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Interview with Connor McDiarmid, Ale Hub Franchisor


  • Name: Connor McDiarmid
  • Franchise: Ale Hub Limited

Tell us a bit about yourself

I am a law graduate with a background in ecommerce. I wanted to move away from an office-based job as I enjoy talking and working with people, so together with my family we started Ale Hub. Working in the hospitality industry is a great fit for me as you get to meet lots of different people. In my spare time I am a big football fan, Birmingham City being the team I support (unfortunately)!

My primary role at Ale Hub is to oversee the nine pubs, making sure everything is working properly and all the staff are happy.

Can you tell us about the Ale Hub business?

We opened our first pub in September 2020 during the pandemic which came with a lot of challenges! This was a time when people were not allowed to stand up unless they were going to the toilet and table service was mandatory. It was a steep learning curve, but it allowed us to learn the required lessons to create a durable business model than can thrive even during difficult economic times.

We are a community pub group. We are looking for our first franchisee as we feel we can grow more quickly and sustainably using franchisees local knowledge of where an Ale Hub would be best placed. Currently we are based in the Midlands so we are looking to expand out from there.

Our pubs are entirely wet-led so the focus is on quality and customer service. This is what sets us apart from our competitors as most large pub chains are focused on selling food and the environment is not well suited to people who just want to have a few drinks in a relaxed and friendly setting.

We are a premium pub so our target market is those people who are happy to pay a little bit more for a better overall experience, in terms of quality and atmosphere.

Why is a Ale Hub franchise a great investment for potential franchisees?

We are offering a proven business model that has been honed across our nine pubs. We have established what needs to be done in order to fill the pub and maximise profits from day one. Since we have opened during COVID we have bucked the trend of pubs closing down and shown that people do want a local community pub that focuses on quality as opposed to generic chain pubs.

What differentiates Ale Hub from the competition?

We are a unique proposition as there are currently no other small pub franchises on the market in the UK. Some of the big corporate chains refer to their offers as franchises, however they are not in the traditional sense. They are more like profit share arrangements as opposed to being a business that is solely owned by the Franchisee.  

What is the role of one of your franchisees?

Our Franchisees would be the face of their local Ale Hub. It would be their role to build and maintain relationships with customers whilst maintaining the quality of the drinks and the cleanliness of the pub. The Franchise Manager would have regular contact with the Franchisee to support them in growing their business.

What qualities do you look for in a franchisee? 

Our ideal Franchisee would be an outgoing people who is keen to talk to people in their community and build relationships with customers. They would also need a good head for business and numbers to maximise the opportunity.

What other challenges have you had to overcome and adapt to over the years in your franchise and the industry in general?

As mentioned earlier we opened during COVID which was a big challenge, but we have also continued to grow throughout the cost-of-living crisis, where people have had to make difficult choices on where to spend their money. Although the general coverage of the pub industry is negative, we and other brands within the hospitality industry who are do things a bit different to the norm have shown that people do still value their local pubs. The crucial part is getting the offering right and providing people with what they want.

What have been the company’s biggest achievements to date so far?

Being able to grow to nine owner-operated pubs despite multiple economic challenges has been our biggest achievement. We opened our first pub during the pandemic which was a difficult time for the industry, and it allowed us to develop a durable business model.  

What does the future hold for Ale Hub?

We would like to open 4 new Franchises this year with a view to opening 5 the following year. Sustainable growth is key, we want to provide the necessary support for our Franchisees and if we open too many too quickly then that becomes more of a challenge.

We see Ale Hub as being a national Franchise within the next 5 years. Internationally may be trickier with the traditional British pub being iconic, however who knows what the future holds?

Interested and want to know more about Ale Hub?

The Ale Hub profile outlines all aspects of their franchise opportunity and allows you to contact them for further information or to ask a question.

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