Building's series of profiles of clients with lots of work to hand out continues with Mitchells & Butlers, one of the UK's largest licensed retailing companies.
What is it then? Mitchells & Butlers operates 2000 pubs, bars and restaurants, including chains such as O'Neill's, All Bar One and Scream. The firm has had a somewhat confusing history. It was originally part of Bass, which became Six Continents in 2000, then this company went on to split off its bar and restaurant division in October 2002, establishing it as Mitchells & Butlers.

So how much work has it got? The group is expecting to spend about £150m this fiscal year (October 2003 to September 2004). That's nearly 2000 projects, ranging in size from £5000 refurbishments to £4m new-build jobs.

What's the work like? Quick. The firm's refurbishment work is particularly speedy; it recently oversaw a £100,000 fit-out on an All Bar One in central London in just five days. It also has a lot of maintenance work to deal with: its property management phone line takes about 4000 calls a week, of which 65% generate a reactive order.

Most of the calls are responded to in four hours. There's also a wide variety of work. For instance, the firm has just completed a thatched pub near Reading.

Who's in charge? Sean Darley, director of portfolio, heads the group's building management department. He's quite a bullish chap. In an email containing enormous detail about the firm, Shaun sums up: "We're brilliant, we love what we do and we think our part of the construction industry is fantastic because we make it so. I don't listen to the many merchants of doom and gloom (Colin Harding, John Smith and Tony Bingham spring to mind); I promote constant evolution and improvement and find new ways to innovate and challenge. But, unlike some commentators, I do it as well as talk about it." Okay then, Shaun.

What's it like to work for the firm, then? According to the ebullient Shaun hardly any disputes arise with Mitchells & Butlers and most projects are handed over on time, within budget and 100% defect-free. Here's more from Shaun (he's obviously on a roll now): "The culture that exists within the team, the willingness and the capability to get behind a problem or task, the comradeship and help we all give each other, is second to none.

Face it: we are simply the best!"