M&C Report talks to Fuller’s chief executive Simon Emeny about the trading environment, training, coffee, complimentary businesses and the pub code.

New appointment

Earlier today, the group announced that with the ever increasing amount of government intervention in the sector, it has decided to put more resource behind its corporate affairs.

It said: “Therefore, after more than 20 years running one of the industry’s most successful sales forces, Richard Fuller will be taking up a new position of corporate affairs director.”

Emeny said: “This has been planned for quite some time. Mike Clist, who will retire next year, has done an outstanding job for the industry. There is no better person in the company than Richard to take on Mike’s responsibilities. He is very well respect out in the business and in political circles.”

Pub code

On this week’s vote on the pub code, Emeny said: “It is not going to directly impact us, but I think it is terribly misguided. I think ultimately it will end up penalising the very people some MPs think it is going to help. I do really fear for what it will do for many community pubs in the long term.

Trading

Emeny said: “50% of our estate is inside London and 50% outside, and the performance of the business has been fairly consistent across all of the estate. It was a very nice early summer, August was damp, but September and October were good.”

The Stable

Emeny said: “Twenty years ago we developed the highly successful Ale & Pie concept and we believe The Stable is the opportunity to do something similar – this time with cider and pizza.

“It is an embryonic business and we have invested in it at just the right time for us. We are close to finalising terms on four new sites which will open in the next 12 months. These are all in character- properties and in university towns and cities.” M&C Report believes Cardiff and Southampton are two of the four locations the group is lining up.

Complimentary businesses

Emeny said: “The investments we have already made – Cornish Orchard, Sierra Nevada and The Stable – broadens the portfolio activities we have got and lets us spread are geographical reach further into the south and south west. I think the development plans we have with all three make it an exciting time for the business. They give us an extra growth engine.

“We have more than enough things to work on at the moment rather than explore other opportunities at present.”

Coffee learnings

Earlier this year, the group opened a coffee shop, The Fields, in an empty property next to the Plough in Ealing. Emeny said: “We are sell just over 1.25 million cups of coffee a year now and we needed a centre of excellence to train our staff and The Fields will do that for us.”

Training

Emeny said that the recruitment, training and development of its people continues to take centre stage for front of house, management and kitchen staff. He said: “During the period, we launched a new recruitment portal, which has already resulted in 8,000 completed applications and the hiring of 840 new team members. Once we have recruited the right people, we train and encourage them to deliver the service culture that is essential to our business success and then we recognise and reward accordingly.”