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This article is about the company. For other uses, see Whitbread (disambiguation).
Whitbread PLC
Public limited company
Traded as LSEWTB
Industry Leisure
Founded 1742 (London)
Founder 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 £2,030.0 million (2013)[1]
£387.2 million (2013)[1]
£301.3 million (2013)[1]
Number of employees
approx. 40,000 (2014)[2]
Divisions Beefeater Grill
Brewers Fayre
Costa Coffee
Premier Inn
Table Table
Website www.whitbread.co.uk

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 2,861 shops across 30 countries as of May 2014 and is the world's second-largest international coffee shop chain.[3]Its other brands include the restaurant chains Beefeater Grill, Brewers Fayre, Table Table and Taybarns.[2]

Whitbread is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.


The Chiswell Street brewery in 1792.

In 1742 Samuel Whitbread formed a partnership with Godfrey and Thomas Shewell and they acquired a small brewery at the junction of Old Street and Upper Whitecross Street and another brewhouse for pale and amber beers in Brick Lane, Spitalfields.[4] Godfrey Shewell withdrew from the partnership as Thomas Shewell and Samuel Whitbread bought the large site of the derelict King's Head brewery in Chiswell Street in 1750.[4] The new brewery was for the production of porter, and was renamed the Hind Brewery after the Whitbread family coat of arms.[4] From the outset, Whitbread was the leading financial partner, and solely responsible for management, and in 1761, Whitbread acquired Shewell's share of the business for £30,000.[4] It was the largest brewery in the world by the 1780s.[5] In 1796 the company produced 202,000 barrels of porter.[4]

The firm struggled after the death of Samuel Whitbread Sr, and saw ownership transfer to his son, also called Samuel Whitbread.[5]

The company adopted the name Whitbread & Co Ltd in 1799.[6]

The company was first listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1948.[5] 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.[7]

Whitbread acquired a 20% stake in TVS for £6.5M from European ferries in April 1984,[8] 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".[citation needed]

Whitbread Group Plc decided in 2001 to sell all its breweries and brewing interests (Whitbread Beer Company) to Interbrew, now known as InBev.[6] 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.[9]

The Whitbread & Co brewery building at 52 Chiswell Street in London still survives, although beer ceased to be brewed there in 1976[5] 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.[10]

In 2005, it moved its core operations from CityPoint in central London, to Oakley House in Luton,[11] 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.[12] In January 2010, Whitbread introduced a new corporate logo, and replaced the tagline "welcome with a smile" with "Eat, Sleep and Drink".[13]

In 2013, as part of the 2013 meat adulteration scandal DNA tests revealed that horsemeat was present in some meat products sold in outlets owned by Whitbread.[14] The company vowed to remedy the situation.[15]

Current operations[edit]

Whitbread's principal current operations are:

Premier Inn[edit]

Main article: Premier Inn

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.

Costa Coffee[edit]

A branch of Costa in Sutton, Greater London
A branch of Costa Coffee in Liverpool, England
Main article: Costa Coffee

Costa Coffee was founded in London in 1971 by the brothers Sergio and Bruno Costa as a wholesale operation supplying roasted coffee to caterers and specialist Italian coffee shops. Acquired by Whitbread in 1995, it has since grown to over 2,861 stores across 30 countries.[16] By the end of 2010, the company had overtaken Starbucks in the UK, reaching a 37.6% market share measured by revenues.[17] The business has 1,755 UK restaurants, over 3,500 Costa Express vending facilities and a further 1,106 outlets overseas.[18]

The chain operates in the Middle East, Pakistan and India through franchise partners, and in China through a joint venture agreement.

Table Table[edit]

Main article: Table Table

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 Grill[edit]

Main article: Beefeater Grill

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[edit]

Main article: Brewers Fayre

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. There are around 140 pubs across the country from Elgin to Hayle. The majority of sites have a Premier Inn on-site

Whitbread Inns[edit]

Whitbread Inn's is a new brand of restaurants created by Whitbread in 2014. At present there are five pubs in the south of England (all of which were Table Table). The pubs are designed to give an individual flavour to each one/


Main article: Taybarns

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.

Former operations[edit]

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.[19]
  • 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.[20]
  • 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.


  1. ^ a b c "Preliminary Results 2013". Whitbread PLC. Retrieved 15 March 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "About us". Whitbread PLC. Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  3. ^ http://www.whitbread.co.uk/content/dam/whitbread/pdfs/investors/reports-and-presentations/annual-reports/2014/Whitbread_Annual_Report_2014.pdf
  4. ^ a b c d e http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/39057?docPos=3
  5. ^ a b c d Jack S. Blocker; David M. Fahey; Ian R. Tyrrell (2003). Alcohol and Temperance in Modern History: An International Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. pp. 656–657. ISBN 978-1-57607-833-4. 
  6. ^ a b "History of Whitbread". Whitbread.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-04-11. 
  7. ^ Alcohol and Temperance in Modern History
  8. ^ Whitbread buys £6m TVS stake. By Derek Harris Commercial Editor. The Times, Thursday, Apr 12, 1984; pg. 18
  9. ^ Enterprise Inns buys 1,860 pubs to become UK's top landlord[dead link]
  10. ^ Whitbread sells historic brewery[dead link]
  11. ^ "Whitbread - market intelligence". Ukbusinesspark.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-04-11. 
  12. ^ "Business | Beefeater sites bought by M&B". BBC News. 2006-07-21. Retrieved 2014-04-11. 
  13. ^ http://www.wdad.co.uk/pages/pdfs/portfolio/Whitbread%20casestudy.pdf
  14. ^ "BBC News - Horsemeat scandal: Supermarkets 'share anger and outrage'". Bbc.co.uk. 2013-02-15. Retrieved 2014-04-11. 
  15. ^ http://www.theguardian.com/business/2013/feb/26/whitbread-food-chain-horsemeat-scandal
  16. ^ Whitbread PLC - hospitality company profiles
  17. ^ Caterer and Hotelkeeper 14 January 2011
  18. ^ http://www.whitbread.co.uk/content/dam/whitbread/pdfs/investors/reports-and-presentations/annual-reports/2014/Whitbread_Annual_Report_2014.pdf
  19. ^ Bill, Tom (2007-01-17). "Whitbread sells TGI Friday’s to joint venture - Caterer and Hotelkeeper". Caterersearch.com. Retrieved 2014-04-11. 
  20. ^ "Sale of David Lloyd Leisure"[dead link]. Whitbread plc. 4 June 2007. URL accessed 4 June 2007.

External links[edit]