Whitbread plc is a British multinational hotel and restaurant company headquartered in Houghton Regis, Bedfordshire, United Kingdom. The company has its origins in brewing.
Its largest division is Premier Inn, which is the largest hotel brand in the UK with over 785 hotels and 72,000 rooms. Until January 2019 it owned Costa Coffee but sold it to The Coca-Cola Company. Whitbread’s brands include the restaurant chains Beefeater, Brewers Fayre and Table Table.
Whitbread is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.
The business was formed in 1742 when Samuel Whitbread formed a partnership with Godfrey and Thomas Shewell and acquired a small brewery at the junction of Old Street and Upper Whitecross Street and another brewhouse for pale and amber beers in Brick Lane, Spitalfields.Whitbread brewed over 575,000 barrels in 1917.
The company was first listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1948. Between 1961 and 1971, Whitbread’s output increased from 46 to 160 million imperial gallons (2.1 to 7.4 million hectolitres) and it became Britain’s third-largest brewer by output. In 1972, Whitbread became the initiating sponsor of the Whitbread Round the World Race (now called the Volvo Ocean Race), a sailing yacht race around the world held every three years. Whitbread sponsored the race until 2001.
Whitbread decided in 2001 to sell all its breweries and brewing interests (Whitbread Beer Company) to Interbrew, now known as InBev. Whitbread-branded alcoholic beverages are still available in the UK, such as canned Whitbread bitter, but these are not produced by InBev, but rather under licence by other producers.hitbread sold its pub estate, known as the Laurel Pub Company, to Enterprise Inns.In 2005, it moved its core operations from CityPoint in central London, to Oakley House in Luton, and then, in 2006, to larger offices at Whitbread Court in Dunstable.In 2006, it went on to sell 239 of its 271 Beefeater sites to Mitchells & Butlers.
Whitbread’s principal current operations are:
Premier Inn is the UK’s largest budget hotel chain, with over 750 hotels.
Table Table is a UK restaurant brand. They started as converted Brewers Fayre restaurants. The brand was originally set up in 2006 unnamed; the name Table Table was launched in May 2008. There are around 100 sites in the UK.
Beefeater was launched in 1974. The chain underwent a huge revamp in the early 2000s. It then proceeded to change its name to “Beefeater Grill” for a period but in 2015 reverted to just “Beefeater”. Beefeater has 140 restaurants across the UK.
Brewers Fayre is a pub-restaurant brand which was created in 1979. The pubs are designed to look and feel like traditional local pubs but with a particularly strong family presence. There are around 145 pubs across the country.
Whitbread Inns The Whitbread Inns brand of restaurants was created by Whitbread in 2014. In January 2016 there were 13 pubs (all of which were Table Table) across central and southern England.