New pub deal from Marston’s proclaimed a “game-changer”

By Ed Bedington

- Last updated on GMT

What is the new pub agreement from Marstons?

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Marston’s is hoping to reinvent the pub trading partnership with the launch of what it describes as a “game-changing” deal for operators.

The company’s new initiative, named “Pillar”, has been trialled over the past six months in a pilot initiative with 20 pubs.

The initiative rips up the traditional rental model in favour of a turnover based agreement, and is being led by John Green, head of operations and Ed Hancock, operations director.

The company described it as “much-needed innovation and progression for the traditiona T&L and retail style model”.

The deal will see operators offered pubs with no rental costs, with the relationship run on a shared-turnover basis, with the licensee and Marston’s sharing a flexible percentage of the turnover across three streams, wet, dry and accommodation, where an accommodation offer is in place.

The MA understands the percentages will be flexible dependent on the kind of operations, with Marston’s taking a larger share of the wet, and a lower percentage of the dry.

All fixtures and fittings and building maintenance and up-keep will also be covered by Marston’s, offering operators a real turn-key solution.

Green said: “We have looked very closely at the market, other sectors and at competitors, flexibility is becoming a deciding factor in so many areas of our lives and Pillar gives that.

“Pillar will provide partners with the stability to innovate, think differently and become totally guest centric in their business plans, not thinking about the rent bill every quarter as their priority. This is turning that model on its head.”

The company said the key to the new offer was transparency and sustainability for both parties, with discussions with every operator being flexible and adaptable to both the industry climate and the operator and pub they’re taking on. 

Green added: “We needed to recognise that the pub industry wasn’t the most attractive option for a lot of people. We saw we were missing out on some great business-minded people who could make a difference to an industry that needs them and honestly, we want entrepreneurs. 

“So, by adapting the model, it allowed us to minimise that risk for them. Pillar is designed to allow the partners to work to their strengths, bring in younger partners, encourage flair and creativity in food and entertainment and guest experience, meanwhile Marston’s manages the back-office workload using the depth of knowledge we have and as partners we share the rewards.”

Pillar is currently running across 20 pubs with a plan to roll out to a further 40 partnerships before the end of 2022. Following the gradual re-opening of pubs earlier this year, the trial allowed the team at Marston’s to develop Pillar over a six-month period in constant consultation and feedback from partners.

Demi Goodridge, who runs the Copper Beech in Bilsthorpe was one of the pilot schemes. She said: “For us, without Pillar we just wouldn’t have been able to take on our own business. Having the backing and support of Marston’s gave us the freedom to focus on the day to day running of our own business, for us it really was a win win.”

Adam Ellis, who runs another Pillar scheme at the Blenheim House Hotel it Etwall added: “Pillar gave us freedom… the emphasis from Marston’s was essentially to go and make a success of the pub and we are here to support you. We’re good at selling beer and food, so we could really focus on that without getting lost in rent or maintenance costs.”

To hear more on the deal direct from Adam, click here​.

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