Nick Griffin, CEO of the recently formed Licensees Association explains how the new organisation will help independent licensees.
I was asked the other day why our wonderful industry needs The Licensees Association. “after all Nick, we already have the BII”.
Indeed we do, but I wonder if the same question is asked of the BBPA or UK Hospitality? After all, many of their members will also be members of our industry professional body. There’s the rub, The Licensees Association is a not for profit trade association. Its remit, to represent its membership in the same way UK Hospitality and the BBPA represent their members, a job they both do well. The BII has the role of raising standards across our industry and it has done an amazing job in doing so since it was formed in 1981 and long may it continue to do so.
Sometimes the independent publican and small multiple operator has been poorly served by our industry. The ALMR picked up some of this slack, but as they have morphed into UK Hospitality can we really expect them to fully understand and represent our independent publicans and managers? Of course not, whilst there may be some cross-over, the issues faced by independent publicans require a trade association dedicated solely to them, which understands the very real and specific needs of this integral part of the hospitality sector.
Where there’s a crossover The Licensees Association will work alongside others, supporting their efforts. UK Hospitality on business rates reform, the BBPA and Long Live The Local on Beer Duty and others all deserve the recognition of a job well done, but we have more to do and will add our weight to their causes. However, there remain areas where The Licensees Association needs to take the lead, areas of greater concern to the independent publican: the use of the discredited Retail Price Index (RPI), the bizarre fair maintainable trade assessments that are used to dictate business rates and rents – and a plethora of other issues all hit publicans in the pocket year in year out.
We aim to be the voice of the independent publican when lobbying government, the go-to association when they want the views of those who run our pubs day in, day out. This army of small businesses needs to be understood by those in the corridors of power and their views should no longer solely be represented by organisations and associations that also represent other sectors of our industry.
Whilst lobbying is of great importance The Licensees Association isn’t a one-trick pony. We recognise that publicans and managers in our industry are extremely busy business people and time is precious to them. A trade association designed specifically with them in mind allows for a trusted one-stop-shop for advice. Whether a leaseholder looking for advice on a rent review or a freeholder wanting assistance with their business rates we are ready and willing to help. We want members to pick up the phone or drop us an email, no longer do they need to run their pubs like they are operating in a vacuum.
Finally, we recognise that profit is king when running a business and The Licensees Association has the unique opportunity to create the largest buying group in the sector. Through our Trusted Trader Scheme, suppliers of both services and goods will be vetted for their excellence and in return, we’ll give them exclusivity and consequently be able to drive prices down for all our members and ensure that joining The Licensees Association isn’t a cost but a genuine benefit that more than pays for itself. Giving access to both the best in field suppliers and the best cost prices to those running the nation’s pubs ensuring they remain competitive and improve their bottom lines. Saving members time and money and making running a pub rewarding both emotionally and financially. Drop me a line (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let’s talk.
I promise we can make it worth your while.