BII's Anthony Pender: Why I opened a pub without a bar

By Anthony Pender

- Last updated on GMT

BII's Anthony Pender: Why I opened a pub without a bar

Related tags Pub Stoke newington Yummy pub co

Co-owner of Yummy Pub Co and BII Chairman Anthony Pender talks about the need for constant innovation in the pub sector.

One of my favourite aspects of the pub trade is how much it is constantly changing and developing. What customers want from a pub now is very different to what they wanted three, two or even one year ago; we operators have to be continually innovative to remain successful.

When I look at the great work being done by others I’m always inspired; whether that’s being wowed by the big increase of food sales at the Yard in Ilkley, West Yorkshire, after launching the Twisted Burger franchise on site, or impressed by the boldness of the Jugged Hare in Moorgate, London, for adding squirrel and bacon croquettes to its menu.

These are moves made by operators who don’t want to rest on their laurels; but strive to grow, experiment and explore.


When running a pub (or group of pubs), it goes without saying that you must have a strategy in place and this should look at how the business can be developed to grow. It’s about considering every aspect; not just the food and drink, but your team, digital presence, events, brand and marketing and even the site itself. What are the priorities — immediate and future — for growth?

This is a question that I am continually asking. When it came to opening our sixth site, we knew we wanted to do something new. The Stoke Newington Tea House taps into the growing trend for varied styles and flavours of tea, and doesn’t have a bar (a significant non-feature) yet retains the community feel we’re famed for. It’s still a pub, but it’s not the same as everywhere else.

I see this passion and enthusiasm for going further in the previous winners of the BII’s Licensee of the Year Award. One of this year’s finalists, Glen Duckett from the Eagle & Child in Ramsbottom, Lancashire, saw youth unemployment was an issue, so looked at how he could help. Five years later and almost 70 disadvantaged young people have been helped into employment, while the pub goes from strength to strength.


Meanwhile, last year’s winner Keith Marsden focused on creating reasons for customers to visit his wet-led pub; adding a cigar lounge, Tiki Bar and Shed du Vin.

When we’re embedded in our businesses it can be tough to take an objective look. But for me, that’s where we should all turn to one another for help and support.

Whether it’s visiting The Bar and Pub Show this October​, talking to operators at events or using the advice available from associations such as the BII, there really is a host of ways to do this.

Here’s to continuing to strive, continuing to improve and continuing to be different.

Anthony Pender is co-owner of Yummy Pub Co​ and chairman of the BII

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