Pubco expands its talent pool

Star Pubs & Bars adds seven managed operator pubs

Debbie Little took over Perth’s Welcome Inn in September 2019.

PUBCO Star Pubs & Bars is set to double the number of managed operator pubs it has in Scotland.

The Heineken-owned company plans to add a further seven outlets to its six-strong Just Add Talent (JAT) estate this year, kicking off with The Horse & Barge in Clydebank and The Keg in Inverness.

Star Pubs & Bars describes JAT as a “low-risk, low-cost turnover and profit share model” with an ingoing cost of £4000. Under the JAT agreement, it said “operators run the business but only fund their and their staff’s costs. Star Pubs & Bars pays for all other expenses including utilities, rates, food, drinks and repairs”. “The revenue and profit are shared between both parties with no limit on operators’ earnings,” said the pubco.

Matthew Dyson, Star Pubs & Bars operations director for Scotland, said the model provides “a cheaper and lower risk option for those looking to get their first pub”.

“Getting your first pub in Scotland is challenging,” he said.

“There is a significantly lower proportion of leased and tenanted tied pubs than in the rest of the UK. Furthermore, almost two thirds of pubs are independently owned. Where these are rented out they usually come with no support and, if they’re being sold, the high price puts them out of reach of most people.

“The growth of the managed operator agreement offers a fantastic opportunity for people in Scotland looking to run their own pub business at a fraction of the cost of other options.”

Debbie Little, who took over The Welcome Inn, a JAT pub in Perth, in September 2019, said Star Pubs & Bars’ JAT model “was the perfect way for me to get my own pub business without laying out a lot of money”.

“Having a blueprint to work to in terms of the pub’s offer was reassuring and enabled me to focus on building trade and my team,” she said.

“The training and personal development I’ve received along the way have been invaluable. I’ve now got the skills, grounding and assurance to move to a leased and tenanted pub in the future.

“I don’t think many people are aware of how easy it is to take a pub on a managed operator agreement. They’re a great way to get on the ladder for those who can’t afford to go it alone or don’t have the confidence to do so.”