First Time Lessees Increased Sales By 170%

First Time Lessees Increased Sales By 170%

John Corbett and Natasha Gleeson took over their first pub, the Rose & Crown in Heston, on a lease with Star in July 2016. John, who was in marketing for a haulage company and Natasha, who was a resources manager for the Met Police, had wanted a business of their own together for some time. 

As life long residents of Heston, they had been saddened to see the pub lose its way. They could remember it in its hey day and, as the only pub in the village, felt it had real potential. The couple wrote to the pub’s business development manager, Aubrey Taylor, expressing their interest in the Rose & Crown and when the lease became available, Taylor got in contact.

After successfully completing Star’s application process with the company’s recruitment team, the couple had an in-depth interview with Aubrey. From a total of five interested parties, Natasha and John were then selected to produce a detailed business plan to ensure their ideas for the pub were robust and would provide them with a sustainable long-term business.

‘It was obvious straightaway that John and Natasha were ideal candidates for the Rose & Crown”, says Aubrey. “Whilst they had no experience of pub management they were credible business people with good transferable skills. They were passionate about the pub, knew and understood the area it served and shared the same vision for its future as Star.”

Before starting, the couple attended Star’s weeklong residential Innside Knowledge course to learn the essential skills of running a pub and further finesse their business plan. Once in the pub, they received Star’s Innside Track accountancy and stock taking package. Linked to their business plan it has helped them keep the business ‘on track’ freeing them up to focus on the front of house and the vital work of repositioning the pub and winning back the locals.

Natasha and John traded the pub for six months in its existing state whilst a £210,000 refurbishment was finalised for January 2017. The Rose & Crown was completely upgraded and redecorated to create a warm, comfortable traditional pub with different areas to accommodate different groups, an extended kitchen to enable the introduction of food, a quality coffee offer and Sky. In a second phase of work, John and Natasha transformed the overgrown garden, opening up unused parts, replanting and adding a children’s play and seating for 160.

Since reopening John and Natasha have worked tirelessly to relaunch the pub. The have introduced home cooked food including sell out Sunday lunches, gained Cask Marque accreditation and started up countless activities from live music and quizzes to darts teams and fundraisers, raising £10,000 for charity. Reaching out to the community has been a major focus with the couple supporting events at the local church and school.

Eighteen months on and with the help of the refurbishment, John and Natasha have increased sales by 170% and transformed the Rose & Crown from a little used pub into a thriving local serving the whole community from families with children to senior citizens. The achievement has won them a regional Newcomer of the Year Star award.

John and Natasha have no regrets. “We’re 100 per cent pleased we did it. We’ve accomplished everything we wanted to in the first 18 months,” says John. “It’s great to have the stimulation of a second career - every day is a learning day. A leased pub has been perfect for us, we wouldn’t have wanted to leap straight into a free house. Whilst taking a pub was a major change, we’ve never felt we were going it alone. We’ve had the support we needed from Star and a hands on BDM who has given us help and guidance throughout.

“My advice to anyone else considering a leased pub is simple – ‘if you’re passionate about and want to do it, then find a good partner and follow your dreams’”.

John and Natasha are on a five-year rolling tenancy.