Creating a proper family pub needs a real family, who understand what families want, to be involved from the outset.
Franchising the Family Way
This is the strategy used by new franchisees Andrew and Lorraine Fuller in their Marston’s pub where three generations of the family have pooled their talents, knowledge and resources to create the warm and inviting atmosphere of a true ‘community local’.
Lorraine and Andrew involved Andrew’s parents, Tricia and Tony, who have several decades’ experience of running large family pubs in the countryside, whilst drafting in their son Kieron, daughter Sian and her fiancé Joe to contribute in different ways to the day to day running of the pub.
“Franchising was the best option for us in many ways and so much better than trying to do it all alone. The investment, training and support we have had from Marston’s has been fantastic.”
After 27 rewarding years in the Royal Artillery, Captain Andrew Fuller applied for early redundancy so he could realise his lifetime ambition to have a pub of his own. As the son of a publican, he lived and worked in pubs all his life until he joined the Army. His inside knowledge of the trade, combined with Lorraine’s experience in catering and hospitality, would make a powerful team to run a pub business.
Andrew rose rapidly through the ranks while he served all over the world and thoroughly enjoyed his time in the Forces. But the redundancy package offered in the latest strategic defence review was too tempting to resist, particularly as it would provide the finance he and Lorraine would need to achieve their ambition.
Whilst Andrew and Lorraine are Marston’s franchisees, Tony is a useful mentor, assisting and advising when asked to. Tricia is more “front of house” offering advice about décor and presentation as well as how staff should greet customers and look after them. In fact, her opinion is so valued that when she came to the pub for the first time, Andrew asked her to go back to the front door and come in again, then tell him what was wrong. She couldn’t fault a thing.
After running pubs all their married life, Tony and Tricia were approaching retirement when they went to a Marston’s franchising seminar out of curiosity just to see what it was all about. They liked everything about the brand, its look and feel, the support and the financial rewards. Had they been a bit younger, they might well have bought a franchise themselves.Instead, when Andrew and Lorraine started researching pubs and concluded that franchising would be the best way forward for them, Tony recommended they look at Marston’s. They took his advice and decided to find out more.
Andrew said: “Dad was right. Franchising was the best option for us in many ways and so much better than trying to do it all alone. The investment, training and support we have had from Marston’s has been fantastic. Marston’s has given us every encouragement possible and yet we still have plenty of autonomy. I don’t think you could beat the package we have, particularly on the financial side. Marston’s made a heavy investment in refurbishing the pub to a very high standard yet involved us every step of the way, listening to our thoughts and ideas, and briefing us on each aspect including the interior design.”
Lorraine and Andrew took over the Swans pub in Verwood in December 2013, to a “fantastic” reception from the local community. Previously the pub had been what Andrew described as a “sports pub” where people came to watch Sky sport on wide-screen TV and drink beer.Andrew and Lorraine wanted to change the pub so it was inclusive and appealed to a much wider audience. They wanted to attract families, mums and babies, young couples, people in their 30s and over, so they cleverly used social media sites Facebook and Twitter to reach their target customers, generating a great deal of interest and support long before the pub re-opened its doors after the refurbishment.
“People love the new look, with different areas set aside for specific needs and with special facilities to cater for everyone. Our customers also love the fact that we have changed the pub from a rowdy place into a family-friendly one where children are welcomed and provision is made for them. We are already very popular, as we are the only pub like this in the village,” Andrew explained.
“Marston’s is a family focused business with many of our opportunities providing spacious, on-site accommodation as part of the franchise package. The fact that we cover the rent and utility bills is a huge benefit hence our opportunities are a popular choice for families and couples alike.”
Celene Normoyle, Franchise Development Manager, is keen to meet more family-focused people with Lorraine and Andrew’s brand of dynamism and determination for the exciting pub franchise opportunities that Marston’s have available across the country. She comments: “Marston’s is a family focused business with many of our opportunities providing spacious, on-site accommodation as part of the franchise package. The fact that we cover the rent and utility bills is a huge benefit hence our opportunities are a popular choice for families and couples alike”.
A Marston’s Pub franchise costs just £15k with £15k-£20k working capital required. No previous experience of the hospitality or catering sector is required as all aspects of running a pub franchise business are covered by Marston’s comprehensive training and ongoing support programme.franchise, marston's, pub