Mitchells' strategy to focus on food brands

Pub and restaurant group Mitchells & Butlers yesterday said it would reshape the business to focus on food brands in a strategy overhaul following its controversial boardroom coup.

M&B said it planned to focus investment on six mid-market eateries, including Harvester, Toby Carvery, Crown Carveries and Sizzling Pub Co.

The firm is looking to develop smaller versions of Harvester and Toby Carvery in shopping centres and retail parks.

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M&B is now under the chairmanship of Debenhams boss John Lovering after key shareholder Joe Lewis succeeded in ousting most of the firm's leaders in January. The strategy review comes as the pubs group is reportedly planning potential 100 per cent pay rises for the non-executive directors recommended by Mr Lewis's Piedmont investment vehicle, which owns 22.8 per cent of the firm.

It is thought Mr Lovering wants to more than double the basic pay of the non-executive directors – including Fitness First founder Michael Balfour and Jeremy Blood, who was managing director at brewery Scottish & Newcastle – and increase his own pay from the 200,000 earned by his two predecessors to almost 400,000.

The group said it had appointed new pay advisers, but that remuneration was still under discussion and reports of exact plans were speculation.

However, M&B confirmed aims to overhaul its pay structures and said it wants to "move the basis of pay and culture towards one which encourages greater growth in shareholder value".

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