QUALITY in beer, food and staff have driven Greene King to record results, its chief executive said yesterday.
Its interim results for the 24 weeks to October 16, published yesterday morning, show operating profit up 5.1 per cent to £115.6 million with pre-tax profits up 5.6 per cent to £77.2 million. Shareholders can expect a dividend per share of 6.7p, which is 6.3 per cent up.
Chief executive Rooney Anand said: “The team in Bury St Edmunds and across the UK have demonstrated that great things other than IPA are created in Bury. These are record results in difficult circumstances.”
Success against the trend is most obvious in food sales which have improved by 16.3 per cent when industry experts predict a growth of only 2.8 per cent. That is partly down to he acquisition of Realpubs and Capital Pub Company, but Mr Anand stressed it was also due to value, quality and staff, who he praised.
He said: “The growth in food sales of 16 per cent is by far the strongest performance in the sector. The trend towards eating out in pubs is growing in the credit crunch and we’re offering everyday value. You get a good deal, with or without coupons and vouchers, you get a good quantity and quality of food and you get good service.”
He feels efforts to improve service have hugely affected performance. The company has created 800 new apprentices and reports that better training is improving its retention of the best performing staff in its pubs and restaurants. Mr Anand said that was reflected in the improving scores its ‘mystery guests’ were recording.
The company’s beers have also done well with the brewing side’s operating profits up 4.5 per cent to £16.3 million. Though UK beer sales have fallen six per cent, Greene King’s brands’ sales are up two per cent, with IPA off-licence sales up 14 per cent.
Mr Anand said: “Our job is easier than for many people because we’ve got fantastic brands.
“We launched Old Golden Hen in August and it’s already in the top 10 bottled beers in the UK – it is one of the fastest improving bottled ale sales launches ever.”