Punch Taverns is ramping up support for new licensees in an attempt to reduce the number of business failures in the first year of business.
Business relationship managers (BRMs) are being asked to double the number of calls they make on licensees, with a new monthly call-cycle being brought in.
Punch has also produced a "Punch Pub Pack" to guide licensees through the first year in business.
The failure rate is not as good as we want it to beKevin GeaorgelPunch Taverns
Punch field operations director Kevin Georgel said Punch was trying to "de-risk" the first six to 12 months for licensees, focusing BRMs on the support needed by new arrivals.
He admitted that the company's failure rate was "not as good as we want it to be" and this was a move to "introduce much more rigour" in BRM support.
The increased support for new arrivals is also being applied to licensees taking pubs on assignment. Punch's renewed focus on its new arrivals has come about, in part, as a result from licensees at its retailer forums.
Punch introduced compulsory management accounts for new licensees, provided by Milestone or a recognised accountant, around 18 months ago.
This stops short of the Greene King approach - open-book accounting - although Punch does receive traffic light reports in situations where licensees are suffering cash-flow issues.
Director of customer services Francis Patton said open-book accounting was "against the principles of the Punch business model", which believed in entrepreneurial freedom with excessive intrusion from the pubco.
He did admit, though, that a forthcoming meeting with Milestone would be looking at the benefits of compulsory stock-takes in the first year.
Punch has also introduced a cooling-off period of three months for new licensees, which allows those who believe they have made a mistake to leave.
New food executivesPunch Taverns is increasing the number of food executives it employs to help licensees boost food trade from four to eight.
The company appointed its first four a year ago, with a number moving across from the Spirit managed business as it reduced in size.
The first four food executives adopted 150 tenanted businesses with particular potential for increasing food sales, a project that has been successful.
The employment of eight food executives represents a large increases in resources given that just a few years ago Punch employed a single person, Steve Shaffer, to help tenants with their food offer.