Frequently Asked Questions

Everything you need to to know about Pub Partners Agreements

Leased & Tenancy

How much will it all cost including any extras?

We'll agree the rent with you up front by considering all the terms of the tenancy and the potential profitability of the business. Once agreed, your rent, including VAT, will be paid weekly in advance by Direct Debit. The rent will be adjusted each year in line with movements in the Retail Price Index (RPI) but in the event of very high inflation we will cap the annual increase at 6%. We will also always increase the rent by a minimum of 2% each year even if inflation is lower When the tenancy starts, we will need a cash deposit from you to cover any unforeseen costs along the way. It's equivalent to 3 months' rent, we'll add interest over the years and if all's well at the end of the tenancy we will return to you. We might also ask for further money to obtain credit on trading terms. All rates and other bills including utilities will be down to you and you'll have to notify all suppliers of the tenancy change to avoid any confusion.

What can I use the property for?

The property must be used as a fully licensed public house, which means its main business is selling alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. You can also sell food to support the main business offer and, so long as your licence permits it, you can also offer takeaway services for drink and food.

What insurance will I need?

 You will be required to arrange insurance cover for contents including trade inventory, stock, all fixed glass, the premises licence, and employer's liability. You must also insure against third party and public liability, loss caused by interruption to the business and any loss of money. It sounds daunting but there's lots of help and advice out there – just ask and we'll point you in the right direction.

What products can I buy out of tie?

You can choose to be free of tie on some of the drink categories in exchange for payment of an annual fee for each category of drinks. These include conditioned wines, spirts, minerals and flavoured alcoholic beverages for example. If you do this, it will stay in force through the whole tenancy. Any tie release fees will be fixed at an agreed amount and reviewed each year in line with the Retail Price Index (RPI) and subject to the same minimum and maximum limits that apply to rent. This will be paid alongside your weekly rent. In the event that we, or any other landlord, exercise the unilateral tie release clause in the agreement the entire purchasing obligation will fall away you would have the ability to purchase all drinks on the open market in exchange for paying the agreed Full Tie Release Fee.

What about drinks discounts?

The drinks price list and any discount structure will be agreed from the start and will continue throughout the term. We may update prices, discounts, and products from time to time. We'll take payment for tied products on the rent day in the week following your delivery by way of Direct Debit. To make ordering easier, less costly, and more efficient, we will ask you to place stock orders with us online and be invoiced to reflect this.

Can I use gaming machines?

These are often referred to as fruit machines, amusement machines, jukeboxes, pool tables and the like. So long as you obtain the necessary permits (and your machine supplier can usually help you with this) you will be able to operate such machines under the terms of your tenancy without the need to enter into any agreements with us and you will be able to retain all the machine income after the payment of supplier rent and duty – you are free to negotiate terms with a supplier of your choosing.

Do you use any monitoring equipment?

Yes. We use a system to monitor draught products and to keep this equipment working well, we just ask that you allow us or the experts' access to the premises to install, inspect and maintain Flow Monitoring Equipment.

What about Fixtures and Fittings?

 Once we have agreed a valuation of the items included in what's called the 'loose trade inventory' you will have to repair and replace these items as necessary during the tenancy. If you own the inventory, then we may purchase it at valuation during or at the end of the term and offset the value against any money you may owe but you can't sell or charge the inventory to any third party. We will own Landlord's fixtures and fittings throughout the term.

Can I leave before the end of the 5-year period?

Yes, you'll be able to end the agreement during the first 6 months of the term, for any reason by giving us 6 months' notice. After this period there is no further option to break for either party for the remainder of the contractual term.

Can Stonegate Pub Partners terminate the tenancy?

No, we want to provide you with the certainty of a longer agreement so the only basis on which we would seek to terminate the agreement would be if you were in breach of the terms of your tenancy. We will only include a landlord clause by exception.

Please can you explain my repairing obligations?

We are responsible for all repairs to the exterior, structure, and services. If you notify us as soon as you are aware of any required repairs, we'll get it sorted as soon as possible so that we can both avoid further damage. You will be responsible for all other repairs and day to day maintenance. This includes things like drains, pipes, toilets etc. You'll also need to keep all car parks, access ways, gardens, play areas, landscaping, or other areas safe for the public to access, well maintained, clean, tidy and weed free. You'll also need to maintain and repair the interior and the fixtures and fittings. To keep the pub looking attractive, we'll agree the timings for you to redecorate the interior of the property. This will need to be done as often as needed and we might ask you to do this in the last 6 months of the term. We will redecorate the exterior as often as necessary to keep it looking attractive and welcoming. To help spread the cost, we'll ask you to pay an agreed amount per week to be put towards your decorating 'fund'. If you leave, and the premises are in a good state of decoration and all other accounts are up to date then we'll pay the balance of this fund to you. It's worth knowing that for your bigger plans you won't be able to carry out any structural alterations, but you may carry out non-structural alterations with our OK. It's worth bearing in mind we may ask that these alterations are reinstated at the end of the term. To keep you and the property in a safe condition, we will deal with compliance testing for health & safety, lifting equipment and gas & electrical safety. To cover the cost, we'll ask you to pay a service charge, paid weekly in addition to your rent. You'll pay a service charge for the cellar cooling maintenance and for the heating system maintenance and it means it's all taken care of.

Will you need to see my accounts and stock reports?

To make sure that you're keeping the business running well we'll ask you to use and pay for appropriate third-party accounting and stocktaking services from properly qualified suppliers. We might ask to see copies of any documentation that they prepare for you to make sure everything being run well and so that we can advise and help if you need it. We may also ask to see copies of your VAT returns & annual accounts from time to time.

What training do you offer?

We have a 2-day induction for anyone that takes on one of our pubs, focusing on areas such as: Finance, Marketing & Social media, Quality in drinks and cellar standards to name only a few. Our learning & development team have developed a suite of e-learning modules, videos and pub principles guides to help you through the lettings process, preparing for the day you take over your pub and beyond. These can all be accessed via PC, laptop, or mobile device at a time to suit you.

Craft Union

Will I be an employee of Craft Union Pub Company or Stonegate Group?

No, you will set up your own Limited Company and will therefore be self-employed. Craft Union is owned and operated by Stonegate Group, who you will be partnering with when you become a self-employed operator with Craft Union, however you will not be employed by Stonegate Group.

What is my earning potential?

As a self-employed operator with Craft Union, you will receive an Operator fee at 20% of the net revenue of all wet products (including bar snacks) sold at the pub. You will have the opportunity to receive 19.5% fixed weekly and an additional machine incentive earning at 0.5% of the wet revenue fee, based on Machine Refills being in line with 20% non-compliance target. The 0.5% additional incentive fee will be paid 4-weekly (periodically) on top of the 19.5% standard fee to make a total of 20%.

Profit Overachievement Incentive:

Our agreement also includes a 10% profit overachievement vs budget incentive for sites with average net weekly revenue over £14k net sales per

week, which will also be paid subject to the agreement remaining in force.

This incentive is focused on those high turnover sites that require more

resource to deliver and will be paid quarterly instead of every 6 months.

What are the ingoing costs and are there any other costs that the Ltd company are responsible for?

Your ingoing costs are a set £2000 bond. We do not ask our Operators to

invest their own money into our pubs. You will also be required to pay a

weekly fee to cover the highest level of combined insurance in relation to

the Business which will cover you for public and employers liability, business

interruption and your domestic contents amongst other risks. We require the

Service Provider Ltd company to pay for the full amount of the policy. This will be charged on a weekly basis against the management fee payments at a cost of £28.66 per week.

Other costs that are the responsibility of the Ltd Company are the payment

of council tax and TV license on the private accommodation, your own

contents insurance (for your personal possessions), and any other financial

responsibilities of the Limited Company.

Is accommodation provided for myself and my family?

Yes, you will be provided with the accommodation above the pub. If the pub doesn’t have on-site accommodation, alternatives will be discussed.

Am I responsible for stock ordering, paying for stock, and stock audits?

As an Operator you are responsible for ordering stock and ensuring product

availability for customers. You will manage stock in the business and

complete regular in-house stock checks to assist with the management

of stock. Craft Union will complete stock audits on a regular basis using

our own audit team.

Do I pay for my own security and entertainment?

No, Craft Union will cover agreed upon costs for security and entertainment.

Who is responsible for employing staff in the pub?

The Operator's limited company employs all the staff. The operator is

responsible for employing, training, and paying all their own staff. The

operator decides labour hours and pay.

How long is the contract?

There are no fixed terms to our

agreements.

What is the notice period?

The agreement can be brought to an end by the Ltd. Company or Craft

Union by providing 4 weeks’ notice. This notice period will increase by 1

week after every year of service to a maximum of 8 weeks. For those sites

deemed high profit, the parties will need to give not less than 8 weeks’

notice to terminate.

Who looks after repairs in the pub?

Craft Union are responsible for repairs.

Do the pubs have set opening and closing times? Who decides these times?

All pubs have mutually agreed opening and closing times.

Can I run multiple venues with Craft Union?

Due to the nature of our proposition, Craft Union do not work with multiple

operators. This allows our operators to focus on running one pub and

immersing themselves into that pub and the surrounding community.

How do I apply to work with Craft Union?

If you’re ready to apply to work with us, you can check out all our current

opportunities online here.

Our recruitment process begins with a short phone interview with one of our dedicated Recruitment Partners, who will happily answer any of your questions and talk you through our agreement in more detail. This is then followed by a first stage interview with a Regional Manager, the production of an operating plan for the business, and finished with a final stage interview with an operations manager.

What Training & Support will I receive?

All new operators undergo a comprehensive training and induction

programme to ensure you are set up for success. This includes a two-week inhouse training programme at a centre of excellence, followed by a 3-month support plan, to continue your learning in your pub. During your two weeks in a centre of excellence you can expect to buddy up with a brilliant fellow operator who will provide you with all the knowledge you need from how our systems work to processes you’ll follow.

Following this, your Regional Manager will work with you to create a 3-month post onboarding plan tailored to you. This will include a range of things such as coaching audits, stock taking, social media training and much more.

Commercial Properties

What are the ingoing costs?

Initial ingoing funding requirements vary from site to site. As a Commercial Tenant, you are expected to be well funded. You will need to have the equivalent of 3 months’ rent as a deposit, and 3 months’ rent is payable in advance. In addition, there will be the trade fixtures and fitting to purchase, at valuation, and working capital, including initial stock.  In addition, and most importantly, you need to able to demonstrate that you have the funds available for any planned investment in terms of repairs, refurbishment, refitting and rebranding, and replacement fixtures & fittings.

How is the rent assessed?

The rent is agreed by negotiation. This will be the open market rent having regard to other recent comparable free of tie lettings, and our assessment of Fair Maintainable trade, but also reflects your forecast turnover and projected income. It will also reflect any planned or required investment. We need to be satisfied that the rent is both affordable, and sustainable, having regard to your forecast P & L and Business Plan.

How is the rent payable?

The rent is payable quarterly in advance. VAT is payable in addition. Rent is payable by Direct Debit. If payments are not made by Direct Debit an administrative charge may be applied to your account.

What other outgoings will I have?

In addition to the rent, we also recharge the Buildings Insurance premium. All other outgoings, including rates payable, community charge, and all utility bills, with be the Tenants responsibility.

Do I have to purchase any products from Stonegate?

No, you are completely free of tie. You have no obligation to purchase from our nominated Suppliers. You have the freedom to source and purchase from your own Supplier. We do however offer very competitive and preferential rates if you do choose to purchase from our free of tie price list, using our own distribution network.

Are commercial leases assignable?

Yes, you can assign the lease, and realise the value of the lease, and your goodwill, and also any voluntary improvements, after the first 2 years. This is subject to our approval of the proposed assignee and the usual Credit checks.

What term of lease is offered?

Our standard lease is 10 or 20 years, but we can offer 15 years, or even 25 years, by exception, if the Tenant is undertaking a substantial investment.

What is my earning potential?

There is no limit to your earning potential under a Commercial Lease. You will directly benefit from all your hard work, any investment in the property, and your personal goodwill. Many of our Commercial Tenants are multiple operators, further increasing their earning potential. Voluntary improvements and extending the trading area, or adding letting bedrooms, will also increase the earning potential.

What deposit do you require?

We require a minimum of 3 months’ rent deposit. An increased deposit may be required in certain circumstances.

How do I progress my interest in a commercial property?

If you’re interested, you can submit your pub specific enquiry online. This will be followed up by a short telephone interview with our specialist Recruitment Team, followed by a discussion with one of our Commercial Estates Managers who can further discuss the relevant business proposal and next steps.

Recruitment Process

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