Do You Have Experience, a Plan and the Funds?
Whilst transferable skills can be useful, if you don't know all the ins and outs of the trade, you are HIGHLY likely to lose your money, learning on the job is fine if someone else is paying, just ask any Blue Chip Consultant, but you are likely to run out of cash before you have enough experience. Not having a realistic business plan is also commercial suicide and being underfunded from the outset will leave you with cash flow problems you will never recover from, these are all basic mistakes made by new to industry entrants.
Take Professional Advice
To ensure you pay the right rent, the right premium and have the correct business plan, professional advice should be taken.
Use A Specialist Solicitor
Do not think that using your family solicitor will save you money, if he is half the price, he may charge twice the hours because he is learning on the job. It is also a possibility that because they will get paid whether the matter proceeds to completion or not, to avoid any possibility of being accused of providing bad advice they might encourage an acquisition is aborted.
Keep on Top of your Costs
Only you can keep control of controllable costs, wages, supplies, consumables etc even utilities see Electricity "Hypermiling" - getting buy in from staff
New Allergen Legislation
Legislation now requires all food (which includes beer) to be assessed for allergens. Here is a link which might be of assistance - click here .
Website, Social Media and customer databases
When buying a pub, don't forget the social media, data bases and website accounts - it takes time to build up loyalty and if you are paying a handsome price for good will, you also need all the patrons with it!
Things to do when taking a new pub
There is an awful lot to consider when taking on a public house for the first time - here is a helpful list of things you should do - click here You could also have access to a multitude of pro-forma H&S documents and other useful information from How to Run a Pub click here
Statutory Requirements and Compliance
How to Run a Pub has kindly provided us with the enclosed list of Statutory compliance, which is a little daunting but gives you an idea of how much you need to know or the skills you need to buy in. CLICK HERE
Due Your Due Diligence
Don't rely on unaudited figures. Do ask for VAT returns Do ask for Bru Lines information (if available) Your Rates Payable are calculated by taking the Rateable Value and multiplying by the Non Domestic Rateable Value Multiplier (NDR) for that specific year. The Rateable Value will normally change every 5 years. When purchasing or renting a property you can check the Rateable Value Position via the Valuation Office Website. Do get your EPC - remember an F and Lower score is likely to be illegal by 2018 - you need to negotiate now that the landlord improves the rating at his cost before you sign a lease and it becomes your cost. Pub Innsite recommends EPC For Property.
Do review this Due Diligence document
Due Diligence Crib Sheet (13 KB)
Use Stock Takers & Accountants
This will ensure you get no nasty suprises and keep on top of costs and Gross Profit margins. Most failures result from cashflow problems relating specifically to cost control. Don't Go on an Expensive Holiday/ buy a Range Rover in the fist 12 months Pretty self explanatory and relates directly to cost control - most businesses have cycles and you need to ensure your keep cash available from the good days to support you during January February and March.
Standards are what stand you apart from your competition. Ensure you are professional in every way, the days of standing the wrong side of the bar with friends are numbered if you want to drink with your friends do it in another pub! And ensure your pub is clean!
Ensure you provide what your customers want, and listen to them. Keep trying new ideas to develop and drive business, talk to others in the trade and visit competitors. There is a great report provided by Lester Pyatt which makes really interesting reading and will, if acted upon, proivide a solid base for growth. No media download found.
Invest in Staff
Your most important assets are your staff. Keep them motivated by competition, rewards, personal development, exams, promotion. They are the face of your business and have to breathe your ethos and feel valued to ensure peak performance. See these top tips on retaining staff click here
Rates & Utilities
Ensure you are not on emergency utility rates from day one of occupation and continually review the costs whenever your contract is up for renewal. Review your rateable value when ever there is a change of material change of circumstance, eg new pub or refurbished competition or factory closure. Remember many pub companies will have specialist firms who deal with rates as part of your service charge - DO NOT USE NO WIN NO FEE RATE SPECIALISTS many are not chartered surveyors and are just cow boys. Also if your RV is below £15K you may be eligible for further relief which you have to apply for. For useful information click here
Pubs which have land available for camping and caravans can benefit from a number of websites which promote the availability. Just google Pubs with caravan pitches and you can enter your details. Such an option can provide you with extra dwell time and captured trade, and many pubs offer pitches for free if a meal is taken at the pub. You can find out some useful information about setting up a caravan and camping site at this LINK
There is a wealth of free information available from the Publican's Morning Advertiser, Propel Info and Pub and Bar magazine. You can have daily e-mails or simply dip into the websites for useful insights and changes in legislation pertinent to the leisure industry. Click the name of the magazine to go to the website.