Star licensees bullish about 2017 prospects despite staff and kitchen concerns

Star Pubs & Bars annual national forum, Milan

Star Pubs is bullish about its prospects for 2017 after it carried out a survey in which 100% of licensees questioned said they were either ‘very positive’ or ‘quite positive’ about the future.

This is the first time that 100% feedback has been given from Star licensees since the Star Pubs & Bars annual national forum was launched in 2013.

At the forum, which was held in Milan, and made up of 40 representative licensees from all around the country, 61% reported they felt very positive and 39% quite positive about trade in 2017.

When asked about the biggest issues facing the industry in 2017, staffing came up as the greatest concern with a fifth also raising business rates as a problem. 34% highlighted an increase in staff costs, 17% kitchen staff recruitment and 19.5% business rates. The cost of utilities and lack of investment were of lesser concern this year.

Lawson Mountstevens, managing director of Star, said: “The positive feedback demonstrates a real confidence in the leased pub industry. This is particularly striking given the uncertainties facing the economy. As further proof of their optimism, 97.8% said they would take on another pub with Star or advocate us.”

The move comes after Star Pubs & Bars announced it would invest over £250,000 in food support for its licensees earlier this year as part of a move to empower its kitchens.

The pub chain is looking to lead the way in food support in the leased sector and believes the investment is a significant statement of its seriousness to help tenants grow food sales.

As well as promising to continue with existing food training for pub staff and chefs, Star said further initiatives in this area, such as kitchen staff recruitment support, would be introduced over the next year helping to tackle the industry shortage.

For a full insight into Star’s marketing and business strategy, read FEJ’s interview with food strategy and implementation manager Luke Davies here.

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