Abbey National pulls in the pub business

Despite the increasing popularity of the takeaway and six-pack, the British are still queuing up for a pub-pulled pint, according to figures released by Abbey National business.

The bank has seen a 45 per cent leap in people taking out mortgages for public houses over the last six months.1

The increase in leisure time and a greater range of entertainment facilities and activities at pubs have boosted the numbers of prospective publicans.

Abbey National business&#39 commercial mortgages offer a competitive deal, including a flexible mortgage option, which allows landlords&#39 seasonal revenue to match repayments.

Owning a pub can be an appealing prospect, as it is a lucrative business that allows you to be your own manager. However, the art of running a successful pub starts well before the first pint is pulled as there are a number of legal and regulatory to consider before the doors can be opened:

• Requirements for running a pub include relevant training or experience. The structure of qualifications at the point of entry is now well established. Appropriate NVQs and the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) certificate are now recognised qualifications.

• A Basic Food Hygiene Certificate is the minimum requirement for anyone involved in preparing and serving food.

• Appropriate premises must be chosen, and Health and Safety regulations adhered to.

• Protecting the business from the risk of fire is essential for safely running a pub. Licensees&#39 legal obligations are imposed under the Fire and Precautions Regulations 1997.

Potential publicans should also look at the type of pub they would like to manage. Finding suitable premises is the first step to creating a successful business, but other essential resources are also required:

• Understand your local market and the needs of your potential customers. Is there high demand for a themed pub, nightly entertainment or a pub restaurant?

• Planning is vital and a well-researched business plan will be required.

• Nine out of ten pubs serve food, so adding a kitchen is an important consideration.

• Equipping a pub kitchen is a major expenditure. It is crucial that the equipment bought can do the job required and has adequate service cover.

• A finance system is needed that is capable of more than just recording figures in ledgers. Accounts software, business management systems and tailored systems all contribute to the smooth running of a business.

• Keeping a tight rein on cashflow is necessary as good money management is fundamental to the success of your pub.

Gary Hockey-Morley, director, Abbey National business, says: “We have a wealth of experience in lending to people wishing to set up a pub — as our lending figures prove. Running your own pub can be very rewarding, allowing you to take charge of your future.

“However, we would encourage people to carefully plan before taking the plunge, as managing a business is a challenging prospect.

“The most successful pubs are those that have a robust business plan and a clear understanding of their market place.”