Four pubs with Greene King Pub Partners – Clive Price talks about working with us to build a great business

Clive Price has nine venues in total, four he runs with Greene King Pub Partners on a tied tenancy or lease basis.  His hospitality business Baron Pub Company started in 2002 and he took his first pub, The Rose & Crown with us in 2007 which went on to become the Greene King Pub Partners Pub of the Year 2021.  Three others followed, The Horseshoe in Warlingham in 2010, The Bletchingley Arms in 2013 and the newly named Shinfield Arms in 2018 making it a long-standing relationship for us both.

Clive believes the art of running a great pub is making people welcome, he says “a pub visit can make someone’s day and so the key to making people welcome is fundamental to everything he has running through his business.

“Every day in the hospitality industry you are on the stage so you need to consistently select the right people with the right attitudes and train them well.  Our teams often work in a challenging environment, but if we can apply professionalism in what can be a chaotic environments and retain consistent high standards, our customers will always feel welcome”.

Creating the right environment is also critical and that initially comes down to finding the right location and venue.  With four very different pubs with Greene King Pub Partners, Clive has plenty of experience with working with a tied pub agreement.  He says, “When choosing a pub company, you can’t go far wrong with Greene King Pub Partners.  As they are a brewery, all your beer and cider is tied but I don’t find this restrictive; there’s always a good choice and they also have a great selection of additional products including Greene King and other craft keg products.

“The tied agreement also gives you access to capital investment with professional designers and contractors so that a lot of the stress of developing a new business is alleviated.

“Greene King Pub Partners were also extremely supportive during the Covid pandemic and the forced closure of pubs.  To me they were the leading lights when it came to financial and business support as they provided regular common-sense advice alongside financial relief that you wouldn’t get if you didn’t have the benefit of a tied agreement.  We are seeing that support continue as we recover after lockdown”.

Alongside having a strong relationship with his pub landlord, Greene King Pub Partners he advocates that the key components to being a good operator is about attitude saying “You simply can’t have too many hats on, you need to share the burden with the good people you have around you, having the right people front and back of house so that you can get on with working on the business rather than in it.  You need your teams to be empowered to run the businesses well.  We currently employ 500 people across the nine businesses and the majority of them are under 30 and we focus on training them well.  We’ve really embraced the apprenticeship and kickstart programme and have over 30 people on apprenticeships. 

“In our business the young people provide the energy and drive whilst the more mature ones have the life skill and experience so we’re always able to provide a fantastic welcome whether that’s someone visiting us for a family meal or a pint and a bag of crisps”. 

Clive’s final piece of advice for anyone thinking of taking on pub business is “Always understand what you are signing and make sure you review all the information to enable you to make the right decision.  Once you are in your business always keep an eye on the quality and be proud of what you do”.