Key Qualities That Give Pub Tenants An Advantage in the Market

Pub tenancy, run a pub, pub to let
Written by: Pub Partners Team
Date added: Mon, 11/06/2018 - 10:00

Keen to develop an exciting business opportunity? Then look no further. Running a pub is by far the most exciting and rewarding business opportunity within the hospitality sector! You can be entrepreneurial, have the freedom to respond instantly to market conditions and see your business grow as a result. Pubs offer tremendous potential if you have the energy, creativity, drive and determination to be a market leader in your area, responding fast to any opportunities that occur.

Taking on a pub tenancy offers an opportunity that no other type of hospitality business can provide. Anyone running a coffee shop, managed pub or a chain restaurant has to abide by rigid processes and procedures as to what they can or cannot do. They cannot, for example, make changes at short notice, as these have to be agreed by their head office. Snapping up unexpected marketing or sales opportunities in a locality becomes impossible in these circumstances. 

Adaptable And Flexible – Key Qualities Pub Tenants Must Have

Pub tenants, on the other hand, can do exactly that. As a tenant, you have the freedom to take advantage of any potentially profitable opportunity that presents itself.  Tenants can make changes overnight if necessary to menus and non-tied drinks. A pub tenant can make an instant decision, without having to go to head office to get permission.  After all, you are running your own business and therefore these decisions are yours to make.

One Greene King pub operator found that customers in their area were asking about premium meat products, and were prepared to pay for high quality, distinctive steaks. They promptly reacted to this demand by installing a meat locker to age meat – this means that their steaks are unique to the pub, attracting lots of new customers and encouraging existing customers to eat there more often. 

The free rein enjoyed by pub tenants means that you can be truly entrepreneurial. You can respond to changes in demand almost instantly by amending or expanding food and drink provision, or to promote specific drinks such as premium brands. 

Experimentation – Discovering What Works

Pub tenancies are also a great way to experiment with ideas. You can take the initiative and not wait for announcements and roll outs from head office.

You can create a food destination and work with local media on special promotions.  Or choose to specialise in specific types of food without being restricted to set menus.  Instead of focusing on standard pub grub, you can quickly differentiate yourself from other pubs or catering establishments in your region by offering local seasonal food, heritage food, or expanding your gluten free/vegan/vegetarian options which are proving very popular nowadays.  As a tenant you can experiment with the menu and change it as often as you like.  You can test and refine ideas, explore food options with your chef, adjusting on a daily basis if necessary.

Having this flexibility and adaptability also means you can respond immediately to any new initiatives by your competitors, threats that might impact your sales. If a new fast food outlet opens up on your doorstep, you have an opportunity to offer an alternative. That might be high quality, signature burgers, available to eat in the pub or takeaway; and with services like Deliveroo reaching more towns around the country, you could also offer a delivery service going above and beyond what the competition is doing.  Being a pub tenant, operating your own pub, means you can use your initiative rather than having to wait to be told what to do.

Become A Trendsetter Rather Than A Trend Follower!

Taking a tenancy puts the onus on you to keep pace with change, and identify trends that can help you grow your business.  It is therefore the perfect career for an innovative entrepreneur who has their finger on the pulse of their local area, as well as the big picture of what’s happening in the industry and hospitality as a whole. You can be a trendsetter, rather than a trend follower.

Running a pub is no longer a business where you can open the door and expect customers to come. It is a competitive, dynamic and challenging business, but offers fantastic potential for the right people. Because the industry is fast moving and ever evolving you need to embrace change.

If you are keen on getting ahead, and taking a jump on the competition, then running a pub is perfect.  By being aware of what is happening in the industry, reading business magazines and websites, talking to your customers, networking and being open to new ideas, you can identify trends in food and drink or lifestyle changes before your competitors.  For example, recent trends in food and drink include the rise of dark rum and premium mixers, whiskies, greater variety in non-alcoholic drinks, the growth in veganism especially among younger people and a general trend towards better quality and healthier foods.

Customers are also becoming more demanding and vocal about what they want from a pub, and the hospitality industry overall. With the help of social media, campaigns like Refuse the Straw have quickly gained momentum and business have been forced to make changes almost overnight.  Pub tenants can quickly react to these changes, and even turn them into opportunities. Marketing your pub as a plastic free zone can attract plenty of publicity while an issue is in the public spotlight, and brings in new customers who want to support these initiatives.

Keeping Ahead Brings Success

Flexibility, entrepreneurial skills and willingness to embrace new ideas and trends are highly desirable qualities for a pub tenant. Possessing these qualities will give you an advantage in your local market, and also help you develop a really successful, profitable long-term business.

Our successful pub operators are always looking for the next thing. Once they’ve developed one aspect of the business they’re pushing ahead in other areas, revisiting previous projects, and looking for ways to deliver more for their customers. That’s what makes it such an exciting business to be in.