Refuse Collection – don’t assume the existing arrangements for refuse collection will continue once you takeover the pub. For instance, I have taken on pubs where the refuse collection company refuse to continue for whatever reason, but have had to under the contract they had with the previous owner. They are not obliged to continue any arrangement/pricing with you. Changeovers at pubs tend to generate a huge amount of extra rubbish, if necessary arrange for a one-off collection of rubbish or other waste material (cooking oil is a good example) as dealing with all the extra waste can be problematic.
Marketing & Advertising – whether you choose to go for soft or hard launches of your new pub business or whether you choose to wait a while to promote your offering when you’ve bedded in a little you’ll need to have created a Marketing Plan and lined up your website, social media accounts, leaflets, banners, in-house marketing material, chalkboards and in some cases paid for advertising.
Top Tip – tying your official launch in to fundraising for a local charity is a great way to generate positive PR for your pub, engage with your local community and create the all important word of mouth which is worth inestimably more than any paid for advertising campaign. Don’t skimp on this first PR opportunity, think of it as an investment on which you’ll get a return in the short and long term.
Weights and Measures (signs and compliance) – make sure you and your staff are totally aware of and adhere to all the legislation and regulations relating to Weights and Measures and have all the necessary signage in place to comply with the law.
Performing Rights For Music (PRS), Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) and TV Licences – unless your pub is going to be totally music free, which some pubs do choose as part of their USP, you’ll need both these licences to play even background music. Don’t be tempted to skip these as the fines for not being properly licensed could cripple your business.
You will require a separate TV Licence for your trading areas if you show TV programming, the licence you have for your private accommodation doesn’t cover the public areas of your pub.
Regulatory / Legislative signage (fire, H&S, hygiene, smoking, etc) – make sure you have the required signage up as soon as possible, it won’t be long before the police pay you a “courtesy” visit or the EHO comes calling after you register with your local council as a food premises.
Phone Numbers of Essential Contacts/Suppliers – if you haven’t been given a list of these numbers by the outgoing publican then make sure you compile this list for use by you and your staff. Remember if it can go wrong it will go wrong (at some point) and being able to respond to all eventualities by getting the help you need quickly can save you a great deal of time and money.
Telephone handover of line(s), number confirmation – telecoms companies are notorious for ceasing telephone lines and not transferring telephone numbers when businesses change hand. Make it one of your priorities to make sure the landline(s) are up and running as soon as possible. Even though you might prefer using your mobile phone, the majority of credit/debit card processing terminals rely on a land line, as will your pub’s wifi service or in some cases your intruder/fire alarm systems.
Keys, Lock Changes, Alarm Code – my advice to all pub operators is to ensure external door locks are re-keyed on changeover day as one never knows who has copies of any keys one receives. Ensure the locks to high-value stock areas such as your wine and spirit store(s), the office and private quarters are also re-keyed. Many doors are protected by alpha-numeric code pads instead of keys, as are burglar alarms and some safes, so make sure these are changed on the day too. Copies of keys and door/alarm codes should be restricted to an absolute minimum.
Top Tip – if you are inheriting early morning cleaning contractors then contact them before the end of changeover day to make arrangements for them to collect new keys or be on hand in the morning when they arrive to work.
CCTV – make sure any CCTV system is working and there are spare tapes/recording disks available, along with the operating manual and any security codes associated with the system. If there’s time get the outgoing publican to show you how it works.
Cash and Change for Tills and Games/Vending Machines – unless you’ve made arrangements with the outgoing owners/tenants to “buy” their till floats, their share of amusement/vending machine hoppers, change and safe floats you’ll need to arrange with your business bank to draw these monies.
PDQ Machines for Credit/Debit Cards (manual back up on-site) – make sure your credit/debit card machine(s) work and are connected and that a manual card impression machine (and a supply of paper card transaction slips) is on site just in case their are any glitches with the installation of new or handover of existing terminals.
Top Tip – make sure you’ve got spare receipt rolls for your credit/debit card processing machine and that any hand-held devices are fully charged.