What is the secret to running a successful pub?

The Hoste in Burnham Market, Norfolk. Rupert Clark managing director of the City Pub Company. Photo:

The Hoste in Burnham Market, Norfolk. Rupert Clark managing director of the City Pub Company. Photo: City Pub Company. - Credit: Archant

The City Pub Company has quickly established a reputation for running some of the best pubs around.

The Hoste in Burnham Market, Norfolk. Photo: City Pub Company.

The Hoste in Burnham Market, Norfolk. Photo: City Pub Company. - Credit: Archant

Since launching in 2011 the firm has grown its portfolio to 46 pubs, including clusters in Norfolk and Cambridge.

From The Hoste in Burnham Market - a huge hotel and spa - to St Andrew's Brew House in the heart of Norwich, the company takes pride in each pub's individuality.

The Hoste in Burnham Market, Norfolk. Photo: City Pub Company.

The Hoste in Burnham Market, Norfolk. Photo: City Pub Company. - Credit: Archant

Managing director Rupert Clark has revealed some of the secrets to the firm's success and how focusing on staff is the key to longevity.

"We have a collection of independent, entrepreneurial pubs which all have their own identity," explained Mr Clark.

The Hoste in Burnham Market, Norfolk. Photo: City Pub Company.

The Hoste in Burnham Market, Norfolk. Photo: City Pub Company. - Credit: Archant


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"When we buy pubs we either refurbish or reposition them - we research what the local community want.

"Before making any big decisions we do our research properly. Rather than rushing into a deal we always take a step back and look at how the pub operates."

The Hoste in Burnham Market, Norfolk. Photo: City Pub Company.

The Hoste in Burnham Market, Norfolk. Photo: City Pub Company. - Credit: Archant

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The managing director also said investing in areas and purchasing groups of pubs close together, rather than simply purchasing pubs at random, was an important ingredient in the success.

Mr Clark added: "We have clusters of pubs in fairly close proximity which allows us to promote from within and gives people the opportunity to try something new."

And while each pub operating under the City Pub banner thrives on its own individual brand there is a common thread throughout - the people.

"Nine out of 10 times if you get the staff right the rest will follow - people are the key", said Mr Clark.

"One of the things we invest a lot of time in is people. Our teams have full autonomy of their pubs."

At each City Pub the management take a share of the profits and staff benefit from weekly bonus schemes.

Every year staff are invited to a huge party in the centre of London, with pubs even closing to allow them to attend, where their hard work and efforts are celebrated.

Mr Clark added: "Communication is really important both way and there are staff representatives reporting to the board.

"We don't always get it right but when we don't, we always review and make sure we do in the future."

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