Crown & Anchor

I know what I want to achieve

What makes the manager of a children’s home, change direction and run her own pub business? It’s not as big a leap as you might think. Heidi had worked in pubs before, but her career had taken a different direction. When she saw that the Crown & Anchor was available, she realised that it had massive potential and decided to go back into the business she loved.

‘Some people knew the pub and questioned why I wanted to take it on, but I had a vision for what I wanted to achieve and knew it would work. I believed I could build business by creating a pub that I would like to use as a customer – somewhere to feel relaxed, where you get a warm welcome and excellent service,’ says Heidi.

‘During my time running a children’s home, I became an expert in conflict resolution and learned to use escalation techniques to achieve the right outcome. These skills translate directly to my new business and have helped me hugely. If I didn’t want people in the pub, I was polite and explained what the new Crown & Anchor was all about. I always aim to get the message across without conflict.’

Word got around that the business had started to change. Customers began to visit who would never have dreamed of venturing into the pub before. They were now serving simple, fresh, home-cooked food and things had improved dramatically. ‘I want my chefs to cook to my standards.’ Heidi explains, ‘The key to providing excellent food is consistency, so people know what they’ll get every time they visit. I have a team of talented chefs all serving food to consistently high standards and, as new chefs are appointed, they are trained by the Head Chef to deliver the same menu.’

‘I have a strong belief that a pub is part of its local community and I have set about making sure that we are actively involved in local life,’ she comments. ‘I realised that there were many university students nearby and decided that I could encourage them to use the pub by sponsoring their sports teams. Everything from boxing to rugby – even the cheerleaders!’

‘The pub had already made an impact in the area but we could do more to help our community. So I decided to do something about it and have been involved in the local regeneration committee. It’s important that I raise the profile of the neighbourhood because I love it here and take a pride in this place – I want others to share in my belief.’

‘Last year, Greene King made an investment to refurbish the Crown & Anchor. Their designers worked closely with me and listened to what I wanted. We have now created an authentic looking pub that’s modern and welcoming. The space is divided into three separate zones and we have a traditional sports room and big TV screens. We can now make the most of our first floor function room too. It’s great for holding events and celebrations – where else would you get a sea view like that? People are already booking the space and it’s proving to be really popular.

‘I’m quite proud of the fact that the Crown & Anchor is right for everyone from students, to tourists, to businesses – they all recognise it’s a great pub!’ she says.

Undoubtedly no-one will be surprised to learn that the local community agrees with her. She was voted East Sussex Business Woman of the Year to recognise her work in the area – and the results say it all. In four years beer sales have grown by an incredible 300%!