Hawthorn Announces Latest Pub Partner Support Initiatives Ahead Of April Reopening

Hawthorn, The Community Pub Company, has revealed its latest package of support for Pub Partners and Operators ahead of the reopening of pubs in England on 12th April, and Scotland on the 26th. The new measures set out Hawthorn’s rent policy through until August 2021, support for its Operator Managed estate, and deals and incentives to help Partners get up and running and return to profitability as quickly as possible.

To enable as many of its Leased & Tenanted pubs as possible to reopen next month, Hawthorn will continue with current rent levels through to the end of May, with further reductions continuing throughout June and July, with Support Grants continuing to be available post-August for any pubs requiring extra assistance.

Under the new proposals, rent will be capped at around 30% until the end of May, before increasing to 50% in June and 75% in July before returning to 100% in August in-line with the expected gradual increase in trade.

Further measures being introduced to support Partners include cashback incentives on all purchases, enhanced credit terms and step-by-step re-opening guides, as well as Point of Sale provided to all pubs to enable to them to safely welcome back their Customers.

Hawthorn is also providing additional packages of support for its Operator Managed pubs, with around £550,000 worth of support to be paid to Operators at both trading and non-trading pubs, with funds covering labour costs, and being invested in outside areas to increase capacities.

Since March 2020, Hawthorn has provided more than £8m of support for its Partners and Operators, measures which helped Partner retention and ensured its pubs could bounce back quickly coming out of the first national lockdown, when its portfolio of community and suburban pubs outperformed the market in the 3-month period from July 4th 2020. As a result of the extensive support being offered this time around, the community pub company predicts that more than 300 – or around 60% – of its pubs in England will be open for trading on 12th April. A similar proportion of the Scottish estate is expected to trade on 26th April, while the company is awaiting further information about the roadmap for reopening in Wales.

Of Hawthorn’s L&T pubs set to reopen on 12th April, more than 30% have been beneficiaries of its Pub Partner Investment Fund (PPIF), introduced last year, where Hawthorn matches every £1 its Partners invest in outdoor space or increasing trading capacity, up to £10,000. To date, together Hawthorn and its Partners have invested over £500,000 in 110 schemes to add lighting, heating, and covers, and support Covid compliance in pubs across the estate.

In addition, Hawthorn has continued to invest in its estate throughout the pandemic through its CAPEX programme, with over £10 million spent in the past twelve months, and projects being brought forward during the latest lockdown. A large portion of this investment has gone into improving beer gardens and making as many of Hawthorns’ pubs as possible the best places for customers to enjoy a beer in long-awaited company.

Hawthorn’s ongoing support for its Pub Partners has been met with positive feedback. During the first lockdown, 97% of Partners & Operators said that Hawthorn met or exceeded expectations, and KAM Media’s recent Licensee Index saw Hawthorn outperform its peers across a wide range of categories, including COVID-19 support (9.2/10), quality of BDM (8.8), and likelihood to recommend the company to other publicans (8.3).

Hawthorn CEO, Mark Davies, said: “It is incredibly important to me and everyone at Hawthorn that we support our Partners and Operators to get back to full strength as quickly as possible. Our business is only successful if our Partners’ businesses are successful, and we hope this package of measures will help our pubs to bounce back stronger and more quickly. In the KAM Media Licensee Index, we improved across 49 out of 51 measures, which is testament to the team’s effort and focus over the past year.”