Running a Successful Pub

Running a successful pub is hard work and takes a lot of time and dedication, but if it is done properly, then it can be both profitable and worthwhile for you as the owner, and you could also be making a vital contribution to the local community in the process.

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Losing the Local

According to the Guardian, there are now fewer than 55,000 pubs in Britain. At the height of the financial crisis in 2009, pubs in Great Britain were closing at a rate of 52 a week. Even now there are at least 30 closing every week for a whole variety of reasons, not least that running a pub is a hard and stressful job. You have to deal with staffing issues, choosing a food or draught soft drinks supplier as well as keeping customers happy. Running an independent pub is even more difficult when there are so many others that are part of large chains offering the same drinks and menu in whichever branch you choose to go in. This provides customers with some consistency, meaning that if you run an independent pub, it is vital to offer customers identifiable points of difference to encourage them to visit your establishment.


The inclusion of pubs in the Good Food Guide demonstrates how important food is becoming to the running of a successful pub, both in terms of financial gain and satisfied customers. One of the reasons that ‘chain’ pubs are so successful is that they are seen to be providing good value for money, so smaller independent pubs need to offer something extra. This could include holding specially themed evenings or specialising in a particular type of cuisine. Pubs, particularly in villages or rural locations, can also be successful by offering a good Sunday lunch. This is often popular with families and can be a great way of introducing people to your pub. Additionally, pubs that can offer both great food and quality accommodation have a really good point of difference from other establishments.


As well as a pub’s food offering, the range of drinks available is also important. Again, for drinks as with food, it is important for smaller independent pubs to have a point of difference. This could include selling speciality beers, ales and ciders, particularly from local breweries. Alternatively, running a pub that has its own micro brewery, enabling you to sell what you brew, is also a great selling point. As well as alcohol, it is also important to sell a good variety of soft drinks such as those available from, meaning that your pub will appeal to a family market as well as those who choose not to drink alcohol.

There are a number of things you have to get right in order to run a successful pub business. In a country where many pubs are either facing closure or becoming part of larger chains, it is vital that there is a place for independent pubs, especially in smaller towns and villages, where they can be the lifeblood of the local community.

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