Find out about the Best Managed Pub Company 51+ sites finalists, sponsored by Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I

By The Morning Advertiser

- Last updated on GMT

Award criteria: judges have been scrutinising the businesses on innovation and performance
Award criteria: judges have been scrutinising the businesses on innovation and performance

Related tags Publican awards Pubco + head office Multi-site pub operators

Strong innovation and business performance are what the judges in this category are looking for.

The finalists are:

Fuller, Smith & Turner

Fuller’s 183 site managed business includes a wealth of famous pubs that are jewels in its crown, such as the Lamb & Flag in Covent Garden, the Cabbage Patch in Twickenham, the Churchill Arms in Kensington, the Coach and Horses in Soho, the Still & West in Portsmouth and the Red Lion in Westminster. It is a business that still helps create legends of publicans.

Its quality sites, which are split into three trading formats, also include the London’s Pride at Heathrow airport’s T2, the Parcel Yard at Kings Cross station, Cotswolds Inns & Hotels and Bel & The Dragon businesses.

The premium positioning of the business across its food, drinks and accommodation offers is reinforced through its excellent retail standards which are maintained through its continual reinvestment in sites, with significant sales driving capex programmes completed last year and planned for this.

Fuller’s strong focus on accommodation is reaping rewards, with 1,060 rooms now across the business and more stunning rooms being added at existing sites, such as the Counting House in the city.

An increasing post-Covid strong growth mindset culture has seen a key focus on record sales weeks, with Fuller’s well-trained and rewarded pub teams significantly growing the number of record weeks in its last financial year​.

Ongoing significant investment in its strong people offer, including learning and development, is at the heart of Fuller’s success. Impactful initiatives, launched in the past year, include its innovative ‘Lead Your Way’ training programme for its pub leaders, with the skills and insights delivered through this having a positive impact for both the business and on the personal lives of participants.

Fuller’s is passionate about apprenticeship and fully utilises its apprenticeship levy with around 200 apprenticeships completed a year.

Its progressive approach to recruitment includes a focus on attracting 16 to 18-year-old team members, partnerships with Only A Pavement Away and Rest Less to recruit over 50s and a growing initiative to recruit more people with intellectual disabilities, building on the success of its work experience and employment schemes at the Cabbage Patch in Twickenham.

Impactful new strategies around its quality food and drink offer are also helping to to drive further strong sales growth and impressive customer satisfaction scores.

Liberation Group

Liberation Group is a multi-faceted business with pubs and inns, including 78 managed pubs across South England and the Channel Islands, a growing rooms business and two breweries.

The private equity-backed business has venues from Mayfair to St Aubin Bay, making its entry into London following the acquisition of Cirrus Inns in December 2022. Currently 48 of its sites have premium bedrooms with 220 rooms, with a target of 700 rooms.

Led by group COO Jayson Perfect, the business continues to evolve and elevate its offer across all areas of the business, including its people offer, operations, food and drink, events, marketing and customer service and experience.

In the past year, the business has continued to premiumise its food and drink offers (including a big focus on Sunday roasts), which has seen it deliver great customer satisfaction scores and developed more foodie events and outdoor offers, driven its accommodation offer​ further and secured more bookings, including for big events, through a new central bookings team.

The creation of its Liberation Support Chefs team, offering flexible working, has had a big impact on back of house job satisfaction, and there has also been continuing success of Project Bok, its recruitment programme of South Africans with 35 recruits now thriving in a range of roles across the business. It is also reaping the rewards of focusing on recruiting more senior employees and successful partnerships with Springboard, Only A Pavement Away and Bristol’s Horfield Prison.

Liberation Group also continues to invest significantly in developing its training offer, with investments in the past year in schemes including its assistant manager and train the trainer programmes and tools to help ensure consistent operational standards.

Training sessions with The Burnt Chef Project have also proved invaluable as well as a big focus on creating an open culture where the wellbeing of team members is key.

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