Have a go at our Pub Business Planning Quiz below. The results of previous respondents are then explained throughout this blog:

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A nice pint in a classic British pub is one of the nations most recognised symbols. There has been much written about the decline of the pub with multiple locations closing over the last 10 years. However, the industry is slowly adapting to new trends in customer behaviour and tastes and there are now the shoots of a recovery emerging.

The pub can still very much play a role as a central point for a community much as it has done for hundreds of years. These days a pub business needs to have a strong identity and clear offering as it fights on multiple fronts from the high-street restaurants to the alcohol aisle at the local supermarket.

A new generation of publicans with specialist offerings are making their way back. As the demand grows for quality over quantity so these new pub businesses must implement unique business plans to stand out from the crowd.

You have landed here because of your expressed interest in learning more about the pub business sector. Please enjoy the blog below and learn more about this ever more popular sector.

Industry Stats

The figure below shows some of the key industry stats including market value, customer frequency and number of UK pub businesses. The recovering growth of the industry and the multiple adaptations and areas of specialism encourages creative entrepreneurs to begin their own ventures. Each adopting and adapting subtly different business plans to carve out their own unique offering.

The pub as a place to meet and share a drink with your fellow man or woman on regular evenings is becoming increasingly less common. Pubs that have failed to adapt to this change in customer behaviour has been forced to close their doors. The growth of supermarkets and their comparatively cheap alcohol offers have long threatened pub businesses that could offer little more than a place to get a beer.

That said the numbers still stack up in favour of the pub industry with the market value worth in excess of £23bn and 9 in 10 adults visiting a pub at least once a month. The demand is still there just in a different form. The very thing that provided the biggest threat to the pub industry, the supermarket, is now becoming the biggest reason for a return in fortunes for the sector.

UK consumers are strongly trending towards unique, artisan products. Small batch production, locally sourced, handcrafted. All these types of products are not offered in national supermarket chains by their very definition which provides a new opportunity for pub owners who show adaptability and some out the box style thinking.

The average size of a pub in the UK is just over 1750 square feet. This covers both standing and sitting spaces as well as staff and storages areas. It does not account for any outdoor spaces such as beer gardens which offer their own unique selling points.

Generally, a pub comes in the form of 1 of 6 types. The size, location and ambition of each pub will dictates which type is the most appropriate and likely to be most successful. Premises can further subcategorise their offering within their main type for an additional point of differentiation. A Gastr, for example, may choose to specialise in seafood.

The most popular form of pub type is the Gastro Pub. Some traditionalists may believe they are now more akin to restaurants, but they merely show keenness and ability to move with market demands. One area of rapid growth within the sector is within the Microbrewery pub which play heavily on the consumer trend towards handcrafted and artisan products as mentioned previously.

Average Customer Spend in a Pub

The average spend per customer in a pub is currently a touch over £25 (between 2 and 3 drinks). The number had been falling previously as pub clientele dwindled but a shift towards providing quality over quantity has seen that number turn upwards over the past two and a half years.

How Do Pubs Get Financed?

Pubs can be expensive to set up and expensive to run especially if the establishment is offering extended food services. Given the scope and range of pubs as ventures, there are many ways to fund, in most cases, multiple sources of finance are required.

New businesses can be started on as little as £20,000 as microbrewery pub ‘The Pickaxe’ found out. Taking over the lease of a failing ‘traditional’ pub the business focuses on supporting small, local beer producers and artisan spirit companies. The premises also opens up its small kitchen to aspiring food companies to set up pop-up restaurants which provide varied food offerings to the customer base for no extra cost to the business.

Operational costs involved in a pub enterprise can be daunting and as such the business invested a small £500 into the creation of a professionally written business plan. This gave the business the assurance of reliable budgeting and forecasting leaving the owners free to focus on creating the best possible experience for their customers.

Personal savings and bank loans provide much of the historical finance to pub businesses, though alternate funding like crowdfunding is possible for some unique ventures. The table below shows the main sources of business finance and their associated percentage. In some cases, for larger projects, businesses may need to obtain finance from more than one source.

The layperson may be misled into thinking a fully written business plan would only be a requirement if looking for outside finance. Whilst it is true a solid business plan would be a pre-requisite for any form of form debt or equity finance the value of having a quality business plan cannot be underestimated. Even for those self-funding, a viable and robust business plan is a sure way to keep focused and accountable which will ultimately lead to better business decision making.

Importance of a business plan

A handle on operational costs and a sound and reliable supply chain is vital to any pub business. As is the understanding the business’ revenue model, showing the number of customers it requires, in order to hit breakeven.

Any serious company should look to invest in a proper, written business plan in order to maximise its potential. The graphic below shows a high proportion of pub businesses have invested in a professionally written plan and all new ventures should look to do the same.

So what can we say about starting your own pub business?


  • The industry is a period of change encouraging new entrepreneurs to enter the market
  • The revenue potential is high for the right business


  • Strong business differentiation needed to gain a foothold in the market
  • Excellent cash flow planning and budget preparation is required


How you can succeed

The best way to get ahead of the competition and eliminate the biggest unknowns and risks when starting your own pub business is to invest in a high-quality business plan. The investment is invaluable. We at MyBizPlan provide the highest quality and yet lowest cost business plan in the UK, for a minimal outlay you can obtain a high-quality, visually stunning, financially robust business plan. It will give you a greater chance of seeking that vital finance and in the long run, could save you thousands.

If owning and running a pub business sounds like the kind of business for you, get started with a Pub Business Plan from MyBizPlan. See which of our solutions is right for you by having a go at our – Do You Really Need a Business Plan Questionnaire?


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