Case Study: Frank Healy, The Kirkhouse, Glasgow

Frank Healy, The Kirkhouse, Shettleston Road, Glasgow

The refurbishment of The Kirkhouse community pub later this year will be a milestone for Frank Healy. It’s his fourth refurbishment with Star Pubs & Bars since 2000 and plans to switch from a rolling five-year tenancy to Fully Repairing and Insuring (FRI) 10-15 year lease. “When I set out, a freehold would have required greater investment and would have been a far bigger gamble. It also wouldn’t have provided me with the great support I have had over the years which has helped me grow my business.

“I love being involved with the community that I grew up in. Two of my sons work in the business. Taking on a long-term lease gives me options. It allows me to build long-term value in the business, eventually passing it on to my sons or have the option to sell it. Star is the only leased pub company that provides this flexibility.” Since taking on The Kirkhouse, Frank has transformed it from a male drinkers’ pub to a community pub catering the whole family. The hub of the Shettleston community, The Kirkhouse offers food seven days a week, fresh coffee and free wi-fi as well as live music, quiz nights and karaoke. Turnover has gone from £4k a week to £17k, over a third of which comes from food. It’s created six additional fulltime jobs and one part-time role. The latest improvements will increase covers by 30%, improve lighting and the sound system and install phone charging points. Frank plans to extend meal times from 7 to 9pm and introduce more craft ales and premium beers and cocktails, giving customers more reasons to visit.

Looking back over the years, Frank says the leased pub industry has changed considerably: “It used to be that pub companies just took rent. Fortunately, that isn’t myexperience. The support I get from Star Pubs & Bars is fantastic. They’ve invested £400k in refurbishments, provided me with a training support chef who brought our menu up to date and helped us become more efficient. They look after our AWP machine, which adds £7k to our bottom line. Star also offers lots of training courses which my son and I have been on, from social media to serving the perfect pint as well as staff training to ensure products are properly presented.

I’ve also attended Star licensee national forums in London, Amsterdam and Milan which has helped me keep abreast of what is happening in the industry and given me the opportunity to meet other licensees to share ideas on how to improve our pubs. “It’s much better than it was 15 years ago. For newcomers, Star will help with rates and Sky Sports in their first year. All they have to do is pay the wages. “My relationship with Star is a real partnership, which is what I like about it. If I have problems in any area of the business I can ask Star for advice as they want to ensure that I trade well. It works for them and it works for me.”