A top Manchester licensee is celebrating clocking up an incredible 20 years at the helm.
While former DJ Simon Delaney attributes his two-decade tenure at The Firbank in Wythenshawe to a number of factors, his business partners Admiral Taverns, the company that owns the pub, say it is his focus on marketing that sets him apart.
Neil Rhymes from Admiral, an award-wining community pub group that lets the pub to Simon, said: “Simon is a fabulous licensee – a one-off. There are many reasons why he’s been so successful, but first and foremost he is an enthusiastic and energetic licensee who is always shouting about what’s happening at the pub, or planning the next event, or thinking about what he can do to make The Firbank stand out.”
Simon, who first took the keys to the pub in 1995, has managed to successfully position The Firbank as both a city centre-style venue and a community-based local. He cares passionately about the community and always ensures that he is involving those in the local area with his community-building events – some of these include pensioner lunches, poker evenings, live music gigs and karaoke nights. Simon also provides taxi stewards in partnership with a local taxi firm.
The leading licensee is a prominent technology-enthusiast, too, and understands the importance of being on top of modern technology trends. He has recently adopted the app, ‘Orderella’, which allows customers to order drinks directly from their smart phones. Simon also has a strong social media presence, which includes a five-star rating on tourism review website, Trip Advisor – with one recent review describing The Firbank as ‘the friendliest local pub’.
To mark the 20-year milestone Simon planned a comedy night, plus a party with the locals and regular customers.
Simon Delay, Licensee at the Firbank
Planning the next 20 years
Despite the achievement Simon insists he has no plans to slow down, and is planning a business-expanding investment. He is currently in discussions with Admiral for the Wythenshawe-based venue to undergo building works this year that will create a new kitchen and enable Simon to launch a comprehensive food offer.
The plans include a new name – ‘The Firbank Pub & Kitchen’ – and a diverse menu, involving speciality homemade burgers, bar snacks and breakfast. At the same time the pub’s drinks range will also be extended to include cask ale, and a new website will be launched, too.
Rather than looking back, Simon says he is focused on what lies ahead for him and his pub. “It’s great to celebrate 20 years, and I genuinely love the pub and our customers, but what really excites me is the future – here’s to the next 20 years!”
Rhymes, who in his role as business development manager for Admiral, works closely with the Wythenshawe publican, added: “Simon’s approach is one of the fundamental reasons as to why he runs The Firbank so well. He knows the pub trade inside out and has a real awareness about what his customers want - these are very important attributes for a successful licensee.
“It’s all about the ‘offer’ – to run a quality pub you’ve got to have the whole package, from genuine passion to intense ambition, and Simon does, which is why he has enjoyed such a successful 20 years in this competitive industry.”