There’s much more to running a pub than just pouring pints. It’s about creating a community and keeping your punters happy, all while managing operations behind the scenes. But there’s plenty to sort before you get to that stage. Here’s a starter’s guide to opening your own pub.

Understand the market

Before diving in at the deep end, it’s crucial to understand the pub business. There are over 46,000 pubs in the UK but each village, town and city has a unique market. Locals tend to be very protective of their pubs and new competition isn’t always welcomed into the community with open arms.

Decide on the type of pub you want to run and the type of customer you want to attract. For example, the typical person drinking in a traditional ale house is likely to be very different to that of a gastropub. Understand the various customer segments to provide exactly what your target market is looking for.

Secure the right location

Location is vital in the pub industry. Areas with high footfall or neighbourhoods with few competing pubs are ideal. The consequences of choosing the wrong location can be devastating for your plans.

Consider factors like visibility, accessibility and the potential for passing trade. But don’t forget the size of the property and whether it has enough space for your ambitions. Dining areas, bars and outdoor seating could be features of your long-term vision.

Obtain necessary licences and permits

There are strict alcohol licensing rules in the UK which must be adhered to. Your pub will need a premises licence from the local council before it can sell alcohol. This licence also requires you to specify a designated premises supervisor (DPS) who holds a personal licence, which could be yourself.

Depending on your plans, you may also need to comply with local planning permission laws, health and safety regulations, and food hygiene standards if you’re serving food. Taking precautions such as looking into pub insurance may also help to give you some financial and legal protection as your business grows.

Hire the right staff

Staff can make or break a pub. To ensure yours is a success, try to hire individuals who not only are skilled but also share your vision and tastes. Invest in training to enhance their service skills and the customer experience. Your venture should run a lot more smoothly with the right team by your side.

Market your pub effectively

To get customers through the door early on, you’ll need to attract some attention and increase your pub’s visibility. Traditional methods of promotion, such as local newspaper ads and flyers, work well in smaller communities. However, you shouldn’t overlook the power of digital marketing.

A strong social media presence, a user-friendly website and some friendly engagement with local online communities can be very effective. Hosting events, live music or quiz nights can also draw in crowds and build your reputation.