Star negotiates supplier deals as licensees prioritise cost-cutting

Star Pubs & Bars has set up an energy services partnership with Inspired Energy for licensees who are shopping around for better energy prices and finding it difficult to get quotes.

The initiative reduces electricity and gas bills by up to 10%. It is part of a trio of deals Star has negotiated for its licensees as they look to cut costs after 18 months of disrupted trade.

The package also includes discounts on Sky Ultimate with Sky TV as well as waste management and recycling with Biffa that will provide annual savings of £5.5k to the average pub.

The agreement with Inspired Energy comes at a time when licensees are reporting that, due to Covid, many energy companies view hospitality businesses as high risk. As a result, suppliers are either refusing to quote or are only offering higher tariffs and long contracts.

Some are also requiring security deposits. Under its scheme, Star bulk buys energy on behalf of its licensees and secures the best value rates for them.

The deals with Inspired Energy, Biffa and Sky are included in Star’s Buying Club, which uses the company’s purchasing power to secure competitive rates on products and services that would not be available to individual licensees.

The Buying Club now offers preferential terms with 20 suppliers ranging from Brakes to Paymentsense. Unusually in the leased and tenanted sector, Star both manages the supplier agreements – to ensure great service for licensees – and receives no financial remuneration from them.

Steve Dancer, Star Pubs & Bars’ Buying Director, said, “We know from talking to licensees around the country that cost reduction has never been more important. We want to do everything we can to make our pubs more sustainable by lowering their overheads.

'Taking advantage of the Buying Club deals on bigger expenses alone, could easily save at least £10,000 a year. All of the deals are optional, and it is up to licensees whether they participate.”

Jackie Fairburn (pictured) of The Hare & Hounds, West Ardsley, is benefitting from Star’s arrangement with Sky. She said, “Like many pubs, we are in debt due to all the lockdowns and restrictions. My aim is to pay off what I owe by the end of the year.

'I’m taking a two-pronged approach: I’m continuing to invest, so that I deliver an exceptional customer experience and increase sales, but I also need to reduce my outgoings wherever possible. Getting a 30% discount on Sky through Star Pubs & Bars is a real help.

'I’m making a substantial saving whilst enabling my customers to enjoy the new football season and generating additional trade for the pub.”