We think the best pubs of all are those that are run by owner-operators, so we try to keep as close to that principle as we can.
Our pubs are run as free houses, owned by their managers, and our head office functions as a service to support them. What this means in practice is that the pubs choose their own staff, they write their own menus, choose their own beers and wines line-ups and how much to sell them for, and generally operate autonomously, with guidance and advice from the centre to keep everything on track. In truth, they get all the fun bits of running a pub, and the office does the boring bits.
To help them in running their businesses, managers are assisted by deputy and assistant managers, and head and second chefs also have significant management responsibilities. All of the senior crew in a pub are paid a cut of their pub's profit each month, so they receive an immediate reward for their performance, as you would if it was your own business - so after a hectic Christmas when people have worked their socks off, they receive a decent profit-share which directly reflects their efforts.
From our offices in Chester and Milford, Godalming, we provide a range of services which the pubs draw on – accounting and payroll, stocktaking, compliance, human resource management and property management as well as IT support. We provide detailed, up-to-date management information and keep an eye out for things going off track, and can step in if there is a problem: the pubs can ask us about any aspect of their business and we can offer advice based on long experience.
As a company we have to know the market place, understand who our customers are and what they want, and we need to ensure the whole company is underpinned by sound financial practices - this is the support structure the head office crew are able to provide.