Star Pubs & Bars to fund BII membership for lessees

Pubco reports post-lockdown ‘surge’ in experienced leased and tenanted applicants

The Barrelman in Dundee opened last weekend following a £630,000 investment by Star Pubs & Bars and new licensees Tommy and Jacqueline Fox

STAR Pubs & Bars is to fund membership of trade group the BII for its lessees in a bid to give them access to more services and support to help them operate in the ‘new normal’.

The Heineken-owned pubco said licensees from its core leased and tenanted estate will be offered the membership, giving them access to eight helplines covering everything from HR to COVID-19 as well as a ‘knowledge bank’ of guides and business tools.

Star Pubs & Bars MD Lawson Mountstevens said: “Licensees are doing a complete 360-degree review of their businesses looking at how they can adapt to the new trading conditions.

“We want to provide licensees with as much help as possible. The BII membership perfectly complements the support we provide.”

The move comes after Star Pubs & Bars reported a post-lockdown “surge” in applications from experienced leased and tenanted operators.

The pubco said application numbers are at its 2019 levels and that the calibre of applicants is “higher than has been the case historically”, with a greater proportion having licensed trade experience.

Star Pubs & Bars said its four joint refurbishments in Scotland which were underway pre-lockdown, or scheduled pre-lockdown for later in the year, are on-track. The Barrelman in Dundee was the latest to open, launching in the former Mercantile pub on Commercial Street last weekend following a £630,000 refurbishment by the pubco and new licensees Tommy and Jacqueline Fox.

Hance McPherson, Star Pubs & Bars recruitment manager, said: “Our estate is primarily community locals which is where operators see the opportunities.

“People are working from home more and opting to stay local. This is great news for pubs in these locations, which are premiumising their offers, and for the refurbishment projects we are undertaking as they meet this demand and so are encouraging licensees to invest.

“Applicants are mindful of the immediate challenges that pubs face but have confidence in the long term.”