Do I Need A Licence Or Qualifications To Run A Pub?

qualifications, run a pub, pub tenancy, pub licence
Written by: Pub Partners Team
Date added: Mon, 18/09/2017 - 10:00

As with any business that sells alcohol and deals with the general public, there are certain qualifications and licences that are absolutely essential.  The good news is that you can obtain these during your search for a pub tenancy or lease, and there is lots of support and training available to help you do so. You can even outsource some functions of the business taking advantage of specialist help especially if you are running a chain of pubs.

By far the most important qualification is the British Institute of Inn Keeping Pre-Entry Awareness Training (PEAT).  Every licensee has to complete this training before any final agreements are signed. It is a statutory requirement.  Completing the training will ensure you are fully aware of all aspects of leased and tenanted pub agreements, as well as providing a basic background in business planning and running a pub. 

You will need knowledge of the key legislation that affects you as a landlord such as the Licensing Act of 2003.  Pub operators must apply for a personal licence to sell alcohol and also obtain a premises licence.  To obtain these licences you will need to demonstrate that you are of good character, that you know how to sell alcohol responsibly, and aware of legislation concerning public safety, public nuisance, child safety and prevention of crime and disorder. 

As part of that APLH licence exam, you will also need to have full knowledge of other relevant legislation such as Employment Law, Fire Safety, Health and Safety Food Hygiene Regulations, Trading Standards Law and Copyright Law.  These are very important since they protect consumers and employees.

Training Courses For Pub Operators

All this legislation may sound somewhat daunting, but it is manageable! Greene King operate a special Level 2 training course which will provide all the background knowledge of these laws and other business issues needed to pass the APLH exam.  Greene King has a great reputation for training and is has a lot of resources that can be accessed by licensees both before and after taking on a pub.  In addition, it is worth looking at the Gov.UK website which has lots of information written in simple and helpful language whenever you need detail on particular legislative topics.

Depending on your business concept, there are other licences that you may need to obtain. Some may be needed immediately, or can be added afterwards as you develop your business to add new functions. For example, if you plan to play recorded music in your pub then you will need a PPL and PRS licence, while screening Premier League Football involves using an authorised supplier – Sky or BT. Your Premises Licence will cover you for most forms of entertainment, but occasions may arise where you will need to obtain a Temporary Events Notice (TENs) for special events.

Depending on your trading concept, there may be other rules and regulations that you need to know about.  If you take on a pub with Greene King, your Business Development Manager will explain what relates to you and your pub, so that you can keep on the right side of the law at all times. Once you are operating a pub or chain of pubs, keeping aware of any changes to legislation becomes part of your regular routine.

In addition to all the essential training to obtain operating licenses, you will need to undertake basic practical training such as learning to run a cellar, retail and financial skills, marketing and sales. The PEAT course and Greene King Level 2 Award course material will cover much of this information.

Most people applying to be a pub operator will already have most of these skills as a result of previous work experience. If, for example, you have a background in hospitality or catering, you will almost certainly possess suitable qualifications and skills in terms of food preparation, health & safety, consumer care. Almost all employment areas and business sectors require knowledge of customer care, health & safety. 

You may have other skills and qualifications that will help you run your pub. For example, we’ve had accountants and bookkeepers take on pub tenancies and bring very useful and practical financial skills into the business. Other pub operators have acquired experience in sales and marketing, including social media through their previous jobs, and these are extremely important in promoting the pub and reaching customers.

Outsourcing and Business Support

It is not essential to possess a qualification in every category in which a pub operates, especially if you are a sole trader or are seeking to establish a business running several pubs. After all, no one can do everything because there are so many skills that are now needed to operate a business successfully.   Learning to outsource and delegate is an important business skill and one that pub operators can usefully utilise.  What is absolutely critical is that you possess the appropriate licenses, have basic practical skills and business/financial knowledge.  Beyond that, you can utilise the skills of specialists such as accountants and solicitors.

Well trained staff will be able to take responsibility for many of the day to day activities involved in operating a pub. Other tasks can often be outsourced. Use the services of a virtual PA to do basic administration. Very few pub operators that have a food offer within their business actually do the cooking themselves.  Employing a chef who has the training and skills to do the job is the obvious answer.

Check out the skills of your staff – the range of tasks they can undertake may surprise you. Some may be great at social media, while others may be good at promotional or sales work.  Arrange some extra training and your employee would be able to take on those roles within the business, thus releasing you to focus on developing the business concept.  As a pub operator your main role is to supervise and ensure that everything is done correctly, that administration and finances are up to date and seeking ways to improve the business offer. 

By outsourcing and delegating as much as possible, you have the time to do what you do best: being a business owner, an entrepreneur and make your business profitable whether it be by concentrating on one site or building up a small chain of pubs in your area.