Getting paid to stay in the pub all day may sound like the dream job for lots of people. However, a career as a public house manager is not just about enjoying some quiet moments with a cheeky pint and munching your way through bags and bags of Nobby’s Nuts and Mini Cheddars.
As a public house manager, your core responsibility will be to ensure that the pub is run in a profitable, efficient and customer-friendly manner. Your specific duties will be determined by the type of establishment you manage. For instance, if you work for a chain pub, your responsibilities may deviate from the typical duties of an independent pub manager.
Generally though, you’ll be responsible for the recruitment, training and supervision of staff. You’ll also be coordinating performance management through the implementation of reward and recognition schemes.
One of your primary responsibilities will be to maintain high levels of customer service and build a loyal client base, whilst making sure revenue and profit targets are also achieved.
In addition to your front-of-house tasks, you’ll be in charge of budget control, managing client accounts and planning promotional schemes and marketing events. Furthermore, inventory management, maintenance and the replacement of faulty equipment will fall under your remit.
Finally, you will ultimately be responsible for making sure all activities within your public house comply with health and safety regulations, hygiene standards and laws relating to the sale of alcohol.
Salary & benefits
Trainee public house managers start on annual salaries of around £13,000 to £16,000. However, when you’ve completed your training and become a licensee, your salary may increase to between £17,000 and £30,000.
Experienced personnel moving into area or regional management roles usually earn around £40,000 to £50,000.
Irrespective of whether you’re a self-employed tenant manager or working for a chain, you need to get used to the idea of spending long hours at work. You’ll spend most of the working day on your feet in a crowded and noisy environment where multitasking is the norm.
Most pubs are open throughout the week from noon to midnight and beyond, including bank holidays. While most staff work on a shift basis, as a manager you’ll need to be present at all times to handle emergencies and any other pressing issues.
The main entry-level requirements for public house managers revolve around work experience in the hospitality industry, as no specific academic qualifications are usually required.
Most people gain experience from a relatively early age and gradually work their way up the career ladder. However, for a fast-track route into public house management, you could consider doing a relevant degree or diploma in hospitality management, business studies or hotel management.
Pub management is one of the few professions where a licence is mandatory for employment. The Licensing Act (2003) requires any individual responsible for supplying or selling alcohol to the public to hold a personal licence. This licence is issued by the British Institute of Innkeepers Awarding Body (BIIAB).
Training & progression
Unless you’re working for a large chain, your training is most likely to be ‘on-the-job’, beginning with the basics and progressing to higher levels of responsibility as you gain more experience.
Some national pub chains, however, offer structured graduate training and development schemes, which involve preparation for obtaining a personal licence.
Career progression depends on individual performance, professional qualifications, total work experience, location and the type of employer. Independent pubs may offer limited opportunities for career progression, unless you move to a bigger establishment.
If you work for a large chain, you may eventually progress into a regional or area manager role, where you will be responsible for a range of pubs in a defined geographical area.
Other career options include taking up roles in other areas of hospitality, such as restaurants and hotels. Self-employed tenancy is also a popular option.