The value of pub training for multi-site operators

Ready to grow your pub business?  Once you’re successfully running one pub, it doesn’t have to stop there. With the right training and systems in place, you can grow and become a multi-site pub operator.

While taking on another site needs careful consideration, expansion isn’t that difficult if you have the right mind set, the right concept and take advantage of the support and training that’s available such as the Greene King Multi-Site Operators Course

Operating two or more pubs sites requires different skills to operating just one; you also need to know when it’s the right time for you to expand and how to identify a new pub that will work with your existing site.

By enrolling on a Multi-Site Operators Course you can lay down the foundations for future success as it enables you to prepare and judge exactly when you are ready to move onto the next stage of your business.

Multi-Site Operators – Reasons To Invest In Training

Multi-Site Operator Training Courses, like the one run at Greene King, will help you address the following key points:

The drivers for success

It’s really important to take a critical look at your existing pub. Are you in a financially secure position? What can you invest in a new pub? How much money do you have available? Do you have staff you can trust and rely on? Are they able to step up and take on more responsibility?

Operating a multi-site business means that you will not be able to be at any one pub, all the time.  You cannot provide day-to-day control so you will need reliable staff in place both to run the existing business, as well as assisting with your new one. Talented staff are a valuable resource and by providing additional challenges, you are more likely to retain their services.

“There are loads of really talented young managers in the hospitality industry but moving on to running their own pub business is a big step and most people can’t afford it. Most managers hit this ceiling and there isn’t anywhere else to progress to.  Ashley had been working with us for six years and Gary for two so we knew them well. We realised that the next step for them both would be to start their new life together in a pub to run for themselves,” commented Debi Sicklemore of The White Horse, Sudbury.  Recognition of this fact encouraged Debi and her partner to expand onto another site.

And what of your own personal management skills? Do you have the right skills to run a multi-site business? Are there any areas of the business in which you need extra training?  For example, if your current site is a wet led pub but you’re looking for a new site that offers the chance to develop a food menu. You may require an additional skill set, especially when it comes to food hygiene and health & safety in the kitchen, and you’ll also need to know how to hire staff to support you.

Brand, culture and values

Everyone is familiar with big corporate brands, names that immediately jump to mind when you think of retail, food or leisure. But branding is not confined to big business – it applies just as much to small ones.  Every business has its own special brand.  Identifying this brand and seeing what you can take with you onto another site is essential. Your brand and its values are what makes your pub special, enabling it to stand out against the competition.  It may be that you are well known for your food offer, customer service, acting as a community hub or for putting on events. 

Simply replicating what works on one site is not always enough to ensure success. Your branding needs to be flexible.  Having developed a reputation for fine dining, Tom Kerridge used that reputation to expand onto another site but diversified slightly by focusing on pies and affordable food to appeal to a slightly different customer. He recognised that he couldn’t simply replicate his successful Hand and Flowers pub, especially in the same area, but could build on its reputation and his brand to cater for a different market in the same town.

Systems and controls

Very important! It is the strength of these operating systems already in place within your pub that will ensure it will continue to thrive, while you turn your attention elsewhere. Take a close look at your existing operating systems and check that they can be scaled up to another site.  This has been a crucial feature in the success of Debi Sicklemore’s expansion.  She comments “Outside of face to face visits, Greene King systems like online ordering make it easy for me to see how the business is doing.”

If your systems are not up to scratch then it’s time to think about developing new systems and controls that have the flexibility needed for a multi-site operation. Make sure you allow time to put these systems in place to check they work, before you roll them out to another pub.

With the right systems you will be able to benefit from the economies of scale, keeping costs low and driving efficiencies across both sites. Andreana Smith-Bowes of The Elizabethan, Dunfirmline says that, “Running six pubs means that we can employ centralised resources to help make the most of our businesses.”

Learn from other multi-site operators

Operating more than one pub is not for everyone so it’s important to talk to other operators who have made the jump from solo pub to multi-site businesses.  On our Multi-Site Operator Course we provide attendees with the opportunity to learn from other operators, find out what has worked for them, how they have done it and what mistakes they’ve made. This insight is immensely valuable and can help you make up your mind whether expansion is for you or not. 

Managing risk

Expansion of any kind is risky and mistakes are possible.  The key is to manage those risks and ensure that everything possible is done to protect your existing pub business.  Being aware of the risks and taking appropriate action will reduce that risk. Typical risks for a new multi-site operator include logistics (choosing sites that are too far apart to be managed effectively), not putting in enough resources in terms of staffing or your own time, and of course, finances.  Making sure that you have adequate finances in place to cover the extra investment, and ensuring that if one pub is having problems the other is not affected is essential. 

Another problem that sometimes arises is when an operator tries to run a second pub that is very different to their existing one. This can result in a struggle to replicate your original business’ success. It’s therefore really important to talk to your Business Development Manager, as well as other operators, about how to scale up in this situation.

Business planning across different sites

Running several pubs does require different management skills to running just one pub.  Existing pubs will still need your input, and business plans will have to be scaled up.  You cannot allow any site to stagnate – pubs need to innovate and improve. As a three pub chain, Andrew Macmillan comments, “we have got different issues now that the business is larger. We need innovation in the way we do things in the future.”

Sarah Milward, Greene King's Learning & Development Manager says:

"Consistently high performing operators are able to attract and retain great people. The Multi Site Operator course provides insights into leadership style, personal drivers and qualities required to build a thriving business. We share experiences and ideas through use of interactive team activities and case studies. We’ve built content to signpost things which are must do’s and don’ts yet because no two multi-operators are the same it is very much a take-away menu for each attendee. 

"Most of our courses have a blend of existing and aspiring or new MSOs.

Many delegates report that the course was an invaluable break from their normal routine because it provided a rare bit on ‘me time’ to think and work on their business with likeminded individuals, as opposed to their normal existence spent working flat out in their business."

Preparing for growth is essential. Spending a couple of days on a specialised training course is a good investment as it will ensure you are in the best position to become a successful multi-site operator. 

Click here to book your course today.