One for the road

Related tags Business development manager Business development

Who'd be a business development manager? They clock up more miles in a month than most drivers do in a year and are often criticised for not doing...

Who'd be a business development manager? They clock up more miles in a month than most drivers do in a year and are often criticised for not doing enough to help the pubs in their care. Graham Ridout spent a day with BDM Tim Tempest then, two months later, checked with the licensees they'd visited to see if all their problems had been resolved

In little over 18 months, Tim Tempest's BMW estate car has clocked up over 69,000 miles visiting the 43 pubs under his control as a BDM with London brewer and pubco Fuller's. He normally leaves home in Tonbridge, Kent by 6.30am and often doesn't return until late, burdened with reports of visits that then have to be entered into his laptop. It is a tiring job, battling with motorway traffic, then trying to find a place in a car park or a meter because a lot of his pubs are in town centres and have no off-street parking.

On occasions, he heads first to Fuller's Chiswick brewery to pick up a barrel for one of his licensees who has run out of beer. "Three's the most I can get in the car," he says of his job as a stand-in drayman.

That aside, Tempest describes his real job as being a "talking newspaper, collecting ideas and disseminating them around my patch", which includes Sussex, Surrey, Hampshire and Wiltshire.

He adds: "What I look for from licensees is a positive mental attitude, where we can come up with solutions for them." This can mean anything from running promotions and staging special events to simpler things, such as arranging the supply of branded glassware and T-shirts.

Many of his licensees are experienced, though unlikely to have 31 years under their belt like Tempest. Nonetheless, they still receive a visit once every six weeks, which lasts around an hour. Newcomers can expect a knock on the door every week until they find their feet and understand Fuller's way of operating. Every visit is logged via a report form detailing what action needs to be taken by either party, which is reviewed at the next meeting. "That way, everyone knows what is expected from them and it doesn't allow problems to drag on," Tempest explains.

He says: "With Fuller's, there is a much higher level of contact with tenants than with many pubcos. You can build much closer relationships with tenants if you are looking after 43 pubs. Most pubco BDMs have 60 or more to look after."

A lot of his time at present is spent guiding licensees through their applications for the new premises and designated supervisor licences demanded by the Licensing Act. "It is particularly important that nobody feels they are on their own," he says.

Fuller's is employing solicitors Poppleston Allen to advise on the transition and multi-question forms have been prepared to try and ensure there are no hitches.

Tempest's task is to help licensees accurately identify what best suits their business whether it is on trading hours, entertainment, special events, even down to seemingly innocuous items such as meticulously describing the type of pub so that it doesn't fall foul of any whim of the local authority. "We can advise them, but in the end, it is their business and their decision," he says.

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