Pub companies get a thumbs up from licensees

Licensees across 19 leading pub companies and family brewers have given a thumbs up to the support they have received from their pub companies during the Covid-19 crisis.

KAM Media has recently spoken to over 1,330 licensees as part of ‘The Licensee Index’, an annual operator benchmarking sentiment tracker for the UK licensed and tenanted pub sector. On average licensees rated their pub companies a strong 8 out of 10 for their Covid-related support so far. 53% of licensees rated the support they had received over the last 12 months as ‘outstanding.’

“Given the year the industry has had, it is even more critical than ever that pub companies stay close to their licensees in order to evaluate their performance and ensure their offer for their tenants remains competitive. It is really uplifting to hear that the vast majority are more than satisfied with the support they have received and is testament to the British pub industry as a whole. We are delighted to be working with the country’s biggest pub companies and family brewers to provide robust and independent data on their performance to ensure they stay ahead of the game.” Katy Moses, MD, KAM Media

Licensees award high NPS scores

As part of the survey, KAM captures licensee satisfaction with their pub company across 49 different measures. These include recruitment, training and information, ordering and delivery, product support, promotional support, landlord services, communication and the role of the BDM. Despite the challenging year, the average satisfaction ratings have increased across 44 out of the 49 criteria measured.

The programme also captures net promoter scores (NPS) across each of the 19 pub companies. It asks whether the licensee would recommend their pub company to other potential publicans. These scores have also increased year-on-year from an average of -14 to +9. NPS is particularly strong among the Family Brewers.

Additional support is required by licensees

When asked what further Covid-related support licensees would like from their pub companies, the top three areas were; a rent reduction/rent holiday (61%), PPE supply (26%) and help with accessing financial support such as government loans (25%.) Other areas mentioned include support with the implementation of Covid hygiene and social distancing measures in their venues.

Despite this overall satisfaction with support from their pub companies, KAM’s research confirms that the UK licensed and tenanted pub sector is currently feeling incredibly vulnerable. The research tracks their level of optimism for the 12 months ahead and it is currently at its lowest since programme began (5.6 out of 10.) Only 12% of licensees say they’re ‘very optimistic’ about the months ahead, 12 months previously this figure was at 24%.

More government support needed for licencees

At an average level, the UK licensed and tenanted pub sector gets 72% of their sales through drinks compared with 26% for food. This means many of the government restrictions, such as the substantial meal rule, have had an even more significant impact on this part of the pub industry.

Whilst it is great news that licensees feel supported by their pub companies, there is absolutely no doubt that significant and further government support is urgently needed. This should be for all pubs at the same level that was given in the initial lockdown, no matter their size or rateable value. We need furlough to continue and a promise that pubs will not face a business rates bill this year.

Find out more about The Licensee Index or sign up for regular updates here.