Buying Guides

Buying A Pub Guide - Expert Advice From Pub Landlady Liz Hore

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As part of our series on buying a business, we’ve interviewed Liz Hore of the award winning Victoria Inn in Salcombe about running her own pub with her husband Tim and advice for first time buyers looking at pubs for sale. Liz also runs a blog documenting the day to day running of the Victoria Inn.

How did you get started in the pub trade?

I fell in love with man who was a publican and as this is his life, I naturally got brought into the pub business. I love this business and have a real passion for the pub trade - much better than my old civil servant career!

What type of pub do you run in terms of brewery, freehold, leasehold, etc?

We run a tenancy pub with St Austell brewery. As real ale enthusiasts we are proud to hold the Cask Marque award, we are delighted to be able to offer a selection of great ales from St Austell including the award winning Tribute. We have also started offering the choice of a guest Ale which varies from week to week.

From your own experience what are the most enjoyable aspects of running a pub?

Definitely been your own boss. Previously I had worked for the council so this is a long way from working in that environment! I love the freedom to make decisions and running the front of house - I love the social aspect of the business. You really must be a people person to run your own pub.

If you buy a thriving pub or grow a pub then you can really earn a very good wage. The Victoria Inn did over 17,000 meals in the summer. It is nice to get to the end of the season and realise that you can afford to do nice things and buy a new car.

And what are the challenges?

Often customers come into the pub and say that they want to do what we do. I quickly point out that this is not a job, it is a way of life. You really live this business 24/7. If you make plans to go out, you must always be on call in case a member of staff cannot come into work. This is something we plan to address moving forward by bringing in a professional management team as the pub has grown from 15 staff to 34.

You can live with most of the challenges by simply having a home away from the pub. This ensures that there is a clear separation between work and home.

How do you meet your customer’s needs?

I have three main ways that we ensure the Victoria Inn continues to thrive and meets our customers’ needs:

  • Stay in touch with the trade issues by reading all of the trade press weekly.
  • Become active in the British Institute of Inn keeping (BII).
  •  Always taste test any new product, meal or anything else that you feel might increase sales.

What piece of advice would you give to someone looking to run their first pub?

  • Be sure of your finances before buying or taking a tenancy.
  • If in a relationship, work hard at finding time away from the pub.
  • Don’t drink too much! We never drink on the job.
  • Enjoy each and every day, it’s a very rewarding business to be in.


If you’re looking to buy a pub take a look at our pubs for sale.