Meet the finalists: Best Pub Operations Team

By The Morning Advertiser

- Last updated on GMT

Operations overview: the shortlist in this category have highlighted their keys to success
Operations overview: the shortlist in this category have highlighted their keys to success

Related tags Events Publican awards Multi-site pub operators Pubco + head office

The award for Best Pub Operations Team will be presented to the team that demonstrates its effectiveness in innovation, leadership and business success best.

Barons Pub Company

Despite being a relatively small pub company, the dedication from the senior team to upskill, develop, nurture and, ultimately, make people truly great operators is fantastic.

The leadership team across the estate operates a constant feedback loop on everything from training, events to customer satisfaction, ensuring the development of their sites and people in them are on a continual path of improvement.

A phrase the judges heard throughout their visit was “operational excellence” and it was constantly stress-tested in every part of the business.

The judges were impressed to learn about the Barons Pub Company induction process. A thorough training programme is completed with a practical observation process to make sure team members are up to scratch and “customer ready”. Judges were also impressed with the key elements to the business that hold its values together: 14 Steps of Service and their four key business objectives, all of which underpin each operation.

This isn’t a team built of the typical industry veterans and transient hospitality staff, excellence is a direct result of having brought people in from other industries. The judges noted that the team, its organisation and processes could apply it to any business, in any sector, they just happen to be in pubs. What this does is bring a fresh approach to the business of running pubs and it’s no accident that success follows that approach.


During the judging process, Punch demonstrated how it is now a business focused on its people (the talent) safe in the knowledge if they get the people bit right, the financial success will follow… a long way from the reputation big pub companies once had. What the judges found was something very different. What they found was partners, not publicans and highly motivated team players, not staff.

The business is divided into two parts, Managed Partnership and Leased & Tenanted. The teams that look after both are highly motivated, experienced, with a very clear aim for excellence in all they do.

But the judges were also pleased to find an eclectic range of characters – no cookie-cutter approach to recruitment.

Once in the business, individuals are offered an amazing range of training, provided by internal and external experts (known as Training Pathways). One of the things the judges were impressed with was the way the senior team help grow the people across different disciplines, from RICS to RADA (no, really).

Punch has many stand-out initiatives, such as ones where ideas are collated and shared with new licensees, which is all driven by the ops team.


The success of sophisticated operations such as those the teams at Rekom operate, can only work if planning and communications is of the highest level, with an unwavering commitment to detail. These skills are in abundance throughout the Rekom operations team, from high-level management to the customer-facing team.

A great deal of effort goes into nurturing talent within the organisation and not just in the management roles. The judges learnt about how they operate events where aspiring DJs, no matter how much experience, can show off their talent. These operate across all regions and have resulted in some breakthrough talent making their way into the business.

Planning was central to almost every conversation the judges had with the ops team. This planning looks like a 12-month schedule and then right through to a detailed plan for every event, which includes their own ‘Activation Cards’, designed to give every member of the team a snapshot of what is required for each event – something that really impressed the judges.

Within Rekom, judges were impressed with a very strong culture of rewarding talent, with a series of awards, from local ones to regional/national awards that can see people win some amazing prizes such as holidays.

Two other elements that stood out were the level at which Rekom has pioneered guest safety through initiatives around drink spiking and the safety of women leaving their venues alone. There was no doubt in the judges’ minds the strength of the operations team, the impeccable planning behind every event and level of care for their customers, make for best in class, safe and enjoyable group of nightclubs.

Related topics Events & Occasions

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