29 year old “Young Franchisee of the Year” 2014, Aaron Stewart successfully runs three franchise sites; the Fairways in Sheffield, the Rufford in Mansfield and the Goodfellowship in Hull.
Aaron’s hard work and determination saw him rise to management level in the pub sector at the age of 20. After a successful career managing pubs, he decided to open his first franchise, partnering with Marston’s pub.
Aaron explained more about his experience as a Marston’s Franchisee.
What is the training package like with Marston’s?
‘The training is immense and it’s all free.
You go on a four week training programme in Burton where you meet IT, Recruitment and Business Development managers. The support is ongoing, so if for example you need a new team trained, you can contact Marston’s and the training team will come down to deliver it. Even if you think, “wait a minute I’m not sure about this part”, you can go back to Burton and get retrained.’
What sort of hours do you work and what is your workload like?
‘To begin with, 50 – 60 hours a week to get the first business into a good condition. Then, we looked into buying our second pub and hired someone to manage the first. We moved in above the second pub and started again, getting the pub to standard and the service level right.
We then found our third pub, hired a manager for the second pub and moved in above the third.’
Have the number of hours and type of work changed over time?
‘We’ve now hired a manager for our third pub, so have someone at each of our venues. The working week has been reduced to 35 – 40 hours per week. We have a head office above the third pub too, where we oversee the operations.’
Do you find the Franchise Agreement quite flexible?
‘It’s good, as long as you stick to the standards. Working in the pub trade means that no day is the same, if we are working compliantly and we are generating an income, then both parties win.’
What skills do you need to become a franchisee?
‘Passion, drive and the ambition to succeed.
You don’t need to know how to run a pub, Marston’s will give you all the tools you need. But a business mind is important.
Creativity is also important. We’ve been given a working business and we run it like a Marston’s pub because that’s how it needs to be run to be success.
But we also give Marston’s ideas to think about and they will give you the go ahead, if it means profit for both partners. They even come to us and ask our opinions on new ideas, so they’re learning as much from us as we are from them.’
What advice would you give to someone looking into franchising?
‘Find the right franchise for you. If you’ve got an idea just go for it. Don’t divert from those ideas.’franchise, martson's, work flexibly