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The inspiration for The Beefeater  Restaurant chain was instigated in part by the Doultons joint venture with Whitbread Brewery to develop Dickens’ London.  The brewery business  had peaked and Whitbread found itself with 7,000 pubs across the byways and single lane roads of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales.  While on paper the asset value was huge, the reality was that many venues failed to pay the utility bills, as  villagers were staying home, drinking beer from a can and watching the telly. 


While most pubs did not have the required potential, 400 or so were well located and of a size and shape that could be reasonably converted to serve other uses.  Although the average pub provided little more in way of food than bags of crisps (potato chips) and a ploughman’s lunch, converting certain  pubs into full-service restaurants held merit.


The idea of building a chain of restaurants that serves even the best of English-Scottish, Irish and/or Welsh  food held little promise.  Whitbread opted for a middle ground thereby improving the United Kingdom’s  regional  foods while introducing a decent hamburger and other foods that public tastes were ready to experience.


Beefeater went on to build 400+ unique restaurants based upon the Doultons  initial prototype concept.  Whitbread PLC became the largest single chain restaurant company in Europe, adding the Pizza Hut and TGI Fridays European franchises etc.  In the early 1980’s  Whitbread’s core business shifted from brewing, with revenues of a few hundred thousand Pounds Sterling to being the second largest hotel and restaurant owner and operator  in the UK with over 40,000 employees.  Current  revenues are into the billions of Pounds Sterling.  


Whitbread acknowledge the advent of the Beefeater Restaurant as the second most decisive act of the company surmounted only by its founding in 1746.  The Doultons role in those first few months with helping Whitbread strategize its new direction was modest indeed, but nevertheless significant in terms of results, for which we are genuinely proud.

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