Why pulling pints is for business whizz-kids

Greene King is seeking graduates to run their pubs in the third year of training

Opening a pub in an economic downturn might seem like a completely crazy idea, but one pub chain is actively seeking new recruits. The national brewer and pub retailer Greene King is offering 50 places on its new graduate training programme this year in an effort to find a fresh generation of pub managers.

The chain – whose brands include Loch Fyne, Hungry Horse, Hardy's House and Old English Inns – is looking for candidates who can run their own venues within the third year of their training. And it's not alone. The 2010 State of the Nation report (which includes the annual labour market review of the leisure and hospitality industry) reports that 45 per cent of leisure sector employers recruited new staff last year, and some employers even reported difficulty in finding suitable applicants for managerial positions.

But what makes a good publican? Nowadays, you're likely to find the modern publican is a savvy marketer, a keen social networker and a business whizz-kid.

Ron and Danielle Oliver are house managers of The Crown Inn in Lymm, Cheshire. They met on a cruise ship (Danielle as a singer and Ron as a cruise director) and both worked as art auctioneers before deciding to run a pub. "We realised the same skills could be applied to running our own pub: managing entertainment departments, sales and customer service skills," says Danielle. The pair completed Greene King's 14-week management training course and began running the Crown at the end of 2008.

One of the main things you need, says Danielle, is to be able to work as a team. "Managing a team of 15 to 20 staff, in addition to job-sharing with your partner, means you have to get on well with everyone." You also need to have excellent customer service skills, which the pair learned "dealing with American customers on the cruise ships".

To be a partnership in the pub trade (as anyone who has seen EastEnders knows), you need to be honest about differences and strengths. So, says Danielle, "Ron manages the logistical aspects of the pub, like cellar management and ordering, while I focus on front-of-house and customer relations."

But running a pub for a large chain doesn't mean you have to relinquish creativity, either. In fact, says Danielle, she is using her imagination as much now as a publican as she used to when she worked as an entertainer on the cruise ships. "It's challenging coming up with innovative ways to attract customers," she says, "such as having piano performances and gigs."

There are social benefits, just as there are in Albert Square's social hub, the good old Queen Vic. "Managing a pub means being a vital part of the community," says Danielle. "We really see ourselves as hosts of a party."

Steve Bryan, who is house manager at the White Hart Hotel in Braintree, Essex, went down the publican route in an offbeat way. When he was made redundant from his job as a sales and marketing director in 2008, his wife persuaded him to apply for the BBC2 show The Restaurant, in which amateurs pit their wits against professional chefs.

Getting to the final four sparked Bryan's desire to work in hospitality, and when he'd completed the show he applied to Greene King to become a house manager, despite not having had any previous hospitality training.

Anyone can become a publican in theory, but you do need to get a National Certificate For Personal Licence Holders, obtained through the British Institute of Innkeepers. Most large pub chains have management training.

Bryan enrolled on a 14-week course with Greene King and was offered a management position at the White Hart. He believes his work in marketing and finance comes into play. "The variety is amazing," he says. "One day, I can be planning local marketing to promote the pub, and the next helping out the staff in the bar.

"There's the challenge of learning so many aspects of the business [his pub is a hotel too, so there are weddings, parties and conferences to host], but seeing the end result of good food and service is very rewarding."



For more information on working for Greene King, visit www.greeneking pubs.co.uk. To explore other innkeeping careers, visit the British Institute of Innkeeping website at www.bii.org

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
Arts and Entertainment
Eminem's daughter Hailie has graduated from high school
music
Arts and Entertainment
Original Netflix series such as Orange Is The New Black are to benefit from a 'substantial' increase in investment
TVHoax announcement had caused outrage
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

News
One Direction star Harry Styles who says he has no plans to follow his pal Cara Delevingne down the catwalk.
peopleManagement confirms rumours singer is going it alone are false
Arts and Entertainment
Curtain calls: Madani Younis
theatreMadani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Arts and Entertainment
'Deep Breath' is Peter Capaldi's first full-length adventure as the twelfth Doctor
TVFirst episode of new series has ended up on the internet
Life and Style
Douglas McMaster says the food industry is ‘traumatised’
food + drinkSilo in Brighton will have just six staple dishes on the menu every day, including one meat option, one fish, one vegan, and one 'wild card'
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
Life and Style
Once a month, waistline watcher Suran steps into a 3D body scanner that maps his body shape and records measurements with pinpoint accuracy
techFrom heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

C# R&D .NET Developer-Algorithms, WCF, WPF, Agile, ASP.NET,MVC

£50000 - £67000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# R&D .NE...

C# Developer (HTML5, JavaScript, ASP.NET, Mathematics, Entity)

£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows, Network Security)

£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows...

First Class Graduate (Computer Science, Economics, Finance)

£23000 per annum: Harrington Starr: First Class Graduate (Computer Science, Ec...

Day In a Page

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?