It is testimony to the importance with which Greene King treats kitchen innovation that a supplier involved in a recent large catering equipment tender that the chain conducted described the process as one of the “most robust and well-run” he has ever seen. Considering his company didn’t even win the contract, it represents a glowing endorsement of the pub giant’s efforts to make sure it leaves no stone unturned when sourcing kit that is right for its business.
Greene King has one of the largest procurement and food teams in the business, with David George among the senior figures bringing reassurance and experience to the table. David is due to celebrate a decade as the firm’s head of food development next year and in that time the Suffolk-based operator’s kitchen capabilities have gone from strength-to-strength. Accelerated cooking technology is just one area that the company is known to have focused heavily on in recent times, as its brands such as Hungry Horse and Old English Inns strive to find the most effective way of handling customer demand for good quality food and increasingly speedy service.
Time is always an issue for the chain’s busy kitchens, especially during the day, and as David himself has gone on record as saying, any kit that is simple to use and requires minimal training and maintenance is always going to be a winner with operators. The current focus is now on developing the autumn menu and the small matter, ahem, of integrating the Spirit Pub Company into its business after a whopping £774m takeover. That is likely to be the biggest integration exercise in pub group history given that Spirit operates nearly 900 managed pubs and 430 leased and tenanted pubs.
Rooney Anand, CEO of Greene King, said the Spirit deal creates the UK’s largest managed pub company, with in excess of 3,100 sites. What’s more, from a kitchen perspective around 42% of the group’s sales will come from food. “Our focus now turns to building a combined business of our best brands, people, locations and processes to ensure we succeed in the eating and drinking out markets for the long term,” he says.
“The end result is a great kitchen that will help us meet the needs of our customers efficiently and effectively”