Larrikins, Drunks And Entrepreneurs Rejoice: Here’s How To Open A Pub

Phase two of Telstra’s Imaginarium, The Idea Incubator, has begun. 15 applicants were selected from the last round to flesh out their ideas over the next eight weeks. INTENSE STUFF. Telstra’s Imaginarium has given applicants, at all stages of the initiative, invaluable advice, networks and resources that’ll give them one hell of a leg-up. You can see the amazing stuff they’re up to here. To even the playing field slightly, we thought we’d supply you with some tips and tricks for all you soon to be pub owners. 

Pubs are as Australian as it gets.

We need places that serve cold frothies, stiff spirits and hearty meals. Without them our country would be NOTHING – NOTHING I TELLS YOU. 
Because we *<3* these locales, it’s only natural that a few ‘Strayans (namely, you reading this) want a piece of the parmi. 
To help you on your journey to pub-ownership – AKA embracing your new title as a publican – we spoke with our mate, Jaime Wirth
The 33 year-old knows the business through and through. He’s the owner of Drink’n’Dine, the umbrella enterprise which oversees places such as The NorfolkThe ForrestersQueeniesHouse of Crabs and The Oxford Tavern
Just with any business, you’re going to need something about your pub to stand out in what is now (especially in NSW) an extremely saturated market.
“You need a strong idea – that doesn’t mean it has to be themed but you have to know what sort of pub you are. Are you a Mexican pub, are you a gastro pub, are you a neighbourhood pub. There’s so many different types of pubs and bars,” says Jaime. 
Jaime stresses the importance of choosing your concept wisely and being able to condense it into one, short sentence for clarity. 
“Pick it and stick to it.” 
“If you try and be every type of bar to every person you kind of end up being nothing.”

Mistakes are bound to happen in any venture. 
“It’s the name of the game – we’ve made a lot.”
Jaime bought into his first pub, The Flinders, without any experience in the industry. However, it was a huge success, and one of Jaime’s business partners recognised that they were in a position to expand their operations. 
“We began the process of taking over these old, run down pubs, taking the pokies out and making them about food and booze.” 
This might seem ridic/untrue but it’s literally possible to expand too quickly. 
Everything was guns blazing with Jaime and his partners – they were opening pubs left, right and centre. Jaime admits he got a tad addicted to the adrenaline rush, taking unnecessary risks which didn’t work out.
Jaime’s biggest mistake was opening a large bar in King’s Cross – essentially the furthest you can get from a chilled out pub.
“We should have only just done the things we were like ‘okay, we know this is a home-run and it’s going to work.”

“It was a good lesson in sticking to what you know.”


Jaime says he couldn’t imagine going into business – especially one that involves so many facets of management, like hospitality – without a solid backing. 
He stresses the importance of feedback and how necessary it is for someone to honestly tell you that your idea is shit. 
Operating a pub, let alone several, will require a fair amount of staff in-house (bartenders, managers and chefs) but his crew in the office is quite small. 
“We run a bigger scale small business – maybe if we had ten hotels it would be a bit different.”
Most of the office staff spend their time on-location, talking with staff and ensuring the smooth delivery of sweet, sweet alcohol – perfect for those who loathe being cooped up all day. 
If you want to hear more insights from Jaime then click ze link here.
May the journey to pub-ownership be a prosperous one.
All images via The Forresters.