My daughter and her partner took over the management of a pub last week and the machinations of their installation were quite incredible to observe, as much from a professional perspective as from a parental one. My primary concerns don’t lie with my confidence in their abilities, neither, believe it or not, with the apparent parlous state of the pub industry but with the pub owning companies or corporations who dominate and generally control the industry.
From what I can gather, the minimum qualification and experience required to obtain both a licence and a pub are quite exasperatingly little when considering the nature of pub management. The challenges of this business include keeping abreast of and complying with ever changing and demanding mandatory and or statutory regulations, staff supervision, customer relations, stock management, buildings management and maintenance, etc. Even the smallest of pubs is, in effect, quite a complex small business operating in an extremely challenging environment. Furthermore, the minimalistic requirements appear to be matched by the apparent support provided by the owning organisations. Without the challenges presented by the current economic climate I believe the existing requirements and provision of support in the pub industry are more inclined to contribute to failure than success – in any event.
I recently read the current rate of pub closures is around 25 per week, down form around 40 per week last year when about 13000 jobs were lost due to the closure of around 1300 pubs. This is quite grim reading, especially for those embarking on or contemplating a career in the pub industry. This said, I genuinely believe just about every challenge presents an opportunity – even pub management. It all depends upon appropriate perspective and preparedness which good leadership ensures.