Adding sizzling and spicy food to pub menus has helped give the owner of the Chef & Brewer and Fayre & Square brands a pre-Christmas sales boost.
Spirit Pub Company, which has around 1,350 pubs, said like-for-like sales increased by 6.2 per cent in the 16 weeks to December 10, a faster rate of growth than in first eight weeks of the period, with food sales up 7.9 per cent.
Demand for food at its traditionally drink-led pubs was boosted by the roll out of its Flaming Grill concept, which offers dishes such as firecracker fajitas, flaming skillets and sweet chilli salmon on sizzling onions, to 68 pubs by the end of its first quarter.
Spirit, which was demerged from Punch Taverns in the summer, said the mild autumn weather also helped boost sales across the estate.
Meanwhile, Punch Taverns, said the declines in like-for-like income at its core estate of 2,948 leasehold pubs improved in the period, although a better performance in the south of the UK was offset by declines in the north.