Mitchells & Butlers, which owns the Harvester, O'Neills and Toby Carvery chains, is rolling out group-wide cloud computing.

The company, which is the largest restaurant and pub operator in the UK, is working with Fujitsu to extend networked software as a service to its 1,600 branches.

The aim is to enable the company to underpin a much more effective and standardised IT setup across its brands, while delivering different experiences to customers in the different chains.

Mike Sackman, chief information officer at Mitchells & Butlers, told delegates at today's Cloud Expo exhibition in London that the company has ambitious plans for the new network.

"Customers will be able to book tables, and place orders including takeaways from their smartphones, and access public wifi in our branches. There is a revolution in what our customers want to be able to do with their own technology," he said.

"We will also be able to offer much more personalised promotion and marketing to them."

The end-to-end managed network connects the company's offices, restaurants and pubs to applications delivered from the cloud, including DSL based wide area network services as well as Ethernet for offices, and local area networks for branches.

In the four month rollout, the company said it had not experienced any system downtime.

Mitchells & Butlers, which Sackman said "has a 100 percent turnover of staff in branches annually", owing to the nature of the restaurant business, will also use the network to aid staff training.

Sackman explained: "We will be able to deliver video streams of training to staff, to help them with a range of tasks including for chefs cooking from new menus. It's fundamental for us to be able to do this."

Sackman said the company did not originally consider cloud computing. "Cloud found us. It fits our needs as we need to be able to scale up or down rapidly - it's not uncommon for us to acquire or sell a brand that has hundreds of outlets.

"We don't want to be negotiating IT scale for ages, we just want to get on with it, and be able to provide the systems according to the business needs."