Mitchells & Butlers revealed this morning that its kitchens churned out some 225,000 meals on Christmas Day, a record-breaking figure for the pub and restaurant operator.
Kitchens across its 1,700-strong estate, which includes brands such as Harvester, Toby Carvery and Miller & Carter, were worked harder than ever before on December 25 as visitors flocked for their Christmas meals.
The output from its kitchens is 25,000 meals higher than it was two years ago.
Research from companies such as Bookatable suggests that more than two-thirds of Brits have opted to dine out on Christmas Day in previous.
Like-for-like sales growth from M&B restaurants on Christmas Day alone reached 5.4%, underscoring customers’ preference for ditching their own aprons and heading out for food.
M&B confirmed the performance in a trading update covering the 14 weeks to 6 January.
It described trading through the core three-week festive season as “strong”, with like-for-like sales growth of 3.9%.
Phil Urban, chief executive of the group, said: “We are pleased to have delivered continued strong trading results over the important festive period in the face of difficult weather for many of our guests, indicating the attractiveness of our offers in a competitive market.”
Over the full seven-week period since its last update, the company said its sales performance was “encouraging”, although impacted by the adverse weather particularly in the run up to the festive season.
The additional (53rd) week in the previous financial year impacts comparison of sales performance across key dates within this trading season. Adjusting for this to align calendar dates like-for-like sales growth was 1.6% over the previous 7 weeks and 2.2% in the year to date.
On an unadjusted basis, like-for-like sales growth in the year to date was 1.1% and total sales have increased by 0.5%, impacted by the disposals in the prior year.
The company said it continues to make good progress with its plans to build a more balanced estate, in particular premiumising its offers where possible and reducing the remodel lifecycle.
It has opened two new sites and completed 114 conversions and remodels in the financial year to date. It expects to complete around 270 remodels and conversions in the full year.