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When it comes to running a pub, there are specific processes to do beforehand, to make sure you’re ready to take on a pub. At Daniel Thwaites, we’re all about making sure that we get the most suitable and prepared tenants with a detailed business plan format that enables us to secure the best.
Be structured in your approach and prepared in all areas from; legalisation, demographic analysis, cash flow forecasting and year projections. We’ve put together a complete checklist, including crucial advice to make your business plan the most professional and detailed it can be.
First impressions are crucial, so it’s a section not to brush over lightly. Use it to promote yourself and set out your ability, industry expertise, passion and business acumen with ideas and suggestions, and how you’d want to tackle and take on the business.
What experience do I have? What do I want to bring to this pub? How do I show my operating knowledge? Answering these sorts of specific questions will not only showcase an understanding of the characteristics needed to be a tenant but streamline your answers.
Show initiative and learn about the potential business ahead of time. A great approach is to visit as a customer to observe and evaluate everything from the current offering, type of paying customer and how you see the pub changing in your tenancy.
Again, it’s about asking questions to structure your observations and get the results you’ll need. Can you identify gaps in the market? What is the demographic of the location? What kind of location is the pub in? Can you see investment in the area? What kind of customers are they? Is there a focus on food, drink or both?
Focusing your assessment will provide you with a detailed overview of the business and area, which will inform your approach to the rest of the plan. It’s essential to see and experience your potential business when it’s operating.
This follows on from your market research. Getting a good idea of the customer base will enable you to make decisions on where you want to take your offering and what type of customer you want to attract. Why not produce a customer persona based on your research of the potential site for a more detailed outline of the demographics and their habits?
With personas, you’ll be able to consider how you implement updates or make changes. Are there gaps in the market being missed? Do the offers match the customer? At this point, you’ll need to demonstrate how you’d make specific changes to offerings, how you’d appeal to new customers and manage the impacts of change.
Knowing your competition is an essential part of understanding what’s working and what’s not in the area. We recommend looking at least three competitors for analysis as other businesses can approach offerings differently. Don’t just do pubs either. Again, it’s about asking questions. What USPs do they have? What can you promote as unique in the business?
It’s also a great way to benchmark your pricing. What’s the price of a set menu, main course or weeknight offer? What’s working for them and how could you develop and improve on that? A comprehensive evaluation and research period will benefit you hugely.
A SWOT analysis is a great technique and tool to employ as it’ll help plan out and make decisions clearer when creating your strategy for your pub. It provides a thorough evaluation to present in your business plan as additional research. Tackle each area with clear focuses.
• Strengths – What’s the strongest point of the business – Location? Customers?
• Weaknesses – Identify the problem areas – this could be staffing, a limited drink or food offering or current trading hours.
• Opportunities – is there money for investment to the decor or outside areas? Is there potential for premiumising certain lines of drinks or the mid-week offers?
• Threats – Investigate and highlight problems. Is there a new pub business opening down the road? Is there a more attractive offer elsewhere?
Laying out a clear strategy will show how you approach the areas of a pub business. Areas to identify in your strategy;
• Sample menus – if you have a food offering opportunity or capability
• Your product range – what do you want to sell on your bar or bring in
• Extra facilities – such as letting rooms, live music and additional spaces
Addressing this early will create a robust and exciting proposal to discuss in the interview stage.
Recruitment is a top priority when you come to take on a pub business. You’ll find that service is attached to recruitment and is affected as well by it. Do you have a team already? Will you need to recruit?
Have steps in place to set up with a team, especially a chef and a kitchen team if serving food as it’s imperative to establish a smooth opening. Consider what kind of incentives and staff development you can provide. It’s all about strengthening retainment as a more efficient pub is always more profitable.
The pub industry is always changing with new trends taking off, consumer habits evolving and laws updating. It’s good to stay aware and on top as an agile tenant will be able to react appropriately by staying relevant and appealing to customers. Presenting yourself as knowledgeable, informed and interested in learning the industry, is beneficial not only to your plan, but when you’re up and running.
How will you deliver your plan and make it successful? It’s presenting key information of how you’ll track performance, hit targets, managing a variant income and what happens to your strategy if you’re above or below targets.
Elements to consider;
• Opening times
• Bar products and offering
• Staff and presenting a training schedule
• Marketing yourself is vital for awareness and to grow your business. Will you be across web, print and social?
Understanding your finances is essential, so being accurate and realistic is critical. You need to have the funds to complete the tenancy agreement and show proof of the sources used for this while also completing a twelve-month profit and loss forecast.
It’s an analysis to understand your potential profit and how that works against your personal income expectation and consideration for operating costs. Learning the cash flow will help you manage a balanced cost sheet. You’ll need sufficient funds to provide a bond, purchase stock, cover legal fees, receive training, cover administration fees and make your first drinks order.
Being honest, realistic, motivated and showing initiative in future planning will create the best business plan and the likelihood of you being offered a tenancy opportunity to begin your journey.
You can find a free downloadable pub business plan template on our useful documents page. For more information, contact our expert recruitment team or take a look at our current vacancies.
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