From the middle of June to the middle of August, 254 people applied to run a pub and at the height of lockdown – between 24 March and 22 June – 108 applications were submitted. From 22 June to 16 August, this rose to 254, which was more than double the same period last year.
The figures is something Greene King has put down to more targeted advertising on social media and specialised websites.
Greene King Pub Partners recruitment manager Chris Thorogood said: “It’s really uplifting to see people’s passion for running their own pub has not been daunted by recent events.
“We have recently invested in updating and relaunching our Pub Partners recruitment website so we can showcase a wide range of pubs to potential licensees looking to run their own business.
“We are delighted with the number of enquiries we are receiving and are working through them all now, we continue to be inspired by the passion people are showing in having the opportunity to run a Greene King tenanted pub.”
This comes after the Suffolk-based brewer and pub operator reported losses of more than £270m in the 52 weeks to 26 April 2020 in a trading update.
Revenue was £1,919m – a drop of 13.4% compared to the previous year with declines recorded in all revenue generating areas.
The firm’s pub company arm was hit the hardest with revenue down 13.5% to £1,556.3m due to a combination of competitive marketing conditions, tough comparators and poor weather.
Total revenue in Greene King Pub Partners was £157.9m – a drop of almost 17% driven by a decline in average pub numbers of 19.5% as well as a like-for-like drink income drop of 13%.