Two years on from the introduction of the pubs code, I can’t help but feel the amount of publicity around the market rent only option (MRO) has distracted from all the other changes business development managers (BDMs) like me and our partners now handle on a daily basis.
The BDM role has changed hugely since I first moved into the leased and tenanted sector. Now we are much more like business consultants, there to nurture a pub while allowing our partners to reach their full potential. This change is in part down to the code and, personally, I feel is one of its great unsung positives.
From my perspective, the MRO option gets so much attention that it has caused many to wrongly see the number of pubs taking up a free-of-tie model as the only measure of the code.
This has sometimes distracted attention away from what being a tied-pub tenant can offer you, particularly BDM assistance. When you work with a pub company like Greene King, you’re part of a dedicated support network. BDMs now have the skill set and tools to provide more refined support than before, aiding partners new to the industry and creating some positive surprises for old hands!
I now plan better and work smarter to ensure the best service for my tied pubs. Rather than rushing to see as many partners as possible in a day to check in and offer a basic service, I now book fewer meetings to make my support more effective. This allows me to follow up on actions and provide a record of minutes for a partner so we can track progress – something that was not always done previously but which is now a must under the code.Instead of measuring the code’s success based on the number of pubs taking up MRO, it would be good to also look at why many partners make a positive decision to remain tied.
In addition, it would be helpful if education about the code could be widened to benefit solicitors and accountants, who partners rely on under the code to provide sound independent advice, so they have a better knowledge of its workings.
As a BDM, I’ll never tire of seeing pubs go from strength to strength and becoming the beating heart of a community. We need a code that supports partners and pub companies, ultimately recognising that everybody wants the same thing – for pubs to continue thriving for decades to come. With a possible code review next year, from a BDM perspective I hope people recognise the code exists for more than just MRO, and has already significantly changed the way we offer support to publicans nationwide.