Wadworth rolls out its segmentation project to tenanted estate

By James Wallin, M&C Report

- Last updated on GMT

Wadworth's Avon Causeway site
Wadworth's Avon Causeway site

Related tags: Lease, Leasehold estate, Public houses in the united kingdom

After a successful trial in its managed house division, Wadworth is rolling out its segmentation programme into its tenanted and leased estate, the Publican's Morning Advertiser's sister title M&C Report has learnt.

In 2013 the Wiltshire-based brewer and pub operator launched a project to establish five types of pubs which it expected its estate to fit in to. These were Great Pub Great Food, High Street, Beer House, Community Local and Family Pub Dining. The scheme has been trialled across the 43-strong managed estate with positive results. Segments for the entire estate have now been established and over the next five years they will be converted.

In order to do this the 223-strong operator has launched what it calls its Skin Deep project, which will see the company refurbish the pubs to reflect the new direction.

In the tenanted estate the refurbishment will be done in collaboration with tenants, with Wadworth responsible for the exterior facelift. Sullivan said a typical cost of refurbishment in the managed estate had been c£120,000 with the majority of that spent on the interior.

'Individuality is key'

Emma Cottam, trade marketing manager, told M&C Report​ the segmentation project was not designed to impose a rigid template on tenants.

She said: “The individuality of the pub is absolutely key and that comes from tenants or managers. We don’t want to stifle that. What this is about is giving them guidance on what to put on their blackboards, how to sell their offer. We can tell them the key words for their segment and their geography.”

“It’s human search engine optimisation,” Sullivan added.

Implementation

On the process of working with tenants to implement the segmentation programme, Sullivan said: “We have done the desktop exercise which is going through the tenancies and assigning segments to them. The first stage is the easy pickings where it’s simply a case of tidying up pubs where we agree they are in the right segment. Those are the priority of Skin Deep because they are running correctly but perhaps not communicating that to the customers as effectively as they could be.

“The second is about having a proper interventionist conversation with those people who need to change segments. In most cases it will be a situation where it is simply not working and we have a solution to that. It’s a case of them working with us or we change segment when the tenancy changes.

“This is really the first stage to our requirement to resolve the impending MRO process, which is that at some stage everyone is going to want a freehouse. Not because they want a freehouse but because they think they can have one. We have got to offer more and if we can show a proven formula for success in a certain area then that takes a lot of the risk away from running a successful pub and stacks up very competitively against the prospect of having to do everything yourself in a freehouse.”

Related topics: Other operators

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1 comment

Very creative and encouraging thoughts.

Posted by Mutual Association of Licensed Tenants,

How delightful to see a positive response from one of the "Family Brewer" PubCos recognising that they must differentiate their offer to prospective tenants - who must themselves do the same to their target markets.

As the newly formed Mutual Association of Licensed Tenants [mutualtenants {@} gmail.com] we applaud the initiative shown here and wish it every success.

The reality of the MRO process is that PubCos are challenged to prove that the package they offer is reasonable, fair and represents a equitable balance of risk and reward.

Given the will the larger PubCos could provide significant benefits for their tenants which would go some small way toward justifying their enforced financial demands.

Unfortunately that will is either lacking or more likely the financial constraints will not allow it. It is tragic that our unique Pub culture is being destroyed by these companies - those responsible will never be forgiven, but MRO should stimulate the creativity of PubCos to actually do what it "says on the tin" or "suffer" the intended consequences.

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