Waverley Taverns Chain of 120 Pubs.
In the News 1972...
Pubs group unaffected by changes at the top
Keeping his visiting cards up to date is a costly business for Donald Taylor.
Mr Taylor, 31 is the West of Scotland regional manager for Waverley Taverns a chain of 120 pubs, restaurants and small hotels throughout Scotland and the Tyne-tees area. When Mr Taylor joined the organisation eight years ago they were a subsidiary of the Edinburgh-based brewers Drybrough's.
But Watney Mann came on the scene, made a successful take over bid, and then Watney themselves fell to Max Joseph's Grand Metropolitan Hotels earlier this year.
The big changes at the top haven't been felt too much by Waverley Taverns. Mr Taylor operates from the company's West of Scotland headquarters at Rutherglen and he has two area managers Mr John Campbell and Mr Tony Trembath.
Their territory is the area bounded by Ayr, Kirkintilloch, Helensburgh, and Wishaw, and takes in 46 licensed premises. Mr Taylor told me as we met in the newest opening, The Blue Chip, a stockbrokers special in the Stoke Exchange building in Buchanan Street, Best-known to Glaswegians are probably the Corn Exchange, Chess Board, Blue Chip, Admiral, Beechwood, Strand, Dumbarton Hotel, and the Woodcutters at Cumbernauld.
Stunning licensed premises is want they know best and this is what they stick to although a recent venture is a new line, started just two months ago, looks like proving a winner.
A subsidiary company called Maltsters Kitchens has been set up operating from premises in the Westwood, East Kilbride, to provide snacks, frozen, which can be heated in microwave ovens at the pubs which don't have their own catering facilities.
"This venture is still in its infancy." Mr Taylor told me "and we're still experimenting with types of food, for example pasta. "So far we supply 12 of our own pubs including the Admiralty at Clydebank and the Anchorage at Yoker, testing public reaction and we also supply other organisations. "In England the pub is more a social place than somewhere for hard drinking. The image is gradually changing towards this in Scotland and we want to provide food so that the family can come in or office workers with short lunch hours can have an inexpensive snack and can enjoy a drink with it which they can't do in a snack bar."
At present 1000 meals a week leave the Westwood, but the kitchen is not at full production yet and with plenty of scope for expansion. Mr Taylor sees a bright future for Maltster Kitchens.
Grand Metropolitan Hotels down in London seem rather remote to Waverley Taverns and the company, like others in the group, have their own directors. One of the Drybrough board, Mr Lionel "Mac" Fullerton is the general manager and a director of the whole "Waverley Taverns operation, who have some 500 employees.
"Penny Geggy" might not mean anything to youngsters, but I'm assured by Mr Taylor that the expression will be well-known to old Glaswegians, "It means one of the old booth theatres which used to charge 1d admission," he told me. Waverley Taverns have called in March, by this name and he's gone to town on the decor, using an "old Glasgow" theme.
The pub is on the South Side at Shawbridge Street and has been built right from scratch. Other new premises are planned but these are mostly still on the drawing board. Mr Taylor told me that Waverley Taverns make a satisfactory profit. "We make it worthwhile contribution to the total," is how he puts it. He doesn't know, however, if they will always keep the separate identity they have now.
"It would seem logical for us to amalgamate eventually with the other similar food and drink retailers in the group like the Berni Inns and Schooner Inns (England)," If this happened, Waverley Taverns could certainly contribute their fair share. Reluctant to pick out any "best Sellers" among the licensed premises in the area he controls. Mr Taylor did say, however, that business at the Bar-L at Helensburgh is "exceptional" and the Dry Dock at Yoker also does very well.
But he emphasised that there are no losers and no plans to close any of the existing pubs, restaurants or hotels.