Punch Taverns has opened a pair of managed houses, but purely as a way to train new licensees.
Chief executive Duncan Garrood told Inapub that the 3,300-strong pubco has opened two managed premises, in Sheffield and Solihull. However, it has no plans for a national estate – unlike pubco rival Enterprise which this week celebrated its 100th managed pub.
Instead, from next month, Punch plans to start using the sites - known as Punch Signature pubs to train new lessees and tenants.
Speaking at the Punch Taverns roadshow at London's Excel, Garrood said: "In order to help bring the maximum level of success to our incoming publicans we need to train them, particularly if they are from outside the industry.
"There is still, regrettably, even in the leased and tenanted sector, a failure rate that is higher than any of us would want for people leaving because they don't like the lifestyle of running a pub.
"We want to give people the chance to work in a pub under our management control so they are learning, in our view, the best practice on how to run those pubs. Firstly they can learn best practice but also see if they like the lifestyle."
He added that he anticipated Punch would end up with "no more than two handfuls" of managed pubs. "We aim to have one in every major geographically dispersed urban centre," he said.
Internally Punch has also started a new scheme called 'Work in a Pub' to give every employee the opportunity to spend at least one day a year at the coalface. Garrood himself has already put in a few shifts.
Click on the video above to see how he ended up cleaning the toilets on his first day.
He said: "Some people (at Punch) were quite daunted at first but everyone has got something out of it.
"My first job was cleaning the toilets. I also did the line-cleaning, worked in the kitchen and served. I loved it. It reinforces that this is not an easy job and it brings home the variety of tasks you have to do which customers at a pub, quite rightly, have no idea of."
Garrood added that it's low-cost entry Falcon agreement was continuing to grow with 250 deals expected to be signed by August next year. There are currently just over 100 Falcon sites in the UK - including The Green Man in Willington, Derbyshire.
The deal sees Punch take care of the majority of bills and admin leaving the licensee to focus on staffing and hospitality.