There are reasons for cheer this year

Pub companies say leasing presents operators with opportunities in 2018

Lessees can benefit from having a pub company behind them, but it pays for prospective tenants to do their homework before signing a deal

THE new year can provide a fresh start and, for some, this will take the form of a career change.

In the on-trade, there are experienced staff looking to strike out on their own, while the dream of running a bar continues to draw in those with no background in hospitality.

As 2018 kicks off, pub companies have insisted that, despite an unclear economic landscape, leasing the right venue with sufficient support can prove profitable for all involved.

“Whatever the market, people want a strong business opportunity,” said Gary Corney of Star Pubs & Bars.

“There are always high levels of interest in quality sites in good locations with long term trading potential.

“But if a pub has traded well in the past and has a great reputation, we find good operators are interested in it regardless of location.

“We remain optimistic for 2018 as leaseholds are an affordable and viable option and offer great support.”

Star Pubs & Bars isn’t the only firm upbeat about the pub trade in 2018.

Leaseholds are an affordable and viable option and offer great support.

David Balmanno, business development manager for Scotland at Admiral Taverns, said pub customers “are increasingly prioritising authentic experiences and we think community pubs stand to really benefit from this in 2018”.

“Where consumers are feeling the financial pinch, they are likely to look for affordable entertainment on their doorstep and so it’s important that pubs think about how they can capitalise on that,” he said.

Purchasing the freehold of a property can be an expensive proposition and pub companies argued that the leasehold model can be a more cost-effective way for operators to run their own business, as well as benefitting from support on an ongoing basis.

Balmanno said: “Taking on a tenancy with a supportive partner is a much lower risk approach.

“It can be incredibly reassuring to know you have an experienced team behind you, whose knowledge and expertise you can draw on.

“A good pub company won’t try and control its lessees.

“They should help them develop their visions and give them the support to get there.”

It can be incredibly reassuring to know you have an experienced team behind you.

Before signing on the dotted line, however, potential lessees should always do their due diligence, advised Craig Bruce, a director of Rosemount Taverns.

He said: “Prospective operators should consider the landlord’s reputation, the structure and flexibility of the deal offered, how easy it is to gain access to senior management and decision makers within the pub company and canvas the views of their existing tenants before considering entering into a lease.”

Brian Davidson of pub company Punch agreed.

He said prospective lessees should “do their homework, check the local marketplace, ask to meet with other lessees who already work with a pub company”.

“Most importantly, write a business plan and, if possible, get independent financial advice,” said Davidson.

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Advice to first time lessees


1. Get the team right

Employ the right people with the right training; you can’t build a great business without great people. And you can’t do it all yourself, so you need to be able to delegate.

2.  Be clear on your objectives

What is important for today; for next month; for the next three months? Everything cannot be done at once so you need to plan and if you understand your objectives, you can explain them well to others and they can then contribute, which is what a good team wants to do.

3.  Get a life

It’s easy to become immersed in a new business 24/7 and pubs are very full on for the first few months. But if you’re tired and you never get away from the business, you risk losing objectivity and you stop seeing new ideas and opportunities.

– Supplied by Star Pubs & Bars.