Whitbread slashes three PR agencies from roster

Whitbread Restaurants, the parent of Costa and TGI Friday, has slashed its PR agency roster from five to two.

Whitbread has axed Joe Public Relations, Jackie Cooper PR and Communique after a review of PR across its branded restaurant chains.

The group has now taken on CompanyCare Communications for the Costa, TGI Friday and Beefeater brands, alongside Leedex Euro RSCG for the Brewer's Fayre and Brewsters restaurants.

The hires follow a four-way pitch, understood to have been against Ogilvy PR Worldwide and incumbent Jackie Cooper.

Lesly Hughes, head of communications for Whitbread's restaurant arm, said: 'I wanted to reduce the number of agencies we worked with. Last year every brand had a different agency and managing the roster was not a good use of time or cost management.'

Joe Public Relations previously handled PR for TGI Friday; Jackie Cooper formerly worked on Costa; the now-defunct Kable PR looked after Brewsters; and Communique handled the Beefeater brand.

Leedex formerly oversaw regional PR for the Brewer's Fayre chain, but has now added national PR to its brief.

Both Leedex and CompanyCare will start work in March handling consumer PR and media relations.

'What the agencies will be working on is consumer PR on a regional and national level,' said Hughes. 'Each brand has a different focus - Costa, for example, will involve more national work, while others are about gaining success through regional PR,' said Hughes.

At Leedex, MD Brian Beech heads the Brewer's Fayre and Brewsters account, leading a team of five. CompanyCare associate director Lynne Goddard oversees that agency's brief, with support from a ten-strong account team.

- CompanyCare last week also picked up a six-figure brief to launch Toshiba's first range of mobile phones across Europe.

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