Covid-19 has led to a surge in applications for people looking to run their own pub, according to Greene King.
The chain, which runs 3,000 sites, said it had recorded its highest ever number of new applications across June, July and August.
Despite the challenging times faced by the pub industry following the three-month closure due to coronavirus, Greene King Pub Partners said that 254 people had expressed their desire to run their own pub, the highest it has ever received.
Even at the height of lockdown, there were 108 new, unique applications from people wanting to run their own pub between 24 March and 22 June, it revealed.
From 22 June to 16 August this number rocketed to 254 new applications, more than double the same period in 2019.
The interest has led to Greene King launching a new recruitment website to help meet the increased demand.
It includes a live chat function so that would-be licensees can get their questions answered quicker.
Chris Thorogood, Greene King Pub Partners recruitment manager, said: “It’s really uplifting to see that people’s passion for running their own pub has not been daunted by recent events.
“We’re delighted with the number of enquiries we’re 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.”
Greene King has provided £21m of support to its leased and tenanted partners during lockdown and beyond, with the majority of financial support coming in the form of rent concessions all the way through to October.
There is also a package of discounts on kegs and casks running through to 2021.