Article written by Anne Bridges.
The pub industry is highly competitive but, if you get it right, it can also be a profitable and rewarding career choice. It takes a certain type of person to run a pub – you must have an entrepreneurial outlook, in addition to the personal qualities required when working with the general public. It’s hard work!
Here are some questions to ask yourself first:
Are you prepared to work long, unsociable hours?
The most challenging aspect of running your own pub is the long, unsociable hours. Whilst most pubs open around midday, they thrive in the evenings, when people have finished work, and at weekends. Until your business has developed enough to hire a General Manager, it’s likely you’ll need to be present during these core hours. This can be hard work, particularly if you have a family. However, once your business is established, the work/life balance is often restored, providing you with the freedom to take time off whenever you like.
Can you multi-task?
The role of a pub landlord is varied. You’ll need to deal with everything from customer service to stock takes, from accounting to IT. At peak times, you may have a number of tasks fighting for your attention. You must be able to prioritise quickly, and delegate where necessary to ensure you keep on top of everything.
Are you a confident leader?
You can’t run your pub along, and must enlist the help of staff – both in the bar, and behind the scenes. To be a successful landlord, you need to lead your team confidently. Make decisions quickly, and provide direction where it’s required. If there’s a problem, you must be able to address is quickly – a weak link in one area of your business can have disastrous consequences, especially as you’ll rely on word of mouth and recommendations to bring new customers through the door.
Are you good with numbers?
Whilst it’s advisable to work with an accountant to keep your finances in order, you still need to have a good grasp of numbers. To ensure the top level of service, stock control is incredibly important. Use sales data to predict how often you need to reorder stock, and in what quantities. If you’re working with a leading pub partner, such as Greene King, make use of their software to keep track.
Do you understand marketing?
To get new customers into your pub, especially in the early days, you’ll need a good grasp of marketing. How will you promote your business? What would you like your customers to think about your business? What’s your USP? All of these questions are important when you run your own pub. Today, it’s more important than ever to have a solid online presence, so you should also consider how you will use your website and social media networks to increase sales.
Do you like meeting new people?
A key part of running your own pub is socialising with your regular customers. If you can develop a good friendship with your regulars, they’ll be more likely to return and bring their friends. Make sure you great new customers warmly, and deal with any complaints in a friendly manner.
Are you a good problem solver?
In any pub, it’s inevitable that something will go wrong at some point. For example, you may have a plumbing issue, the oven may break down, or you may be unable to take card payments from customers who have already eaten. Whatever the scenario, you must be able to react quickly and come up with a solution to reduce the impact to your customers.