It's not just... lots of graft and sacrifices

By Richard Pope

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Bread

Pope (L): receiving BII award
Pope (L): receiving BII award
BII Licensee of the Year 2010 winner Richard Pope talks about his "Not Just..." way of doing business.

Winning the 2010 BII Licensee of the Year Award felt so good. Like most licensees we have sacrificed a lot, work ridiculous hours in pursuit of our goals at the Bulls Head, and the award seemed like an official approval of our journey.

I wish we could claim that we had the magic formula. If we did, we would be sipping cocktails on a beach in The Bahamas in no time. But it's not like that. Our approach is simply a "way of doing business" used by most successful businesses worldwide. We call it our "Not Just…" strategy.

It means that whatever we do, we try to take it further than our competitors. So it's Not Just… a pub pizza... it's a hand-made, wood-fired oven imported from Italy. It's built into the middle of the pub and designed to look old and authentic.

It has a line of sight from the flames in the oven to the bar (to get the head turn). The pizzas are made with imported Italian ingredients. And unlike most of the chain pizza restaurants, we make our own dough - fresh — every day. The pizzas are to die for.

OK, so not everyone can (or would want to) develop a wood-fired pizza offer in their pub, but we use the same approach for all aspects of our business. We use the "Not Just…" approach for everything we do with our product, service and environment. And the outcome is a whole load of "points of difference" versus our competitors.

All in all, we probably have 20 "points of difference" on each area of the business. Most of these are not revolutionary or unique and many are simple, low cost, or even no-cost ideas. It's just that they are different when compared to our competitors. The average customer may clock only a couple of these, but that gives him a couple of points to remember us by… and more "points of difference" to discover on future visits.

So that's it. We simply try to go further and, in doing so, do it differently to others. The approach has worked for us and has delivered double-digit sales growth every year for the past three.

If you are interested, we are going to explain more about our "way of doing business" at various BII regional meetings this year.

Related topics: Other operators

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