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A job in the pub industry should be for life….

by admin 1/25/2016 3:51:00 PM

Suzanne Smith, Head of Recruitment and People Development at Admiral Taverns

The struggle to recruit and retain good people in the British Hospitality Industry is an all too familiar headline. In their October 2015 report, People 1st estimated that labour turnover costs the industry £274m annually with 870,000 of the 993,000 staff the sector needs by 2022 being required to replace existing staff. Whilst the pub sector is rightly seen by potential employees as great source of ‘holiday’ or flexible bar work, frustratingly it is not front of mind for the varied and dynamic long term career pathways that it can offer.

For tenanted pub operators, the challenges around recruitment and retention are particularly complex. For one thing, our managed house counterparts, restaurant chains and hotels invariably have the advertising power of well recognised consumer brands on their side when recruiting new talent. When it comes to the more pressing issue of talent retention, whilst those of us who have worked in the tenanted pub industry will be well aware of its entrepreneurial and community spirit and the long term careers it affords, as operators we must do more to shine a light on the great opportunities that exist, not only for potential licensees looking into our industry, but for those looking to work their way up the career ladder as part of a supportive pub co team.

The ALMR awards in December shone a much needed spotlight on the talent that exists across our industry and at Admiral, we were absolutely delighted to have our own Caren Geering awarded Business Development Manager of The Year. The relationships our talented BDM’s have with our licensees are absolutely critical, empowering them to run “their pub, their way”, at the heart of their local communities and as an industry we cannot afford for would be BDMs of the future to overlook the great opportunities’ a career in this role can offer.

Evidence shows that high labour turnover creates a diversion for operators from investing in training and development. With retention of great people being the biggest challenge for the pub sector, at Admiral, our approach has been to break down the traditional silos that exist between licensee and pub co. We work towards a ‘one team’ ethos, enfranchising our people and encouraging them to see the big picture of what they are working together to achieve operationally and, in turn, the long term career paths available.

 The British pub industry is a truly nationwide and community employer and if we are to stem the flow of good talent out our door then we have to make clear to our potential workforce that we are truly committed to developing our people and supporting in a long term career. After all a job in the pub industry should be for life – not just for the Christmas holidays.


Admiral Taverns Appoints Andy Hodgson To Operations Director

by admin 1/19/2016 3:48:00 PM

Admiral Taverns, the UK’s number one community pub group, is delighted to announce the appointment of Andy Hodgson to Operations Director with immediate effect.

In his new role, Andy will be taking over the leadership of all the Operations teams across the business, reporting in to Chief Executive, Kevin Georgel. Formerly Regional Operations Director for the Northern Region, Andy has worked for the Group for over five years in senior operations roles, having joined in 2010 from Punch Taverns.

Commenting on the appointment, Kevin Georgel, Chief Executive of Admiral Taverns said:“Andy is a highly respected member of the operational team with many years’ experience in our industry and on behalf of all of us at Admiral Taverns I would like to congratulate him on his new role.

The last six years marks a transformational period for Admiral. Andy’s appointment reflects the changing shape of our business as we continue to make good progress against our strategy to develop and maintain a sustainable, well invested estate of freehold pubs at the heart of their local communities.”



Caren Geering Wins ALMR Business Development Manager of The Year Award 2015

by admin 12/18/2015 11:43:00 AM

Admiral Taverns, the UK’s number one community pub group, is delighted to announce that Caren Geering, the Business Development Manager (BDM) for South Wales, has won the ALMR Business Development Manager of the Year Award at the 2015 ALMR Operations Manager Awards.

Caren works with and supports pubs and their licensees in the South Wales region for the Group, including Cardiff, Newport and Swansea, and has been instrumental to our business and its development in the region since she joined over three years ago.

Commenting on the award, Kevin Georgel, CEO of Admiral Taverns said: 

“The ALMR Awards shine a spotlight on this talented level of management and we are delighted that Caren’s hard work, dedication and commitment has been recognised externally with this important accolade.  

At Admiral Taverns, the strength of the relationships that our talented BDM’s have with our licensees underpins our proven strategy of empowering licensees to run their pub their way at the heart of their local communities. Caren’s experience in trade and ‘can do’ approach is invaluable in ensuring that the licensees she works with have the full support they need to run successful businesses and on behalf of all of us at Admiral Taverns I would like to congratulate her on this achievement."


Admiral Taverns completes business turnaround, delivering absolute growth for the first time in eight years

by admin 12/7/2015 4:32:00 PM

Admiral Taverns, the UK’s number one community pub group, is delighted to announce strong results for the 52 weeks ending 30 May 2015 (“the period”), delivering absolute growth in turnover, operating profit and EBITDA for the first time in eight years. 

Key Highlights

•Turnover up 2.2% to £78.4m (2014: £76.7m) 

•Operating profit up 82.4% to £24.9m (2014: £13.6m) 

•Underlying EBITDA up 5.3% to £24.9m (£23.6m)

•Underlying profit after tax up by 13.7% to £11.6m (2014: £10.2m)

•Like for like income and EBITDA both up 1.9% 

•EBITDA per pub up 9% 

•Acquisition and successful integration of 111 pubs from Heineken UK

•Successful launch of new Business Support Agreement and Advanced Business Development Programme to support licensees

Kevin Georgel, CEO of Admiral Taverns commented: 

“The last six years marks a transformational period for Admiral Taverns. Following a restructuring of the businesses in 2009, the Group’s management team was strengthened and a new strategy outlined to develop and maintain a sustainable, well invested estate of freehold pubs at the heart of their local communities. 

I am delighted to report that in the year to 30 May 2015 the Group delivered absolute growth in Turnover, Operating Profit and EBITDA for the first time in eight years and I would like to thank all our team and our licensees for their hard work and dedication. This demonstrates a very strong performance in what remains a challenging market place. Our strategy has remained unapologetically consistent and, despite the challenges presented to the industry by impending Government legislation, we remain passionately committed to being the best operator of wet-led community pubs in the sector.”


The Group’s strong performance over the period has been driven by a continued focus on our core three business objectives: 1) improving the operational performance from our core estate of pubs; 2) select disposal of unsustainable pubs (these being unsustainable for both the pub company and licensee); and 3) to build and develop a team and organisation to deliver strategic growth opportunities. 

1.Strong operational performance across the estate

All of our pubs and the licensees that run them are unique. This is why our approach is tailored to the needs of each individual business and aims to successfully maximise the potential of every pub as well as work with and develop talented people and invest in and support our pub businesses. 

We delivered a strong performance across the estate, with like for like income growth and EBITDA growth both up 1.9% respectively. EBITDA per pub increased by 9% for the period. This reflects the continued operational improvements being made across our pubs and the overall improvement of our estate.  Over recent years we have tripled the amount of money invested in our estate and this evidences not only our commitment to our licensees in supporting them to develop their businesses but also to ensuring the long term quality of our estate. 

During the period we continued to develop the support and training programmes we offer our licensees. Highlights for the year included the launch of the Group’s new Business Support Agreement (“BSA”) which evolves the way we work with our new licensees, providing them with bespoke training programmes, access to business insights from a range of industry experts and an unrivalled opportunity to work more closely with them on the financial management and planning elements of their business. The BSA is designed to be a gateway agreement, helping new licensees through the very critical time when they first take over a pub and providing extra support in crucial areas. 

July also saw the unveiling of our Advanced Business Development Programme (“ABDP”) targeting our leading licensees who are typically at least 12 – 18 months into their relationship with us. The ABDP is designed to address the challenge of how successful licensees unlock further sale or profit growth from their business.  

The success of our approach is underpinned by the strength of the people we have within our business and their ‘can do’ approach. Over the course of the year we invested heavily in training and development to ensure all our people can perform to the very best of their ability, supporting Admiral Taverns as the business continues to grow. 

2.Select disposal of unsustainable pubs 

The disposal programme, put in place as part of our turnaround strategy five years ago, is now drawing to a natural conclusion and we would anticipate it will be completed in the new financial year. On completion we will have an estate of 858 core pubs representing a 12% increase in our core estate since the previous year end, providing an excellent platform for long term growth. 

3.Build and develop a team and organisation to deliver strategic growth opportunities. 

During the course of the year we were pleased to announce the acquisition of 111 pubs from Heineken UK (“HUK”) from its Star Pubs & Bars business. These high quality pubs are a great addition to the Admiral estate, demonstrating our commitment to developing our business further and reinforcing our position as the country’s leading community pub group. 

We are delighted with the progress that has been made with these pubs since the acquisition. The initial integration was completed smoothly with every pub and licensee receiving a handover visit. We are confident that Admiral can help these licensees to maximise the potential of their business and we are encouraged by the opportunities we have already found to enhance the performance of the pubs. We expect to invest around £2m of capital expenditure in these properties during the first eighteen months of ownership and have already seen some excellent results of the joint investments made with our licensees. 


This positive momentum has continued into the current financial year and trading since the year end has been strong and in line with expectations with like for like income for the 22 weeks to 31 October 2015 up 1.8%. Our pubs are at the heart of their local communities and have continued to benefit from strong levels of customer loyalty over the summer months and into the autumn, with their performances being remarkably resilient. 

Overall Admiral Taverns is in excellent health and we look forward to 2016 with confidence.


007 visits pub, leaving landlord shaken and stirred

by admin 10/28/2015 3:58:00 PM

Diners at a pub restaurant have been left stunned after a former James Bond actor turned up for lunch.

Sir Roger Moore dropped in for a bite to eat at the Dog and Partridge, in Marchington, just days before the new film Spectre went on national release in cinemas.

Moore was on the way to Nottingham as part of his ongoing tour 'An Evening with Sir Roger Moore'. The surprise visit left landlord Paul Needham, fellow staff, and visitors feeling slightly star struck.

Roger Moore starred in the famous film series from 1973 and 1985. He will be best remembered for The Man with the Golden Gun and Live and Let Die.


David Cameron takes Chinese president to the pub

by admin 10/27/2015 3:56:00 PM

A Buckingham licensee has said he must run the ‘most famous pub in the world’ after welcoming David Cameron and the Chinese president for a pint and traditional meal of fish and chips.

Steve Hollings welcomed the Prime Minister – who visits ‘often’ – and Xi Jinping to The Plough in Cadsden, which is local to the PM’s country residence, Chequers.

Hollings said: “The president was a true gentleman. We had a bit of a giggle, spoke about China and told a few stories. David Cameron’s favourite drink is Green King IPA, so they both drank one with a small portion of fish and chips. The president thoroughly enjoyed it.”


This is not the first time a pub has catered for a president, as in January 2014 David Cameron took French president Francois Hollande to The Swan Inn, in his Oxfordshire constituency – Witney.


Call for an end to 24-hour licensing

by admin 10/27/2015 3:53:00 PM

Staff from across all three emergency services have attacked so-called 24-hour licensing, calling for a return to old pub licensing hours, amid increasing concerns about the “huge strain” alcohol is putting on police, ambulance staff and firefighters.

Later opening hours have put particular pressure on police officers, according to a report from the Institute of Alcohol Studies, with many saying they routinely face physical, sexual and verbal abuse when dealing with drinkers.

Pubs, bars, clubs and supermarkets were given permission to apply for longer opening licenses 10 years ago by Tony Blair’s Labour government.


However, leading figures in the trade have hit back at the criticism, with British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) chief executive Brigid Simmons arguing 24-hour-drinking was a “myth”. She said that average pub closing times were now just 30 minutes later as a result of the Licensing Act 2003, than they were under the previous law.


Durham is top Pubwatch after alcohol-related incidents drop 15%

by admin 10/24/2015 3:52:00 PM

Durham Pubwatch has collected the National Pubwatch Award after helping reduce alcohol-related anti-social behaviour in the city by 15%.

The Durham branch gained glowing endorsements from police for promoting its Best Bar None award scheme, which encourages responsible management. It helped train licensees, bar staff, and door staff to clampdown on violent and disorderly incidents.

Andy Hughes, chairman of Durham Pubwatch, said: “It’s a real team effort from all of the licensees and it’s great for us to be recognised for the work we put into improving all aspects of the night time economy.

“Pubwatch allows licenced premises to make a real improvement to the safety and enjoyment of staff and customers, improving footfall and business for everyone, whilst lessening the demand for already stretched emergency services.” 


The Butchers Arms announced as Michelin Pub of the Year

by admin 10/23/2015 3:51:00 PM

The Butchers Arms in Eldersfield, Gloucestershire, has been announced as Michelin Pub of the Year 2016.

The red-brick pub was selected from nearly 600 food pubs across the UK and Ireland. Dating back to the 16th century, the pub is run by James and Elizabeth Winter, who live above the site with their three children.

Rebecca Burr, editor of the guide, said: “When they started out, James and Elizabeth’s aim was to open a ‘real’ country pub: a laid-back home-from-home where the locals could come to meet after work and have a good meal – and despite their runaway culinary success, that’s exactly the way it has stayed. The atmosphere is relaxed and friendly and Elizabeth and her sister Louisa are natural hostesses, who welcome one and all.”


Mandatory nutrition labelling on pub menus

by admin 10/22/2015 3:50:00 PM

The Government should make nutritional information on pub menus mandatory to help combat the UK’s growing obesity crisis, the Soil Association has urged.

It says detailed nutritional information – and not just the calorific content of food – should be standard practice on menus across the eating out sector.

Joanna Lewis, strategy and policy director at the Soil Association, said pubs and restaurants should make it easier for customers to see the healthy options on menus. She also called for a traffic light system on menus, which would help parents choose what is good for their children.