10 Steps To A Great Business Plan For Your Pub

ning a business, run a pub, business plan
Written by: Pub Partners Team
Date added: Mon, 31/10/2016 - 10:00

It is very important to have solid business plan when you are starting a new business like running a pub. Only by doing your homework at the beginning, will you be able to consider all the implications and see how you can make the most of your new pub. 

Drawing up a comprehensive business plan will steer your discussions with your Business Development Manager (BDM) at Greene King, if you work with us.  Such a plan is the best way of bringing together your ideas and research into a structured format that can easily be followed.

In this blog post we share key points you need to think about when writing your business plan. To help you further we also have a free business plan template you can download here.

Running A Pub: Get Started With A Great Business Plan!

#1: Take A Look At Yourself

Begin by taking a long hard look at yourself, your skills and qualifications, experience and knowledge.  What can you bring to the pub business? What past experiences or work shows that you know what working and operating a pub is like?

List down your qualifications, skills and background.  Then get someone you trust to comment on them – they can often spot things you have missed out.  Don’t forget your weak points. Identify what these are and how you can deal with them to ensure they do not form a problem in your business. It might be a lack of accounting skills, beer knowledge or maintenance/DIY skills. 

Do the same checks if you plan to appoint someone to run the pub for you – make sure you know all their skills, weaknesses and strong points.

#2: What’s The Market?

Consider the market of your proposed pub.  Do some homework. Go for a stroll, a drive around the area. Get to know the pub and find out which customers are attracted to it.  Are they young, old, people more interested in food or in the beer that is on offer? 

Do you want to expand this customer base or maintain it – and think about how you should do it. Take a look at other pubs nearby and see what they are offering.  Are there any gaps in the market that could be exploited? If other pubs focus on drinks, could there be an opportunity for a food based offer? 

#3: SWOT Analysis – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats

This is a crucial part of the business plan.  A careful SWOT analysis will enable you to see exactly what place the pub plays within the area, its strengths and weaknesses. 

It might be the location is its strongest point, allowing the pub to appeal to an extensive passing trade, while weaknesses might include staffing or food offering.  Perhaps it needs some renovation, a coat of paint or more comfortable seating.

Investigate too potential opportunities or threats that might affect the business. A new housing estate or a planned road improvement might make a tremendous difference to the pub’s future.  Having identified these factors, you will be in a position to consider what action ought to be taken in future.

#4: Competition

A key element of any business plan is the competitor analysis. You need to be able to identify exactly who your competitors are and how they compete.  Find out the unique selling points of each competing pub, or other venue. Then ask yourself how you can compete with this, and what USP can be created for your pub making it stand out in a potentially crowded marketplace.

#5: Strategic Plan

Having studied your competitors and the SWOT analysis, it is time to work on exactly what you would like to offer the brewery or pubco in terms of the pub you propose to take on. 

It is very important to have a strategic plan, highlighting the differences between the existing offer and what you can provide.  This should include a sample menu, the proposed product ranges and details of any additional facilities you propose including such as gaming machines, letting bedrooms, function rooms, special events or music entertainment.  Remember that is not just the interior of the pub you should be thinking about – consider too improvements to the exterior and to the pub garden.

At Greene King our BDMs are keen to work with potential landlords on developing a robust and solid plan for our pubs, so use them to help you create an exciting proposal.

#6: Customer Service

Service is another key consideration within the business plan.  The emphasis always has to be on improvements to the existing level of service.  Ask yourself how you could improve the service levels - for example are there enough staff, are they knowledgeable enough? What could provide a better customer experience? 

Proposals for training staff should also be made. Without well-trained, informative staff, it is not possible to run a pub effectively. 

#7: Investment Opportunities

Look too at investment opportunities. What improvements do you feel should be made to the existing pub?  Perhaps some rooms could be converted to providing rooms to let? Or should improvements be made to the function room? Does the car park need improvements such as resurfacing – few customers want to come to a pub where the car park is full of potholes as it can give the impression that the landlord does not care about the condition of the property.

Again speak to your BDM about these improvements, in some cases there may be opportunities to refurbish the pub before you open for business. Your BDM can advise you on this.

#8: Delivering The Proposed Offer

Think about how you will deliver the offer and what support is needed to ensure your offer is successful.  Marketing is essential, since if people do not know about the pub they will not come. They need to have information about the pub’s location, its food and drink offering and be alerted to any special events.  Perhaps the social media presence needs to be beefed up and made more prominent? Does the pub have a Twitter or Facebook account? 

Your business plan should show how your experience could bring these changes into place.

#9: Pertinent Details

No business plan would be effective without details of all the key people involved – who will be running the business, who would be the chef, the head barman, professional advisors and bankers? What is their experience, how will you support them, and what recruitment strategies will you put in place if you haven’t yet identified these key people?

#10: Financial Forecasts

You will also need to create financial forecasts for the business including a detailed cash flow analysis, profit & loss statements accompanied with break even analysis and forward projections. Your BDM will be able to support you with this, providing you with figures and projections for that specific pub.

It might seem like a lot of work before you have signed a contract to run the pub – but in the long run it will be extremely beneficial.  Detailed preparations and strategic thinking will ensure that your new business will stand a really good chance of succeeding, creating long term business growth.