Being a Devon gal, I am well experienced with the good old, traditional British pub. The local boozer is a large part of the community down here – as I’m sure it is in other regions of the country.
One conversation that often crops up with my friends and I is how amazing it would be to run our own. We all love the atmosphere, the chats, and the sense of community – but could we really do it?
I’ll be honest, I have even gone so far as to research the idea. And, I thought I would share what I have found with you. While it’s a long way off in the future, who knows? Maybe you or I could well start our own business – we just all need to be aware of what it takes!
There is a romantic side of being a pub owner, which we all imagine. But the reality is that it’s a tough slog. Late nights? Check. Early morning deliveries? You bet. Open on bank holidays – and maybe even Christmas Day? It’s going to be necessary. There will be few chances to get away and take a holiday, and your whole life will be consumed by the business. And if you want success, you will need a hell of a lot of drive to achieve it.
Opening a pub isn’t cheap – whether you buy a building outright or take on a lease from a brewery. We’re talking five-figure sums, here – possibly even more. Then there’s the decorations and fittings, as well as the chairs, tables and pub sofas. And spending money isn’t the only thing you’ll need to worry about – managing it will be tricky, too. Bars run at perilous profit margins, and every penny counts. Financial management is a big part of the job, and if you get it wrong, you could end up failing within a year.
The people skills
You can’t open a pub if you aren’t good with people – it’s that simple. We’ve all been to pubs where the landlord is rude or unfriendly, but they rarely last long. Customer service is central to everything you do – even when the client is wrong. You will also need to be an expert negotiator. When you are surrounded by alcohol, it’s not going to be unusual to be involved in some very tense situations. Are you confident in your ability to diffuse them?
Excellent marketing nous
You will live or die by your pub’s marketing. You will need to see opportunities and take advantage of them, as well as thinking outside the box. Your location is critical, of course – just as it is with any other business. But getting your catchment area to visit you on a regular basis is even more important. Target the right customers, speak to them in their language, and you will be laying the foundation for a loyal support base.
So, do you think you have what it takes to open a pub? It takes a lot of passion and desire, as well as hard work. Let me know your thoughts – and don’t forget to send out an invite if you ever realise your dream!