M&B reports Vintage Inns ‘pizza evolution’ in record time: Mitchells & Butlers is over half way through a roll-out of a new menu concept for Vintage Inns that will see all of its 188 plus pub restaurants have stone-baked pizza ovens. The new menu includes pizzas that are hand-rolled and prepared in-house, alongside freshly prepared salads as well as other new offerings such as wagyu burgers and delicate quinoa and edamame bean salad. The bar presentation features a range of cask ales, craft beers and carefully selected gins and fine wines gesturing to the consumer that they can have both a dining or drinking experience in a relaxed, contemporary setting. The remaining sites will have introduced the range by spring 2016. Mark O’Sullivan, retail director for Vintage Inns said: “It’s great to both see, and hear, how our customers are excited by the new offer. We trialled it in the last quarter of 2015 at various sites, including the Bears Head and the Oyster Catcher, the success and strong performance has meant that we are on track for a full roll-out to be completed before the end of April. We have listened to our guests and delivered a new evolution of the brand in record time that people love.”
JD Wetherspoon to launch all-day Sunday brunch in wake of roast row: JD Wetherspoon is launching an all-day Sunday brunch menu amid changes to its offerings across the UK. Each brunch meal comes with a club-range drink of choice, to which Wetherspoon has added a new iced frappé. Brunch meals feature Lincolnshire sausages, eggs, baked beans and chips, with a vegetarian option available. The move comes in the wake of customer anger over Wetherspoon’s decision to axe Sunday roasts from its menu after Mother’s Day (6 March), to focus on its all-day, “core 8am to 11pm” menu. JD Wetherspoon food development manager Matt Elsdon said: “We strive to offer our customers a huge variety of meals and snacks – all day, every day – including our all-day brunch option. Our new Sunday brunch offer, which now includes a drink, makes it even better value.” Wetherspoon’s new frappe is served over ice, topped with whipped cream, and comes in two flavours – vanilla with chocolate sauce on top and caramel with caramel sauce.
Beefeater to trial ‘no phone zones’ on Mother’s Day: Whitbread will trial “no phone zones” at its Beefeater sites on Mother’s Day (Sunday, 6 March). Diners will have to hand over their mobile phones before taking a seat in the zones, which will be patrolled by staff who will move guests who do not comply with the rule. With a view to making the zones permanent if well-received, Whitbread said it was setting up phone-free areas in response to research that outlined behaviour which can ruin family outings. The company said top of the list was “constantly checking phones at the table”, which 54% of respondents listed as the single most likely occurrence to cause an argument. Conversely, family conversation is rated as the single most beneficial aspect of a good day out, with nearly two-thirds of respondents suggesting having a chat is the best bit of a family outing. Beefeater head of marketing Sarah Tinsley said: “There’s no denying the huge benefits our smartphones provide us but there is a time and a place for their use and, especially on Mother’s Day, we think we can do without them for an hour or two.”