Communique has added another Whitbread brand to its portfolio after
being awarded the Beefeater PR account in an uncontested pitch. Larkspur
Communications, which held the consumer and regional PR brief for the
UK’s largest full-service restaurant chain during 1999, was not asked to
The move represents further consolidation of Whitbread’s third party PR
activity - Communique already works with group brands Costa Coffee,
Heineken, Boddingtons and Whitbread Pub Partnerships.
In February the group restructured its internal communications with
Beefeater coming under the newly-formed restaurants division (PR Week,
Larkspur had been hired to help revitalise the chain, which has more
than 250 outlets and serves 19 million meals a year.
Communique joint managing director Brian Beech disclosed that the agency
had pitched unsuccessfully for the account 18 months ago. ’They came
back to us,’ he said. ’It will be a combination of national PR, raising
the Beefeater profile, and a whole host of local PR.’
The challenge - pushing the Beefeater brand against the proliferation of
other ’eating out’ experiences - remains the same as before.
The agency plans to use television chef Brian Turner, who appeared on
the TV show This Morning and revamped the chain’s menu, for some
Analysts judged that Beefeater parent Whitbread was vulnerable to a
hostile takeover last year as its share price came close to a four-year
low, but performance has improved.
The group, which has a market value of pounds 3 billion, owns other
restaurant chains including Pizza Hut, Cafe Rouge and TGI Friday.