Editor's opinion

Encouraging news, but let's keep an eye on the future

By Ed Bedington

- Last updated on GMT

Ed Bedington: "One of the key areas that the whole trade needs to focus on is recruiting and retaining our future business leaders"
Ed Bedington: "One of the key areas that the whole trade needs to focus on is recruiting and retaining our future business leaders"

Related tags Future

There’s some encouraging results from the Publican’s Morning Advertiser’s reader survey, with more than half of respondents reporting turnover on the increase, and almost the same number saying profits are also up year on year.

Statistics from the ALMR Spring Conference​ also supported this, and highlighted that it wasn’t just London where business was starting to boom, with areas like Leeds and Manchester being flagged up, alongside phrases like “powerhouse”.

It’s heartening to see confidence on the rise, and not just confidence, but takings and profits too — anecdotally, we seem to see more people in the pubs recently, and not just on the big nights either. Weekday business, certainly for some, is picking up and that’s great to see. We need to ensure that confidence continues to build and that we’re enticing the punters across the threshold throughout the week.


Of course, it’s not rosy for all, and the survey does show the worrying figures that 27% are still suffering from falling profits so the recovery is not complete. I would urge all those businesses that are suffering to reach out and look at some of the resources available throughout the trade, from ourselves, through to the various trade and professional associations — there’s a lot of help out there, and it’s worth seizing upon.

Certainly, one of the key areas that the whole trade needs to focus on, and this was well covered at the excellent ALMR Spring Conference, is recruiting and retaining our future business leaders.

So far, as I work my way around getting to know the industry, I’ve met some great people of all ages, but we need to keep a weather eye on the future.

Future leaders

The hospitality trade is a great area to work in, and while we may not struggle to recruit casual labour into the business, we have more of a problem in converting those casual guys and girls into career-minded professionals that are going to drive the sector into the future.

That’s a huge challenge.

Naturally, there was a big focus on Generation Y (or Why) and how the trade needs to understand the motivations behind this group, and how best to tap into that and retain the best and brightest as our future managers and leaders.

It’s not a simple and easy nut to crack. Anthony Pender of the Yummy Pub Co pointed out Generation Y has been raised on a diet of television programmes like The Apprentice, and, as a result, seems to expect to walk into the top jobs with a minimum of time served.

Because we are unlikely to change that mindset, he says we need to work within it, and must structure career paths with a steady increase in reward and responsibility.


It’s an interesting idea, although I do worry that it’s a little like being a parent and doling out the sweets every time the child says “I want”!

Do we run the risk of creating a generation of over-promoted, self-entitled monsters?

I don’t have the answers, but, as a trade, we need to apply our collective minds to the problem and ensure we’re bringing in great new talent, and effectively training and shaping them into the leaders of the future.

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