Country Pub – 46 and out of work – Contractor bought a country pub (1)

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Country Pub for Contractor
Country Pub for Contractor

Brought Up in the Country Pub Trade

We got this story when Steve Marquis wrote asking to be unsubscribed because he has left the industry. He now runs a country pub. We asked him all about it and here‘s what he told us.

Hmmm, there’s food for thought. How did I get into the country pub game.

Well as a nipper I was bought up in the trade and haven’t completely lost touch with family still in the trade. My cousin for example has a pub and holiday lodges up in Scotland opposite the Glenlivit distillery www.glenlivetlodges.co.uk. It was his mothers fault that we are both in this business.

That doesn’t mean to say you need previous experience. There are several routes into the industry and training is easily available.

I have had a good career in the IT industry since starting the early 70’s. I was lucky enough to get a foot in the door straight out of school via an engineering apprenticeship. I’ve had four spells contracting as my career developed in operations, programming, analysis, design. Over the last 10 years or so it was global IT, program, project and account management.

Experiences of Redundancy

After three experiences of redundancy over almost 30 years my wife and I decided this time to go for a life style / career change.

I did look for more IT work. I spent over 12 months looking.

Perhaps that was too long. I know that after I had looked at the several thousand initial applications, the cost of which staggered us, I realised that if I was running a business getting a job I would have been bankrupt ages ago.

This time around it has been particularly difficult to find a position and I have looked globally. At 46 I kept finding myself hearing that I was too experienced. I believe that to be common parlance for too old.

With 2,500 to 3,500 competing for the same job I found myself consistently getting into the top handful but I still failed at getting the role. With that many applications received, getting into the handful of applications that doesn’t get binned is tough enough. I know, I used to have to bin them myself!

Going for a Country Pub

I’ve been after going for a pub for years and the wife thought (mistakenly
:o) that I would grow out of it. So here we are giving it a go. So how did we go about it?

Firstly, I did a quick investigation to see what qualifications we needed and then arrange the training. We managed to find an EC subsidised training outfit that also happened to be in Cornwall near my parents. So we combined the trip and got our British Institute of Innkeeping (www.bii.org) Qualifying Exam. This included a Food Hygiene certificate. We finished off with a First Aid at Work course that the local job centre laid on.

I also took on some bar work to make sure I hadn‘t lost my touch!

The Type of Country Pub We Wanted

Secondly, we selected the type of pub we wanted. In our case, it was something rural but with a natural catchment of customers across the age groups. It needed to be trading at the bottom of its capability to give us something to grow and be wet sales led. We wanted to develop our own food offering with traditional pub grub.

Third we needed some properties, so we contacted the two trade papers, i.e. The
Publican at www.publican.co.uk, and The Morning Advertiser at www.william-reed.co.uk, to find some agencies.

After registering with over 50 agencies we waited for properties to come in. Then the hard work started, analysing the very basic data from the agencies and if a property passed muster on business and personal needs we went and visited it incognito. 12,000 miles later the length and breadth of the country and over 100 pubs visited (several hundred analysed).

Next Episode

So, how did Steve get on? Did he succeed, or is he back on the dole queue?

We will publish the second half of Steve‘s story shortly.

If you have managed to get out of the industry and now do something else, please tell us about it. We might be able to give you some free publicity.

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