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East Midlands Chamber News

Future looks bright for Everards of Leicestershire as brewery picks up new landlords despite lockdown

Everards of Leicestershire has fought against the hospitality industry’s challenges of Covid-19 by welcoming eight new pub landlords during the pandemic.

The family-owned brewery, based in Glenfield, says it has taken a proactive approach to recruit business owners for six of its pubs in the past few months.

It supported tenants during lockdown by cancelling rents from March to May, followed by reducing rents between June and September.

Operations director Emma Roderick said: “We have been conscious to be focused and proactive with our recruitment during lockdown, continuing to do what we always do, and it has worked for us so far.

“People are looking to the future and how they see their lives panning out, and taking the time while they have it to investigate if having their own pub business is viable for them.

“Team collaboration has been key – we have worked closely as a business to assess where we are at and look at new ways to engage and attract talented people to work with.”

How Everards of Leicestershire has recruited new pub landlords

To help it recruit new landlords, Chamber member Everards – which has almost 170 pubs across Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and other areas in the Midlands, North-West and East of England – has hosted virtual “cuppa and chat” events.

These have given people interested in owning a pub business the chance to have initial online conversations with brewery staff about what is involved, with some progressing into serious discussions about running pubs.

Dave Pawson, head of business development at Everards, said finding the right people for each venue is the company’s priority.

“Proud of our heritage, we continue to be future-focused, and are working to ensure the sustainability of our pubs and position in the hospitality industry,” he said.

“Pubs are at our heart but, as an independent family business, we also like to invest in other like-minded business owners and have helped open delis, cafés and bakeries.

“I was drawn to this inspiring way of thinking as pubs across the UK strive to be more than just a pub to meet the needs of today’s customers – more now in these times than ever.”

This left-field approach to filling venues has previously been evident in Project William several years ago, in which the company helped small independent brewers to take on their first pubs and sell their own beers alongside Everards’ range.

The project helped to keep open 24 venues that Everards took on as pubs from other breweries.

A more recent example of this ongoing concept was helping Ross and Camille Oliver, the owners of food truck business Rustic Crust, to open their first pizzeria in a former Co-op store, in Farnsfield, Nottinghamshire, in early March.

Dave added: "Pubs will always be in our hearts but we cast our net wider as we search for fresh opportunities to work with innovative and talented business owners as they seek to establish their businesses.

“Whether that be a coffee house, pizzeria or tap room, we are open to chatting through any strong business ideas and we may just have the right building – or we are able to look at buying a building for the right project.”

How Everards of Leicestershire pubs pivoted during Covid-19 lockdown

While pubs were closed from mid-March until “Super Saturday” on 4 July – and those in the Leicester area have remained shut due to a local lockdown – a number of landlords have used the time to bring venues up to date with fresh a new look and revamped gardens.

At the same time, many of its existing licensees have also shown imagination by turning their hand to offering takeaway food and drink, operating as village shops and holding markets in car parks – while some have become collection points for the Age UK Leicestershire and Rutland charity.

Emma added: “It’s been a challenging time and we are immensely proud of how our business owners have responded with such positivity.

“Many have actually become the heart of their community – more so now than ever.”

 “The wonderful thing is, our business owners have really pulled together sharing advice, tips and ideas via our closed Facebook group, and it’s been so nice to see this online community build stronger connections.

“We have also used this group to offer lots of support and share guidance alongside our other methods.”

 

Anyone interested in opening a pub with Everards of Leicestershire can contact the business here or join one of its upcoming virtual “cuppa and chat” events:

  • Wednesday 19th August 2020 – sign up
  • Wednesday 9th September 2020 – sign up
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