Q&A with Wadworth Operations Director, Mark Fulton

Written by
HJUK Marketing 2022
Wadworth - Leased & Tenancy

17 Oct 2022

17 Oct 2022 • by HJUK Marketing 2022

Mark Fulton, Operations Director at Wadworth shares his experience and advice on how best to start managing a Great British pub. Mark delves into the challenges along with the successes you may find when working alongside Wadworth pubs.  

Tell us about your first job in hospitality? 

I worked in and then ran the College Bar at University, but I'm not sure that technically counts as hospitality.  A few years after university when I moved to London, I took a job as a member of bar staff at The Counting House on Cornhill.  It is a beautiful pub in The City, I loved the job and I loved the training opportunities that Fuller's offered - and their people centric approach.  

Why did you choose a career with Wadworth? 

After I left Fuller’s, I looked at a wide range of opportunities but I knew that an opportunity at another family brewer would suit me well.  During a Zoom interview with the MD, Toby I bought into his vision and knew that the opportunity at Wadworth was a hugely exciting one.  

How many pubs do you have and how many pub managers do you look after? 

We have 131 Leased & Tenanted pubs and 19 Managed Houses. What do you think is the biggest challenge of running a pub?  Recruitment and Retention - it is so hard to find good team members these days and if you don’t have the right environment in which all members of your team (full time and part time) feel as though they can thrive and enjoy their work, then people won’t hang around long and you will be constantly recruiting for the same roles.  The Hospitality Industry isn’t a career choice for everyone, but we have a duty to look after all our team and provide them with the best opportunities irrespective of how long they intend to work with us. You never know, if you look after them, they may stay around for longer than they had planned.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to invest and run a pub? 
It is imperative to get off on the right foot and as a result we have a very thorough interview process (to ensure they are right for that business and set up for success both financially and operationally) and an in depth induction programme (which involves experts in cellar/ tech services, food safety, H&S etc visiting the sites - it also includes two face to face training courses in Marketing and Financial Success).  Beyond that our strength lies in the bespoke approach that our RDMs take to each business – there is no single right way to support people running pubs and each person / team (with different backgrounds, different levels of experience) needs something different.  Our RDMs are the key to the success of the people running the pubs and the RDMs will always be looking for different ways to support and guide them – we are a close team at Wadworth and whether the required support is around food, beer, wine, marketing, property, HR, ER, Recruitment etc there is always someone at Wadworth on hand that the RDMs can turn to help provide additional guidance and support.

What type of person do you try and attract to run a pub? 
Someone with a 'can do' attitude.  This industry throws up different situations and different challenges every day and whether we are looking for someone in Leased & Tenanted or in Managed we need people that are willing to challenge the status quo, try new things (and not be afraid of failing at a few) and roll their sleeves up and get stuck in.


Why should someone choose a career with Wadworth? 
Because of our people - because they genuinely and passionately care.  We have beautiful pubs/ hotels in stunning locations - and that will always help attracting people to Wadworth, but our people, their willingness to succeed and their desire to see others succeed is what I believe will mean that people will continue to want to work with us in the future.

What are you most excited about for the year ahead? 
Seeing our businesses and the people running them succeed.  We have been through a huge amount of internal change in the last few years and there are still so many exciting projects happening and soon to be launched within Wadworth.  The end goal for all of those projects is for our people and all of our pubs and hotels to thrive and prosper.  So many of our businesses are set up well for success that I know, even with everything that is being thrown at this industry at the moment we have many talented, tough, resilient, entrepreneurial people running our pubs that this is a hugely exciting year ahead.

Click here to view Pub Management opportunities with Wadworth

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Wadworth - Leased & Tenancy