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Case Study: Running a Pub

What’s the most important trait for running a pub? We asked Courtney Jones at the Beach House Bar and Grill, in sunny Maroochydore.

Courtney Jones has been in the hospitality industry for 10 years, having worked her way up from selling pizza to running the coastal-themed Beach House Bar and Grill located in the heart of the Sunshine Coast in Maroochydore, QLD. She manages the front and back-of-house teams, a total of 20 staff members.

The venue is part of the Beach House Bar and Grill franchise that includes 10 other sites based in Queensland. Courtney talked to us about the management of a venue with competing business priorities.

How would you describe your pub? It’s a bar and restaurant. We’re a little bit different to a typical hotel or pub in that our focus is mainly on food and we have a big restaurant area. We get a lot of foot traffic because we’re on a busy plaza, close to a cinema – a perfect position.

Who are your customers? All different kinds of people – we have our locals plus a lot of tourists passing through. We also do a ‘kids eat free’ Sunday, so at the weekend we have a lot of families here.

Why did you choose this venue? I was working at a different bar in the franchise when the opportunity came up to run this place and I jumped at the chance! I love my job, and I’m good at it – I love the team, I love the patrons – l love everything about it!

What’s the best piece of advice you would give someone thinking about buying? You have to have a lot of patience! It helps if you’re a sociable person. I’ve worked in this industry for 10 years, and I’ve learned to start conversations with anyone about anything. If you don’t talk to the patrons, you have no way of understanding what they want and how you can improve.

It’s also important to know how to manage a team and understand how the different areas of the venue work – operating a restaurant is very different to managing a bar. For example, the more strong-willed team members should work in the bar area. It’s easier if you’ve had experience in how each part operates – things will then tend to run more smoothly.

If you were going to buy a business now, what would you look for first? I’ve learned that it’s important to know your customers, so I wouldn’t start from scratch in another town. Buying a place where you already know the locals from working in a similar position would be my preference – people will come to you.

If you’re starting from scratch, then finding a prime location becomes the most important thing - you don’t want to be tucked away where no one can find you. You could promote, promote, promote, but it would be tough until you knew your customers. If you’re local, you know the regulars - who’s going to come in on which day, when you’re going to be busy when you need extra staff - it means you can provide a better service.

What strengths do you need to run a pub? It’s hard work to own a pub! You need a good work ethic. You also need to be organised and understand the legalities. For example, if you want to play music then you’ll need a music license – there’s a lot of paperwork. But if it’s something you want to do and you enjoy talking to people, the hard work and dedication will pay off.

Faye Ferris

About the author

APAC Sales & Marketing Director for, the world’s most popular website for buying and selling businesses globally and attracting over 1.2 Million visitors each month. To contact Faye please email [email protected]