Skip to main content
21st February 2024

Stonegate Group sets new records with surge in publican partner applications

Stonegate Group, the UK’s largest pub company, is celebrating a record-breaking year in 2023, with the highest number of Publican partner enquiries to date due to its refined new recruitment website and strategic marketing activity.

The company’s commitment to supporting aspiring Publicans has resulted in a 46% surge in enquiries compared to the previous year, with over 600 enquiries received in one period (four weeks) alone.

Fuelled by its mission to be the partner of choice for Publicans in the UK, Stonegate has transformed its partner recruitment approach. Its consolidated website seamlessly integrates opportunities across Craft Union and leased and tenanted estates, streamlining the application process for prospective partners. Enhanced self-search functionality empowers applicants to effortlessly discover opportunities tailored to their preferences and backgrounds, ensuring a perfect match between operator and venue.

Coupled with Stonegate Group’s advancements in its partner portal, Pub-Hub, and Publican induction and training opportunities, the company continue to strive for partner success, ensuring existing and new Publicans have the tools and support needed to run a successful business.

Increased engagement and partner applications have also been achieved through the company’s strategic marketing initiatives, including targeted social media campaigns and promotions at the end of 2023. Campaigns on Black Friday and the ’12 Days of Christmas’ have generated a significant buzz with prospective Publicans.

The Black Friday campaign placed the spotlight on 40 pubs offering short-term financial promotions and saw high levels of engagement, resulting in six successful new partnerships.

Stonegate’s ‘12 Days of Christmas’ campaign offered daily incentives on social media from Dec 25 to Jan 5 including rent holidays, deposit contributions and marketing support paid for a year, showcasing its commitment to new partners. The campaign led to a 60% rise in website views and a 142% increase in users compared to the previous year, with over 30 direct enquiries. Stonegate aims to track how many participants transition to tenancy agreements by the end of March.

Maria Pillans, Director of Recruitment – Publicans and Operators at Stonegate Group, said: “We are thrilled with the success of our Publican recruitment efforts in 2023, driven by our commitment to leveraging technology, bolstered partner support and creating impactful campaigns.

“Ensuring every site is positioned for success across our diverse portfolio is a key pillar in our mission to bring people together through our passion for pubs, bars and venues. At Stonegate, we are dedicated to empowering our partners with the tools and support they need to thrive in their businesses.”

Looking ahead, Stonegate Group remains poised for continued growth, with the aim to place the right people into the right pub model. There are also plans for more marketing campaigns set to further bolster brand awareness and engagement within the hospitality sector.

Visit the Stonegate Pub Partners website at

For media enquiries, please contact Hannah Leeland @ Leisure PR at


About Stonegate Group

Stonegate Group is the largest pub company in the UK.  Its portfolio is comprised of over 4,500 sites, split across managed, operator led and leased and tenanted businesses.

The managed pubs division, which employs just under 16,000 people, is split into Branded and Traditional pubs. Branded is comprised of: Slug & Lettuce, Popworld, Be At One and the Venues division. Traditional (unbranded) pubs are made up of: Proper Pubs, Pub & Dining and Social Pub & Kitchen.

To date, over 12,000 employees have engaged with the various training programmes Stonegate Group offer, with over 600 Deputy Managers across the estate having been promoted to management roles.

The leased and tenanted estate, Stonegate Pub Partners, is made up of over 3,000 diverse sites whilst operator led Craft Union is currently made up of over 500 community pubs.

The business is multi award-winning for the training and development of its people and business success including:

BII’s National Innovation in Training Awards (NITAs): HR Manager of the Year, multiple times; Best Apprenticeship Training Programme (ATOP). Best Managed Company for Training.

REBA Employee Wellbeing Awards – Best New Wellbeing Strategy (5000+ staff);

Publican Awards – Best Pub Employer (501+ employees) multiple times; Best Community Operator (Craft Union Pub Company) multiple times; Best Managed Pub Company multiple times.

Great British Pub Awards – Best LGBTQ+ operator multiple times; Best Sports Pub multiple times; Best Pub Garden, Best Entertainment; Best pub to watch sport;  Community Mindfulness

Licensed Trade Charity Awards   raising awareness through fundraising

UK Hospitality’s Dusk ‘til Dawn Late Night Awards Best Marketing and Promotions Award; Best Service & Team; Best late Night Operator

HR Excellence Awards: Best Learning and Development Strategy

HR Distinction Awards: Innovation for Digital & Social Media; People Development; Innovative Use of Technology

And awards for charity contribution  including  Licensed Trade Charity: Outstanding Corporate Contribution Award; APPBG PUBAID Corporate Charity Fundraiser Award 

For media enquiries, please contact Hannah Leeland @ Leisure PR at

Third-party news items that are posted on the Guild website’s news section come from press releases received by the Guild. These press releases are posted as they have been received and their publication on the Guild website is intended as an informational service provided to our members and website visitors. As such, the publication of a story from a third-party source is neither an endorsement of the content, nor its sender, by the Guild. For enquiries on any news item, please use the contact details that can be found at the bottom of each post.