When Joanne MacPhee and Christos Papadopoulos took over at the Plough Inn at Nettleham, they began a journey that in 2020 saw them scoop three top prizes at the brewery’s annual Rewarding Success Awards, when their pub was crowned as ‘Batemans Pub of the year’, ‘Best Pub for Sales Growth’ and also won the ‘Best Rural Floral Display’.

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The Steps to Success

According to Profit Partnership Manager and Head Judge, Chris Jones, Joanne & Christos’ comprehensive win is due to their ability to deliver excellence and drive return in three distinct areas. He also points out that they have benefited directly from their award winning efforts, thanks to Batemans unique Profit Partnership ethos.

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The good news is that any Batemans pub can emulate what The Plough has achieved. Which means that the door is wide open for other tenants to be in with a chance of being on the podium at next years’ awards.

Chris said, ‘When we judge an award like ‘Publican of the Year’, we’re looking for a team including the staff who can demonstrate outstanding achievement across a range disciplines that are essential to running an excellent pub.

‘Joanne and Christos got the basics absolutely right and then built on that foundation by working extremely hard on a series of initiatives that added real value to the whole customer experience and drove a great financial return on their efforts.

‘In time, the core & long term quality of their operation meant that sales growth naturally followed. What visitors to The Plough can see and experience today is simply the culmination of the hard work and un-relenting attention to detail that emanates from everything this management team do.’

Chris has broken Plough’s success down into six elements across three areas, to give other publicans a straightforward road map to success…


First Build a Quality Foundation of Food & Drink

One of the first things you’ll notice when you visit The Plough is the authentic Greek Menu. Christos has worked extremely hard to create and maintain a reputation for his excellent menu and that’s directly impacted the popularity of his pub.  People travel from miles away to eat at The Plough. Quoting one reviewer on TripAdvisor (where the Plough claims a 4.5* rating alongside their TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence, awarded for years of good reviews)…

‘The food tasted amazing. Great choice on the menu. Lots of variety and different unique options. Good vegetarian dishes too. Can’t wait to go back.’

Christos & Joanne then backed the food offer up with an excellent selection of drinks (including our amazing Batemans Beers, obviously). Whilst they were at it, they managed to maintain a consistent 5* EHO score for the cleanliness of their kitchen.


Then Make Sure Your Service and Atmosphere Are Un-beatable

So, people come for the food, but when they arrive customers are also delighted by the attentive staff and friendly atmosphere.  Christos’ example in customer service clearly inspires his whole team.  It’s rumoured that almost no one who visits escapes his attention.  This is evidenced in 300+ Google reviews, where The Plough claims a 4.6* rating.  Virtually every review mentions…

…great friendly staff and lovely atmosphere… Lovely friendly atmosphere… Brilliant staff and great atmosphere.

The un-intrusive but attentive service is delivered in a clean, tidy and great looking pub.  This was proven by the face that Joanne & Christos also won the 2020 award for the ‘Best Floral Display for a rural Batemans pub’.  Their summer flower display was absolutely stunning and sets the scene for a visit to The Plough, before a guest even gets a foot in the door.


Finally Play Smart with the Support on Offer

Given their success it’s no coincidence that Christos and Joanne are one of the biggest movers and shakers on Batemans ‘Endeavour Points’ scheme.  Endeavour Points are awarded by Batemans for a range of value added initiatives that tenants undertake to make their pub stand out.  From having an attractive flower display, to attaining exceptional standards in cellar management, to efforts in charitable fundraising… there are plenty of ways to build up a healthy Endeavour Point balance.

The Plough spend their Endeavour Points on super smart staff uniforms and a range of other added value items.  All of this helps their bottom line as it drives expense from their P&L.

Thanks to Batemans unique Profit Partner Ethos, as the pub has grown its wet sales (barrelage has risen from 175 Brls PA to over 500 Brls PA in the last five years) Christos & Joanne have directly benefited from the rise in throughput.  As the wet and dry offer have grown, Christos & Joanne have not had a rent review, have continued to benefit from free trade cash and carry pricing and have also had the benefit of free training at Batemans accredited training centre in Wainfleet.

As Christos Said, ‘The support we get from Batemans has played a significant part in our success over the years.  The Profit Partnership approach does what it says on the tin.  We are motivated as we are directly rewarded for our work in building the business we love.’


Six Steps to Pub Heaven

So, there you have it, the formula for success is clear… hard work plus consistent attention to detail plus Profit Partnership = financial benefits for all.

In conclusion, here are the six rungs on The Plough’s stairway to pub, awards and financial success.

  • Get your food offer right and maintain the quality.
  • Back this up with an exceptional range of quality drinks. Exceptional cellar management is a must.
  • Good customer service must be almost second nature.
  • Make sure your pub looks the best it can, every day.
  • Play it smart, take advantage of all the help on offer from Endeavour Points to free training.
  • Enjoy the benefits and share the rewards of your hard work by working with Batemans Profit Partnership team.

We’re not saying it’s easy, running a pub this good obviously requires a lot of effort.  But if you’re going to do it, this is not a bad template to follow.


Find Out How You Can Emulate The Plough

If you’re interested in running a Batemans pub, want to know more about Batemans Profit Partnership scheme or would just like a few tips on how you can get on the podium at next years’ awards… please contact Batemans Profit Partnership team on 01754 880317 or review the information on the Profit Partnership pages of our website.

Find out about Profit Partnership >