• Nearly a third of Star pub applications are for its managed operator pubs
• 40 managed operator immersive Discovery Days to be held in 2024
• 11 New Houses of Excellence training pubs created
To meet the surge of interest in its low cost, low risk managed operator Just Add Talent (JAT) agreements and hit its plan to reach 250 JAT pubs in the next three years, Star is launching a major recruitment and training drive.
This includes holding 40 Discovery Days to showcase the model, increasing its House of Excellence training pubs to 25 and expanding the Academy scheme for JAT team members wanting career progression to become their own boss.
Following a successful trial in 2023, JAT Discovery Days are being rolled out around the country in 2024. In a break from traditional licensee recruitment, the days are formatted to give attendees an in-depth understanding and experience of the managed operator model, rather than focused on recruiting for a specific vacancy. Held at a typical JAT pub, attendees sample the food menu and drinks, tour the pub to understand its operation, listen to an operator’s candid view of running a JAT pub and have the opportunity to ask questions of the JAT operator and Star personnel.
Interested candidates who pass the screening receive free training on operating a JAT pub without any obligation to proceed whilst they wait for a pub to become available. Worth £2,000, the package includes online training and workshops, followed by a five-day practical hands-on training workshop at one of Star’s JAT House of Excellence pubs.
To meet the demand to operate a JAT pub, eight of the 11 new Houses of Excellence, go live in January.
To aid staff retention for operators’ employees and provide a pipeline and career path for those interested in becoming JAT operators, Star’s JAT Academy provides personal development plans implemented at the member of staff’s workplace, online training and a residential course.
Says Hance McPherson, Head of Recruitment at Star Pubs & Bars: “There’s a real appetite in the hospitality industry for managed operator style pubs due in part to the uncertainty created by rising overheads and the cost-of-living crisis. Managed operator pubs allow those with limited funds to operate a pub with high support and low ingoings. They can also be a great steppingstone for those interested in taking on leased and tenanted pubs further down the line.
“We trialled Discovery Days and free training for potential JAT operators in 2023 with the option to wait until the right pub becomes available. Both have been a great success.
“The JAT Academy is a win-win for all. It’s fantastic for the individual, for recruitment and retention within the JAT estate and the wider hospitality industry.”
Case study: Abby Lawson
Abby Lawson, currently working as an Assistant Manager at The Hare & Hounds in Kidderminster, another JAT pub, signed up for the JAT Academy and is the first person to complete and pass the virtual training module. She is booked on the residential training course in January and will then be ready to take on her own JAT site.
Says Abby: “I moved from being a relief manager with another pub company to taking on an Assistant Manager role at a JAT pub because of the clear career path which is available. I like having an element of freedom within parameters and having a BDM on standby providing immediate support. Although I already work in a JAT pub and so have a good understanding of how it works, I found the course helpful, and it gave me an opportunity to talk to others in a similar situation.”