A survey of Star Pubs & Bars licensees has revealed they are optimistic about the year ahead in spite of the uncertainty surrounding Brexit and the UK economy.

Sentiments were measured at the pubco’s annual forum in Amsterdam earlier this month, where 40 licensees met to discuss future business. The majority of attendees, 59%, said they felt positive about the next 12 months but raised concerns about inflation and said that support from the pubco to help secure more food discounts could help mitigate this.

Asked about business growth, more than half, 53%, said local community and charity links were important, while a quarter said these links generated business but weren’t core to their growth and 18% wanted to make this part of their business plan.

More millennials and social media

Almost half, 48%, said that developing activities and events to attract Millennials would be key to growth, while 31% identified drinks premiumisation as the main way to boost trade and 27% thought improving their social media would increase footfall and customer spend.

Star Pubs & Bars managing director Lawson Mountstevens said: “The forum is one of the highlights of our year. As a management team we enjoy the chance to spend quality time with Star’s licensees.

“It’s an important opportunity to get feedback about the support we provide and to hear first-hand about the opportunities and issues the pub trade is facing.

“Licensees who attend tell us they find it an inspirational event and love the opportunity to share experiences and ideas with fellow licensees from around the country. It’s encouraging that almost two thirds of our licensees are upbeat about 2018.”