Publicans/licensees manage licensed premises such as
pubs and bars. Their establishments serve alcoholic and
non-alcoholic drinks, and sometimes food. Entertainment
areas, fruit machines, and accommodation can also be
part of the pub environment.
Organising deliveries and the general running and maintenance of the pub/bar areas are some of the main tasks. Serving customers, closing at the time specified on the premises licence, and being responsible for health and hygiene are all essential duties. Publicans may supervise others to carry out some of these tasks.
Other duties involve stock taking, counting takings, handling wages, and undertaking book-keeping and accounts. In order to maintain the popularity of a pub or bar, it may be necessary to devise new ways of attracting more customers. Building and maintaining relationships with breweries, suppliers, staff, and with customers is also very important.
Publicans/licensees are responsible for enforcing the law regarding the sale of alcohol on licensed premises. All such premises will require a personal licence holder. Licences are valid for 10 years, and applications are made through licensing authorities (units within local district, county and borough councils); see Training section for details. Scotland is governed by different legislation; local licensing boards process licence applications.
If employed by a company or brewery/landlord, it will be necessary to make regular reports regarding sales, orders for new stock and other matters.
Licensees work long hours. The Licensing Act 2003
introduced new laws during 2005, which allow flexible
opening hours for premises - up to 24 hour opening,
seven days a week (subject to objection). This may
impact on the hours and shifts worked by the
publican/licensee and their staff.
Pubs can be very noisy and smoky at busy times. There are long periods of standing and the work may involve lifting and carrying crates, barrels, etc.
Accommodation is usually above the pub, and rent is free, which increases the value of the salary.
As a publican/licensee, you will need:
The pub scene is expanding rapidly. Within large pub or
bar chains, promotion may lead to running larger or
busier pubs, or to area or regional manager posts.
Managers are employees but there is usually a generous
bonus scheme related to the takings of the pub. Free
accommodation and in some cases, food, increase the
value of the salary.
The money-earning and expansion potential may be limited by the rent which is payable to the brewery. Managers have to sell beers produced by their landlord and obtain their agreement before making any changes. However, in contrast, the brewery may help finance improvements.
Freeholders may sell a smaller pub and buy a bigger one or buy an additional pub. They have a free hand in new developments, within the licensing laws, providing they can raise the finance for it.
The main opportunity for increasing earnings (through extra bonuses for managers and increased profits for tenants/freeholders) is by expansion of the trade of the pub. This may be done by improving the facilities, service, and the range of services offered.
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