Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars is experiencing a post lockdown surge in experienced leased and tenanted applicants with numbers back to ‘record breaking 2019 levels’ as well as a willingness to invest in pubs by licensees despite the pandemic.
Even during the height of lockdown the company says that it was getting around 30 applications a week across the UK with a greater proportion of applicants having licensed trade experience, a clear vision for the pubs they are taking on, and are well funded.
Of the 29 leased & tenanted pubs where Star Pubs & Bars had joint refurbishments underway pre lockdown or scheduled pre-lockdown for later in the year, all but one operator chose to proceed. Four of these refurbishments were in Scotland where no licensees pulled out.
Says Hance McPherson, Star Pubs & Bars Recruitment manager, “Our estate is primarily community locals and which is where operators see the opportunities. People are working from home more and opting to stay local. This is great news for pubs in these locations, which are premiumising their offers, and for the refurbishment projects we are undertaking as they meet this demand and so are encouraging licensees to invest.
“Applicants are mindful of the immediate challenges that pubs face but have confidence in the long term. During lockdown they were able to research the market thoroughly and put-together well thought through business plans. The result is pent-up demand from quality applicants.”
Since lockdown, Star Pubs & Bars has invested £25m supporting its 2300 leased and tenanted pubs. For further information: https://www.starpubs.co.uk/blog/supporting-our-leased-and-tenanted-pubs-through-covid-19
Pictured: The Drum in Glasgow which has just reopened after a Star Pubs & Bars’ refurbishment. Check out the September issue of DRAM for more details.