The pub market is extremely competitive, but making a success of your new venture can be extremely rewarding, both financially and personally, as a good pub can become an integral part of the community. What follows are some basic tips which will help you stay on the right path to succeed as a pub landlord.
It is extremely costly and difficult to start a pub from scratch, so it may be a good idea to look for existing pubs in sale, ideally one which is in a highly populated area in which there isn’t a huge amount of competition. It is a good idea to search for a reasonably priced pub which needs some work doing to it, thereby enabling you to snap the place up at a competitive price and renovate the pub to your own designs.
Choose your target market
The face of the British pub industry has changed to become extremely service-orientated. Profitability can be boosted by offering great food and by making the pub friendly to young couples and families. Naturally, you will need to have a clear idea as to which demographic you are catering for.
Something that is becoming ever more common is catering for different groups on different days and at different times. During weekdays and nights, a pub can cater to a wide demographic, offering food and a pleasant ambience. However, if there is a large nightclub in the area, it is wise to have a pre-nightclub promotion night at the weekends, during which a younger demographic can be catered for. Be sure to have a number of scenarios worked into your business plan when approaching your bank.
A good workforce is crucial if your pub is to succeed. Bar staff should have extremely strong customer service skills and be able to handle unruly behaviour, which unfortunately can be a reality should a heavily inebriated customer be asked to leave. It is the pub landlords’ responsibility to train their staff to a high standard and make them aware of the licensing laws relating to drinking age restrictions. Your staff must be vigilant at all times, as a prosecution for illegally serving an under-age customer can be costly and can seriously dent your pub’s reputation in the community.
It is also imperative to have strong business insurance in place, incorporating professional and public liability insurance to protect you from the variety of different issues which can arise in your licensed premises. Once you have found your ideal premises you can experiment with the food menu, the drinks promotions through the brewery and start forging strong business relationships with other businesses in the area.
Learn the social calendar of the region in which you have opened your pub, as joint events and promotions will ingratiate your pub with local people. As the landlord you should also make yourself known in the community and advertise your pub in the local press.
Owning and running a successful pub is hard work, but becoming an integral part of the community and building up a solid customer base is both personally and commercially rewarding.
Image of pub by Bods