Why MasterChefs Make Great Pub Owners

running a pub, pub restaurant, chef, MasterChef
Written by: Pub Partners Team
Date added: Tue, 10/04/2018 - 11:00

A new MasterChef winner will be crowned this month – if you’re reading this after the final you will know who has won. Congratulations to the winner!

So have you ever wondered what happens to MasterChef finalists afterwards, when the cameras stop rolling? 

The answer is simple – quite a number of them start new businesses running pubs.

Take Steve Barringer for example.  A former MasterChef finalist, he opened his first gastropub, The Anchor, in Tilsworth in February 2016. It had always been his dream to have his own business. The combination of catering, pubs and MasterChef publicity worked perfectly.  He comments, “People love it and want to come and eat my food. I’ve built up a good reputation locally with the fans I’ve had from the show.”

He is not alone.  Other past MasterChef contestants are now running successful pubs include Anton Piotrowski who has two pubs with Michelin stars and AA rosettes, and Alex Rushmer, a pub landlord with an award winning restaurant.

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Why MasterChef Finalists Make Great Pub Landlords

So why are pubs such a popular option with MasterChef finalists?

In many ways it is a reflection of the growing trend towards casual dining. The Waitrose Food & Drink report 2016, highlighted the way in which casual dining is taking over from fine dining, especially among younger people. 

The Waitrose report states that, “Today trendy restaurants are about small-plate informal grazing or large sharing platters. This is in stark contrast to the fine dining, formal waiters and starched tablecloths of old.” 

Consumers are seeking a different form of dining, which is one of the reasons why food trucks are so popular. The arrival of street food in all its variations has influenced this desire for inventive, well prepared food.  Consumers want to try new things – but want quality as well.

Pubs are ideal for this type of dining since they have always had a reputation for being a less formal place to relax and enjoy good food.

This helps to explain why MasterChef contenders are turning to pubs as a way of fulfilling their dreams of running a restaurant. Commenting in Big Hospitality magazine, Steve Barringer said that the lines between restaurants and pubs are becoming blurred.  “For us it was cheaper to get a pub than lease a restaurant.  It’s a lot more flexible as its more social and relaxed. With a pub you’ve got different options, you can go in and have three courses or just a drink and a snack.”

“I like to spend my time in a pub and I want to build something that’s based around my personality and is somewhere me and my partner would want to go on our day off.”

What If You Didn’t Get Selected For MasterChef!

You don’t have to be a MasterChef finalist to open a pub with a restaurant. If you love food, it is definitely a great way to follow in their footsteps and build a successful business. It takes ambition, hard work, and a vision of what you want to create.

Taking on a pub is cheaper than opening a restaurant, and provides access to a much wider market.  A pub will attract people not just wanting great food, but also people after a drink, a place to relax or take part in social activities such as quiz nights and music sessions. The potential customer base is extremely wide.

Providing food in a pub is a great way to develop a reputation. While providing a staple menu, you can offer specials that show off your skills or give little twists on the food to create something different. 

Steve Barringer aims to provide a modern take on pub food with items such as batter scraps as part of a fish & chips meal. He is even prepared to create something bespoke at short notice.  If you have got plenty of ingenuity and imagination, the flexibility of pub food will undoubtedly appeal. 

Build Your Reputation For Great Food

It is not just MasterChef finalists who can win awards for their pub catering.  AA rosettes and local food awards can be achieved by many different types of chefs, and who knows when a food reviewer might be calling by?

In these days of food blogging, a really good pub meal could well find itself going viral on social media.  Bloggers enjoy taking pictures of food and posting it on the Internet, as well as giving their opinions.  So think about presentation of your food – you could find yourself as an Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook hero.

Many pubs nationwide appear in top reviews within leading magazines and newspapers such as the Observer Food Monthly magazine. Such reviews attract a lot of attention, as do reviews on Tripadvisor. Every chef, not just Masterchef contestants, benefit from publicity.

Be Your Own Boss

Chefs who have always dreamed of running their own restaurant have the perfect answer in a pub.  This is where you can run a small restaurant and be your own boss. You can take responsibility for all decisions including buying produce and organising menus. You can experiment with different ideas, and develop your own business skills.

Who knows where it can lead?  Ambitious chefs and caterers can find success in one pub providing the impetus for taking on another, and steadily developing a chain of pubs. 

The sky is truly the limit.  You will never be short of customers, because people always want to eat and drink.  Creating a pub restaurant that caters to the type of food they want to eat, offering good quality and service is the keystone to a successful pub business.

So, whether you're a MasterChef contestant or not, why not explore running a pub in more detail to see if this could help you create the business you want?

Have a look at the information on this website, read other blog posts, or get in touch directly. You can also sign up of our email series designed for anyone thinking of taking on a pub, or people are ready to start planning their pub business.