Beginner’s Guide on Starting a Pub Business in the United Kingdom

Starting a Pub Business in the United KingdomAre you a certified party-goer? If yes, then maybe you can imagine how fun it is to have your own pub. It will be fun, and exciting, with lots of lights, singing, and dancing! So, if you are interested in starting a pub business of your own, then 3E Accounting will fill you in with the details!


What is a Pub Business?

A pub is a shortened term for a public house. It is an establishment authorized to serve alcoholic beverages for consumption on its own premises. Industry activities include the preparation and serving of alcoholic beverages. Also the serving of non-alcoholic beverages, and even the preparation and serving of food. Moreover, products may include beer, wine, champagne, cider, perry, spirits, spirit-based drinks, and more.

Pubs have gone a long way. The term first resurfaced during the late 17th century. It was used to differentiate private houses from those that are open to the public, like alehouses, inns, and taverns. Come the Georgian times. Public houses have become common parlance. Nowadays, there is no established definition for pubs yet, but the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) claims that pubs have four characteristics:

  • is open to the public without membership or residency
  • serves draught beer or cider without requiring food to be consumed
  • has at least one indoor area not laid out for meals
  • allows drinks to be bought at a bar (i.e., not only table service)


What Are the Current Trends in the Pub Industry?

The value of the United Kingdom pub market is estimated to be almost £23 billion in 2019. However, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, the industry was affected a lot, cutting the sector by more than half. The United Kingdom loves pubs, and their appreciation for it has not diminished even if there is a pandemic, which is why there are still opportunities for growth for those pub owners who show innovation and flexibility.

2020 is indeed a tough year for the pub market. However, it also opened opportunities for what else could be done to achieve recovery and growth.

Prior to the pandemic, the pub sector was outperforming overall eating-out market growth. We can attribute this growth to various factors such as improving the quality of services, rising food and drink quality, and premiumization. The total turnover growth of this sector in 2019 is pegged at 1.7%, with an overall value of £23 billion. It is 0.4% higher compared to the total market growth of eating out, which is only 1.3%.

It is no secret that pubs are one of the hardest-hit businesses, especially during the high time of the pandemic restrictions such as quarantine measures and immediate lockdowns. The 2-meter rule played havoc on the sector, reducing pubs’ capacity by up to 60%. Aside from that, the implementation of the table service only added to the challenge as well. With this, pubs began to realize that they could no longer handle their staffing costs and 59% of operators realized that this was their biggest expense.

The imposition of curfews also reduced the earning potential of pubs. A significant proportion of pubs’ income comes from their sales after 10 PM.


What Are the Workarounds?

In starting a pub business knowing that it has been affected by the pandemic is pretty scary. However, 3E Accounting has identified areas of opportunities that you can include in your business plan if you want to continue pursuing this business and proceed with your United Kingdom company registration.

Targeting New Occasions

In pubs, the time people spend on your premises is positively correlated with the amount of money that they spend on its products and services. However, with the restrictions brought by the pandemic, this model can no longer be the main driver of profit. Pub owners need to venture on new occasions. One successful tactic of food and beverage establishments is offering deliveries and food to go.

Besides that, some of the pub operators are also offering accommodations to have a new stream of revenue. This is fairly appealing to United Kingdom residents who are not looking forward to having a holiday staycation abroad because of the current situation.

Resort to the Use of Technology

Technology has become a driver of many businesses during the pandemic. As a would-be pub owner, you can also incorporate this to make people feel safer.

Instead of having a waiter present your customers with a physical menu and take their orders, you can utilize QR codes that, when scanned, will show your customers a digital menu. Besides that, you can also have an app where they can directly order their food and drinks from their table. By using these technologies, you are minimizing contact making your establishment a safe haven not only for your customers but also for your staff. This is the best idea when you are starting a pub business. Also, know that 3E accounting is here to help you with your company incorporation in United Kingdom.


How to Start a Pub Business?

Now that you know the ins and outs of the sector, it is a good time to discuss how you can start a pub business of your own. Here are some steps that you can follow.

Step 1: Choose a Brand and Concept

The main question that you are going to answer in this step is, How do you want your bar to be known? Do you want a pub where people can just mingle and relax after a long tiring day at work? Or do you want it to become a venue for the upper class to socialize? Establishing your brand and concept is essential to determine what kind of services and products you should offer and who your competitors will be.

Step 2: Write Your Business Plan

Once you have your brand and concept, the next step is to elaborate on how you will put it into life. The major points of having a business plan are identifying who your target market will be, planning out how you will operationalize your business, and establishing your short-term and long-term goals.

Step 3: Business Registration and Licenses and Permits

After you have completed your business plan, it is time to go to the tedious part. Registering your business and having all the necessary licenses and permits is essential if you want to have a smooth-flowing business.

You need to choose a company name, location, and type of company. Your company can be a sole proprietorship, partnership, or limited liability company. Moreover, in the location that you have chosen, you have to be mindful of many things, such as health regulations and zoning.

When it comes to licenses and permits, there are many that you must secure. First, you must have a business permit and Employer Identification Number before you can take care of the rest. Once you have that, you can apply for a liquor permit, which will allow you to procure and serve alcoholic beverages. Next, you will need a food service license, which will enable you to serve food in your pub.


Other Permits in Starting a Pub Business

Other permits can include a music permit, sign permit, certificate of occupancy, pool table permit, dumpster placement permit, and more. If this sounds like a lot to you, you can always reach out to 3E Accounting. We are a reliable corporate service provider in the United Kingdom.

Additionally, for those who want to own and start a pub in the United Kingdom, you must have a Personal Alcohol Licence (APLH). This license will allow you to sell or supply alcohol. Moreover, holders of this license can authorize non-holders to sell alcohol. You’d also be allowed to sell liquor on behalf of any business, so long as it has a premise license.

Take note, however, that you don’t need a personal license when you wish to work in a pub. However, each bar must have one license holder to serve as the designated premises supervisor. Whoever has this license will be responsible for authorizing alcohol sales.

Another necessary license is the pub license, also known as a premise license, as mentioned earlier. This one will allow your pub to serve alcohol to customers, as well as other licensable activities defined under Section 1 of the Licensing 2003 Act. Don’t be confused; because premise licenses are not limited to physical buildings. It can also apply to moveable structures and outside spaces, such as food trucks and festivals.

To get both licenses, you need to apply to your local licensing authority. So, some processes may vary depending on your local council.

Starting a Pub Business in the United Kingdom


Cheers to a Pub With 3E Accounting!

3E Accounting United Kingdom has been providing services to aspiring business owners for a very long time. It is our goal to help you make your dreams come true. So, if you want to be a pub owner, don’t hesitate to contact us anytime!