Pubcos eye new talent in the Scottish trade

• Pubcos said on-trade experience is valuable but experience running a venue is not essential.
• Pubcos said on-trade experience is valuable but experience running a venue is not essential.

Firms highlight high pub standards as they hunt for ‘business minded’ operators

THERE is a deep well of talent in the Scottish on-trade – and pub companies are keen to harness that and work with the trade’s emerging stars.
Pub firms contacted by SLTN said there is a broad range of opportunities available in the leasehold market in Scotland.
And the pubcos said that, coupled with the increased levels of support they offer, means there’s rarely been a better time for those seeking to make the move to running their own pub business.
Admiral Taverns, which re-established its presence north of the border after snapping up 18 pubs from Heineken last year, said it is committed to developing its Scottish estate. It plans to hold open days in Scotland this year to give prospective lessees the chance to meet business development managers from the firm.
“Working with Admiral is a partnership,” said Suzanne Smith, head of recruitment at the pubco.
“We work within the parameters of a shared, agreed business plan for the pub whilst actively encouraging the licensee to develop their own ideas.”
Smith said there are many qualities Admiral Taverns looks for in a potential licensee.
“[Attributes] essential to being a successful pub operator are having a strong vision for the pub, and showing passion, enthusiasm and a real desire to serve the local community,” she said.
Manorview Pub Partnerships, which was set up in March 2014, is another firm looking to attract new talent.
Business development manager Mark Hannah said the firm aims to build upon what he described as a “healthy appetite for operators looking to take on leases” with Manorview.
“We want to work with operators who are as enthusiastic and excited by the licensed trade as Manorview,” said Hannah.
“Never have standards been so high in the pub environment, the level of service and the quality of product.
“When recruiting we want our partners to share our vision of offering every customer a quality experience in quality surroundings for value for money.”
When it comes to embarking on a new venture, operators with a proven track record in the licensed trade have a better chance of “expanding and getting a funding package” according to Hannah, who said Manorview wants to work with “the best in the trade”.
Clive Chesser of Belhaven agreed that on-trade experience is valuable but not essential.
“For us, a strong customer focus and entrepreneurial spirit are the most important thing,” said Chesser.
“At Belhaven, our recruitment ethos is very much about finding people who are as passionate about pubs as we are.”
Chris Jowsey of Star Pubs & Bars agreed, adding that although the firm suggests operators work in the on-trade first “so that they know for a fact that they enjoy the environment”, it is not essential to have “lots of experience running a pub”.
“We’re seeing a combination of people new to the industry, experienced operators, and multiple operators taking on our pubs,” said Jowsey, adding that the type of lessees Star Pubs & Bars looks for are “business-minded operators and entrepreneurs”.


Help at hand for new operators

“We work with our partners to identify training requirements and work with Tennent’s Training Academy and our suppliers to ensure these are fulfilled. We also offer business support packages to all our partners providing accountancy and book-keeping service, monthly business reviews and financial assistance.”
– Mark Hannah, Manorview

“We offer a support package for all licensees, which includes working with an experienced business development manager and access to a range of industry-accredited training courses. One size doesn’t fit all and our training reflects that with the sole aim of helping licensees to grow their businesses profitably.”
– Suzanne Smith, Admiral Taverns

“Every new tenant or lessee has to complete a number of courses before starting in their pub. These range from licensing to finance and from cellar management to food safety and hygiene, arming both new and experienced licensees with the practical and essential skills needed to make a success of their business.”
– Clive Chesser, Belhaven