 April 2011.
- "Beefeater sites bought by Mitchells & Butler". BBC News. 21 July 2006. Retrieved 19 April 2011.
- "WDAD Communications: Whitbread Case Study" (PDF). Retrieved 19 April 2011.
- "Horsemeat scandal: Supermarkets 'share anger and outrage'". BBC. Retrieved 15 February 2013.
- Tom Bill. "Whitbread sells TGI Fridays to Joint Venture". Caterersearch.com. Retrieved 19 April 2011.
- "Sale of David Lloyd Leisure". Whitbread plc. 4 June 2007. URL accessed 4 June 2007.
- Whitbread plc website
- the Brewery – London events venue
- Yahoo profile
- Funding Universe History of Whitbread PLC