Greenalls to give pub grub a lift

Pub grub is about to be transformed under plans being hatched by Greenalls, one of Britain's largest pub groups.

Gone are the days of curly sandwiches and cold sausage-rolls. Soon Greenalls' customers will be able to order a bowl of oysters or a plate of smoked salmon, washed down by an expensive bottle of Chardonnay, in pubs all around the country.

Greenalls plans to launch a range of new dishes, including fish platters and a host of vegetarian meals. It is even developing new technology designed to cook a range of fresh vegetables quickly and cheaply.

The dishes will typically cost around pounds 10 each. Greenalls will also offer a range of wines from Australia, South Africa and California costing from pounds 7 to pounds 15 a bottle.

Lord Daresbury, Greenalls' chief executive, wants to take the chain upmarket to attract more affluent customers.

"People used to come to a pub just at lunch time but now they are coming for supper. This is about offering customers good food at good value in a casual atmosphere. It is aimed at increasing spend per head, getting them to stay longer and spend more on food and have a glass of wine or even a bottle," he said.

Greenalls plans to introduce its new menu in at least half of its 850- strong pub chain over the next 18 months. It is spending pounds 100m to revamp its pubs, about a third of which will be used to create its new culinary delights.

The group has also unveiled plans to build a huge leisure club at The Belfry, its famous Midlands golf course, which will house 3,000 members. The existing leisure club will be turned into a 300-room conference centre. The scheme is part of a pounds 9m investment programme designed to take The Belfry into the new millennium.

Greenalls has opened a new PGA golf course When the development is completed it will house a 360-bedroom hotel, five restaurants, three conference centres and eight bars.