The Key Skills You Need To Run A Successful Pub

August 13, 2022
Photo by Alexander Popov on Unsplash

Many people dream of running their own pub one day. You might have romantic visions of pulling pints with locals, serving hearty food to hungry customers, and hosting the best pub quiz around. But as with any small business, there’s a much broader range of skills you’ll need to succeed as an owner.

It’s a tough job too, with steadily declining pub numbers in the UK highlighting the serious challenges that even well-established venues face. So what are the areas you need to excel in to give your pub the best chance to thrive?

People skills

It almost goes without saying that all good pub landlords need to be friendly and welcoming to the public. People skills are vital for all hospitality businesses – especially those that might rely heavily on loyal locals.

You’ll also need to handle staff in the same manner while setting clear boundaries and a positive example to those just getting started in the industry.

Business know-how

Now, this isn’t to say that you need to have run your own business before. But general business acumen is vital for pub owners, as you’ll need to turn a profit at the end of the day.

This means having a good understanding of financial management, business planning and marketing to name a few. Many established chains offer in-depth training courses on such topics.

Food and drinks knowledge

While you might have your own favourite tipples, it’s important to have a broad knowledge of what drinks are popular and how they should be served. Cellar skills are crucial here, as incorrect drink storage can sour your stock.

Food hygiene knowledge is another essential if you plan to serve food (and stay legally compliant!).


There’s lots of admin that comes with running a pub, such as obtaining and updating licenses in line with the Licensing Act 2003. You’ll also want to arrange specialist cover, as taking out accurate and comprehensive insurance for a pub is vital should disaster strike.

All these legal requirements make strong organisational skills a must-have.


As your business grows, you’ll need to accept that you can’t do everything yourself. That means getting comfortable with delegating and learning how to do it well.

Communication skills are important again here, as you’ll need to delegate in a way that leads to tasks being completed to the standard you expect.

Do you think you’d make a great pub landlord? With the risk skills in your arsenal, you just might be right.

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