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Public house managers are responsible for overseeing the running and profitability of pubs and for managing their employees.

Potential employees must be confident and reliable and have good interpersonal and organisational skills.

What does a pub manager do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Specific duties and the amount of customer and staff contact vary according to the size and type of pub: managers of larger establishments may not be greatly involved in the front-of-house work, whereas managers of smaller public houses often have frequent contact with both customers and employees.

Typical responsibilities include:

  • recruiting, training and supervising staff
  • managing budgets
  • maintaining statistical and financial records
  • planning and problem solving
  • promoting and marketing the business
  • ensuring compliance with health and safety legislation and licensing laws
  • serving customers
  • placing orders
  • stock-taking and re-stocking
  • handling administration and paperwork
  • organising and promoting social events such as quizzes, karaoke evenings, live music and live comedy
  • liaising with customers, employees, suppliers, licensing authorities, sales representatives and the police
  • marketing products
  • making improvements to the running of the business
  • setting targets and maximising profitability.

Typical employers of pub managers

  • Independent pub companies
  • Small local breweries
  • Regional brewers
  • National and multinational breweries

Some landlords may also be successful enough to set up shop as a free house (a pub that is owned independently of the breweries that supply it), though this requires particularly careful management.

Vacancies are advertised via the internet, by recruitment agencies, in newspapers and in publications such as The Caterer and The Morning Advertiser.

Several of the larger breweries operate accelerated graduate management schemes that combine vocational managerial experience and the opportunity to gain relevant examinations. Networking and speculative approaches to employers are advisable.

Pub managers typically work long hours. Salaries are likely to range from around £25,000 to £37,000, and there may be benefits such as subsidised accommodation. Those working in larger pubs may be supported by an assistant pub manager.

Qualifications and training required

There is no standard formal requirement for pub managers to have a degree, though you will only be eligible to apply for the graduate programmes run by the larger breweries if you have been to university. A degree or HND in a subject such as business, marketing, management, hospitality management, or hotel and catering may be beneficial. A small number of universities offer specialist licensed retail management qualifications.

All premises licensed to sell alcohol must have a designated premises supervisor who holds a personal licence to sell alcohol. You may be able to take the accredited qualification you will need in order to obtain a licence during your initial training once you have started work. Alternatively, you can arrange to take the qualification yourself before finding a suitable role. You can find a list of accredited training providers on the GOV.UK website.

Retail, customer service, supervisory and bar work experience is advantageous.

Key skills for pub managers

  • confidence
  • reliability
  • resilience
  • excellent interpersonal skills
  • communication skills
  • leadership skills
  • organisational skills
  • IT skills.

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