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We caught up with Publicans Ed & Jacki Curthoys of the Rose & Crown, Sandhurst as they celebrated their 1-year anniversary at their fantastic pub.

Congratulations on your one-year celebrations, how would you describe your first year at the Rose and Crown? “The first year has been a real rollercoaster ride of emotions, with us working very long days and nights, and not taking a single day off for the first eight months. We knew it would be difficult as we wanted to put our own stamp on the pub and, as this is the first time, we’ve run our own pub business, we wanted to get involved in every aspect of the business to learn how it functioned and where the opportunities to improve would be.

“Our customers have been quick to give us lots of advice, and the support from our Operations Manager, Ryan, has been immeasurable. Recruiting a great permanent kitchen team in January changed everything for us, and the performance of the Rose and Crown has been rising every day since then.”

How did you celebrate your anniversary? “We hosted an event of live music to recognise and thank all our customers and staff who have supported us on this journey; the timing was perfect, too, as we could coincide with getting into the festive spirit.

“We also gave away cupcakes to anyone who visited the pub during our anniversary week and poured our 100,000th drink recently, so we had to have a big celebration for that.”

What was it that attracted you to the Rose and Crown? “The Rose and Crown is our local pub, and we always dreamed of owning one, so it’s pretty convenient because we knew we didn’t want to live on-site, and it’s only a 300-yard walk from our house! Out of all the other pubs we visited in town, we knew this one had the most potential and gave us the best sense of community.

“It’s a beautiful old building with the most character of any pub in Sandhurst. We used to visit and enjoy the live music, and always felt we could turn it into something amazing. Our wonderful daughter already worked at the pub and tipped us off that it may be available, so we wrote a business plan and went for it! She is now our brilliant Bar Manager, and our son works in the kitchen, too, so we’ve made it a family affair!”

What are your ambitions for the pub, and how are you looking to stand out? “We really want it to be a true centre of the community, catering for everyone in the town. We found the other pubs all had a particular niche, but we wanted to cater to a wider spectrum including children, dogs, grandparents, and families.

“We host regular community days, including one especially for our South African community, which has become really popular! We differentiate by providing the best food and service at the best price. We also know our beer is of the highest possible quality through our rigorous line cleaning process, and we make sure our glassware is always well looked after. We are relentless in our approach to quality and know that this makes us the place most people want to come for a night out.”

What are you most proud of in the last 12 months? “The response from our customers has been overwhelming. We have had over 100 5-star reviews across OpenTable, TripAdvisor, Google, and Facebook! The comments, likes, and shares on social media are truly humbling, and we believe we’ve made it the best pub around. Our pub is a great place to work and a great place to play, and we have built a great team who enjoy working here. It really feels like all the hard work is starting to pay off.”

Have you always worked in the hospitality industry, if so, what do you love most about it? “We’ve always worked in ‘service’ and are very sociable people. I (Ed) worked for Sandals in the Caribbean, and Jacki has managed large service teams for most of her working life.

“Spending many years in South Africa meant we often hosted social events and we love to entertain; turning a hobby into a career has been exciting. There’s a buzz you get when standing behind your own bar a regular walks in, and they treat you like an old friend!”

What advice would you give to your peers in this industry, or those wanting to run their own pub? “Don’t underestimate the amount of hard work that goes into making it a success. There are so many things to think about, from regulations to recruitment and ordering, to taxes, late nights and working through the holidays – but it is all totally worth it when customers compliment you or they say they’ve had the best meal or the best night of their lives, or as one of our South African customers told us last week – they felt at home for the first me in years! And, when you turn your first profit, the feeling is tremendous!”

Some incredibly useful advice from Ed and Vicki, and what a fantastic example to set from their first year at the Rose and Crown. Here’s to many, many more years of success!

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