Multiple operator Pub Solutions Southwest Ltd hopes to grow its portfolio to 50 after taking on two new sites in a partnership with Enterprise Inns.
Pub Solutions directors Richard Ing and Ian Brierley have added The Duke of York in Exeter, and The White Heather near Bournemouth, to their stable of 42 pubs.
Started as a holding company nine years ago, the Plymouth based management company owns the freehold of three pubs, and also has holdings and tenancy agreements with Punch Taverns and Starr Pubs, which are spread across the South West, Midlands, North West and Wales.
The two new pubs come under Enterprise’s wet-led Beacon concept. They also have six other pubs with Enterprise, making 12 in total, with five on long-term tenancy agreements, and a further three due to become long-term tenancies in the coming months.
Ing, a former operations director at brewer Ushers of Trowbridge, said: “Enterprise is certainly our biggest client at the moment. We could defiantly take on more sites with Enterprise. The Beacon model suits are portfolio quite well, which are usually wet led pubs.”
But he admitted uncertainty over the government guidelines in terms of leasing was putting a brake on their expansion plans.
He said: “A lot of PubCos are going down franchise routes which wouldn’t work for us. We’re hedging our bets. It could be in a year’s time there’s no need for holding companies if it goes down the franchise route. But at the minute we’re happy the way we are and our relationship with Enterprise is very good.”
He added that the key to a successful pub was a good staff, who were easier to recruit.
“We’re a managed operation and they are self-employed and taking money out of the business”, he added. “They take a fee out of the business and they know where they stand, they’ve got no bills to pay. It makes it easier to recruit than a pubco which is looking for large sums of money to go into the pub in the first place.”
Enterprise regional manager Salle Wroblewski said: “Pub Solutions started out very much as a holding company, going into pubs and trading on short-term agreements.
“As times have changed, so have they, and their plan now is to have more sites on substantive agreements and trade the pubs over a longer period, while at the same time attracting the best managers to run them.
“And because Pub Solutions’ area of expertise is wet-led pubs, they’ve embraced our Beacon model, which in turn suits drinks-focused venues.”