Marston’s Pub Franchise: The franchise opportunity

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Franchise: Marston’s Pub Franchise
Description: Marston’s franchise opportunities are established pubs located in the heart of thriving communities
Started in: 2011
Founders: Marston’s PLC (Public Limited Company)
No. of franchises: 50-100 available in 2017
Coverage: National
Average cost per franchise: £25,000 franchise fee + £20,000-£25,000 working capital required

With an average annual turnover of £680m and a total estate value of over £2bn, Marston’s are the UK’s leading independent pub retailer and brewer. A truly national operator, the chain has over 1,500 pubs situated throughout the UK, of which over 60 are currently franchised. With over 130 years of successful pub retailing and a solid track record in transparent and ethical franchising, they are the only pub company to hold full membership status of the British Franchise Association.

Offering a fully inclusive start-up and on-going support package from day one, which includes rent free, on-site accommodation, Marston’s is a franchise opportunity with plenty of potential. You’ll take over the reins of an established pub business equipped with a full inventory package, and Marston’s will provide you with a comprehensive induction and training programme to ensure that you hit the ground running.

Here, Marston’s tell more about their innovative franchise model, the attributes of a perfect franchisee, and their plans for continued growth.

Moving into franchising

So how did Marston’s move into franchising?

Following on from the successful development of an innovative new Retail Agreement in 2009, Marston’s was awarded full member status of the British Franchise Association in 2011 which has resulted in this exciting proposition for potential franchisees. It was a natural step in the evolution of the business, demonstrating our novel approach and continuing commitment to the food and drink industry. In short, it enables us to take the real and genuine prospects offered by the licensed trade to a whole new prospective audience.

The franchise opportunity

What makes the franchise different / unique?

To start with it is innovative and straightforward. Franchisees are encouraged to focus on the really important things – like building the reputation of their business and driving sales – as they are not expected to carry out the day to day chores such as paying utility bills, building repairs and the sourcing of suppliers. And with an income that based on an agreed percentage return on turnover and in some cases, profit – we think it’s a formula that’s hard to beat.

What services do you offer?

Good quality food and drink, combined with fantastic service, served in friendly and welcoming surroundings. Our franchisees will have a unique opportunity to place their pub and themselves at the hub of the community.

How big is the market opportunity?

The market opportunity in our opinion is very significant, which is substantiated by the level of time, commitment and expenditure we are continuing to invest in our franchise estate.

How is the brand marketed?

As you’d expect with a leading company, all of the parameters and budgets are in place to continuously promote and market our brand. National, trade and local advertising is complemented by sole and joint sponsorship agreements with major organisations, ensuring the Marston’s brand maintains a highly visible profile and presence. On a very local level this is supplemented by a range of individual promotions designed to increase footfall and sales.

The perfect franchisee

What is Martson’s looking for in potential franchisees?

Our franchisees are the single most important factor in determining our success as a business and in cultivating our brand – but there’s no such thing as the perfect model for one of our franchisees. Just like our customers, our franchisees vary in terms of their backgrounds, although they all share the same qualities – namely a genuine customer focus and true service ethos, coupled with a real entrepreneurial spirit and the desire to succeed. However, over and above this, they all have one outstanding characteristic in common, which is the realisation that the more effort they put in, the more they can take out. The prospective earnings figures speak for themselves – it really is as simple as that.

Our unique proposition means that not only do our franchisees have the opportunity to run a successful and profitable business; they can also build a fun and fulfilling lifestyle in which strong customer relationships, involvement in local events and activities, entertainment, socialising and a busy, vibrant atmosphere all play a key role!

Is it home-based? Part-time / full-time?

Many of our franchises provide live in accommodation and it would be a full-time role.

How are franchisees vetted?

We have a robust recruitment process in place that can take between three to six months. Candidates are expected to meet with a range of people from our senior franchise team and produce a thorough business plan based on detailed research.They also have the opportunity to attend one of our Discovery Days and meet with some of our current franchisees. Alongside this, we offer a business experience course at one of our centres of excellence which provides an insight into what running a Marston’s Franchise is all about and allows candidates to decide if life in a busy community pub is definitely for them.

What do you offer franchisees that sign-up?

Marston’s franchisees will receive:

  • Five year renewable term in an established community pub business
  • Fully equipped inventory package including kitchen equipment and EPOS system
  • Robust induction and training provision
  • Comprehensive operating manual
  • Dedicated area operations manager to support you with all aspects of planning, promoting and running your business
  • Operating audits and mystery shopper visits to ensure your business is on track
  • Twice yearly menu development
  • Marketing materials for all central promotions
  • Utility bills, building repairs, consumables and business rates all paid for by us (you pay only for your council tax, telephone line and business insurance)
  • Advice and support to build an online presence for your business
  • Ability to sell the business on at any time (subject to certain criteria)
  • Access to a range of online support mechanisms including payroll system, print shop and our comprehensive business support tool ‘My Marston’s’.

How much do franchisees pay and what are the ongoing franchise fees?

Franchise costs are as follows: £25,000 franchise fee + £20,000-£25,000 working capital required.

How do franchisees finance the purchase – what arrangements does Marston’s have in place with banks?  

Franchisees are required to organise their own funding.

Success and growth

How is the brand looking to grow?

We anticipate that our franchised estate will continue to thrive and expand, and hope to support our franchisees to progress from single sites to owning territories.

What is the potential of the business?

The potential of any individual business is as big as our franchisees want to make it. They will have the benefit of a famous brand and all the resources of a publically quoted company behind them, giving them every opportunity to grow both the customer base and the business on a local and wider basis.

What will the challenges be in achieving that?

Like the challenges many businesses face in today’s economic climate, the key to success will be for our franchisees to differentiate their proposition from the competition. By combining our support, guidance and knowledge, with their undoubted drive and hospitality skills, we believe together we can deliver a fantastic customer experience and ultimately build a successful franchise business that will provide a good living and income.

What awards has the business won?

Marston’s have consistently received recognition and won many accolades on a national and regional basis for our practices, products, people and training measures, which was highlighted by our success in winning the coveted ‘Pub Company of the Year’ award in 2011.

Finally, is the company a British Franchise Association (BFA) member?

Yes, full membership (first company in the pub industry to obtain this level of membership).

Click here to register your interest in Marston’s franchising.

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