Middletons Steakhouse & Grill
Since 2011, Middletons Steakhouse & Grill has prided itself on delighting customers with delicious meats that have been carefully prepared at its butchery in Middleton, Norfolk
The relatively short history of Middletons Steakhouse & Grill begins in July 2011 in an old pub, The Crown Inn, which was owned by the founders of Middletons, Gastro Pubs Limited. Following three years of operating as a public house, a strategic decision was made to turn the pub into a Steakhouse that specialises in steak, grills and seafood, with the goal of becoming a high street brand renowned for high quality, well-prepared meats over the coming years. With Middletons opening in July 2011, the company enjoyed success and increased demand as it developed a strong reputation and loyal customer base. This led to the company’s second Middletons restaurant opening in Norwich in December 2012 at a former Baptist chapel. The success of this second restaurant led to further expansion, with restaurants opening in Milton Keynes and Colchester in 2014 and Watford in November 2015.
Key to the company’s success is its high quality food, which is expertly handled by two full-time butchers at its butchery in Middleton, as Steve Hutton, Managing Director and Founder of Middletons Steakhouse & Grill highlights: “The butchery is actually the old toilet block at the back of The Crown Inn; we renovated it a number of years ago and used it as an additional prep kitchen. However, following further investment, we opened it in 2015 as a butchery; it is fully kitted out and has two full time butchers based there, so all of the meat gets delivered to our butchery, where the butchers then trim down the meat, hand cut the steaks and then deliver it to our restaurants six days a week.”
The meat is currently supplied by Cleveley’s in Harleston, a company that Steve has been working with closely for a number of years. “I have a long-standing relationship with Cleveley’s,” he confirms. “Although Middletons has only been operating for four years, as Gastro Pubs Limited we used to own and operate small gastro pubs in and around East Anglia, so Cleveley’s has been my supplier of meats for more than ten years. The quality of the company’s meat has always been exceptional and we have always had confidence in what Cleveley’s delivers; it is really a matter of confidence in the supply chain.”
Value for money
This positive working relationship is a core part of Middletons’ ability to guarantee high quality, fresh food to its customers while they enjoy the vibrant, modern and comfortable décor of Middletons. On top of this, all of the company’s restaurants work to the same high standards and specification books for all of the dishes on offer so every recipe is the same, whichever Middletons restaurant a customer goes to. “We have a food bible that has the ingredients and methods for cooking, as well as how a dish should look on the plate; it is then down to the regional members of staff, such as our executive chef, training and development manager, support chefs and support managers, to provide the best training and development to ensure the highest possible standards are maintained,” explains Steve.
Although Middletons operates as a Steakhouse & Grill, its unique selling point is its best-selling mixed grill dish, as Steve notes: “There are very few restaurant operators that provide the variety of mixed grills like we do. The Middletons Grill is a six oz steak, BBQ pork ribs and a piri piri chicken breast; you also get a choice of side. Priced at £17.95, the Middletons Grill is incredible value for money. As well as fresh lobster and fish, burgers and salads, we have a fairly substantial offering for our customers.” In addition, Middletons also offers roast dinners every Sunday of the year; this is a massively popular dish as the roast beef served is sirloin and there is also the choice of high quality pork or lamb. “We also offer a mixed Sunday lunch where customers can have a slice of everything,” says Steve.
Alongside the exceptional quality of the food, price also plays a key role in Middletons’ popularity, as the company continually seeks to improve its supply chain and thus enhance cost savings. “It is important to us that we don’t penalise our customers for ever-increasing food prices, which means it is down to us behind the scenes to ensure our supply chain is as optimised as it can be and to be innovative, for example, opening our own butchery,” says Steve. “At the moment we are buying direct from a third party, but within the next year we will start to buy direct from farms; this will provide us with more cost savings so we can keep our sale price as keen as possible. We don’t believe in vouchers or discounts we just believe in honest pricing.”
With its Watford restaurant recently opened, Middletons’ goal for the future is to continue opening restaurants in vibrant locations with a strong culture for dining out. “Our next project is Leicester, which has witnessed vast amounts of European investment since Richard III was buried there. This is our biggest project yet as we have secured an iconic site, an old bank, in the centre of town, which is undergoing a £1.5 million renovation. Ideally we would like to keep expanding by at least three or four restaurants a year, this is our goal for the next four to five years,” Steve concludes.