One of the largest privately-operated pub chains in Kent plunged into the red during its last financial year.
Whiting & Hammond, which owns eight pubs, predominantly in West Kent, suffered pre-tax losses of £281,000 after making a profit of £140,000 a year earlier.
The latest accounts, relating to the year ending September 30 2015, also reveal a 7.2 per cent slump in turnover to £9.3million as gross profit margins slipped from 30 per cent to 28 per cent.
The Tonbridge-based company, which counts the Little Brown Jug as its headquarters, employs around 300 people across the group, which includes the Cricketers Inn in Meopham, the Chaser Inn in Shipbourne and the Mark Cross Inn.
Company co-founder Brian Whiting said trading conditions remain ‘competitive’, but continued focus on ‘excellent food and service’ meant its underlying customer base is retained.