Starting a hospitality business is tough at any time, but particularly during a cost of living crisis.
When Zak Warwood saw the King's Head in Sutton Valence was up for grabs last year, however, he knew he had to take the opportunity.
He enlisted the help of co-owner and head chef Joe Woodfine to purchase the pub in April, and the pair spent an intense few weeks completely refurbishing the interior before opening in May.
They recently renovated their upstairs function room, fit with its own bar, which is already booked up months ahead.
Zak said: "The first thing we did was go around the village and knock on everyone's doors to introduce ourselves and just see what they might want from our pub.
"We immediately noticed that a lot of people had dogs, so we knew we had to make it dog-friendly.
"A lot of people also wanted it to be food-focused rather than a wet pub so we focused on that."
The pair use entirely fresh food aside from frozen peas, with as much as possible being sourced locally.
Joe makes the burgers fresh and home-made bread and ice-cream every morning, and they change the menu every three months to ensure they use produce that is in season.
All the vegetables are from two miles or less from the front door.
The venison is all locally shot on the same day and the chefs butcher the meat themselves.
Zak, from Rochester, started out at the George Vaults in Rochester High Street, collecting glasses at night when he was 15.
At 18 he moved onto the bar and worked his way up to the management team.
He said: "I felt really welcome and supported and I thought, I really want to do something with myself. We got to know the owners here and knew we had to take it."
Joe worked as a chef all over Kent and in France for five years – an experience which has shaped his cooking.
He said: "I've always worked with fresh food. There's a saying, fresh is best – it means I can make what I want. I want to stand out and make the food I love.
"That's where the passion is and when the passion's there, people will love it."
On opening during a cost of living crisis, Zak said: "This is a tough time for hospitality, and in hindsight I would have put a bit more money aside for energy. But we're not doing too bad. It has taken a little blow out of us but we're not doing too bad.
"You do have dark days and quiet days, and it's not an easy trade to get into, but you've got to pick yourself up. Nothing's going to stop this pub.
"Hospitality is tough as it is. It struggled through Covid – we weren't here at that point but I do know it was tough for everyone during Covid times.
"Now we've been welcomed by this energy crisis, but it's a case of get on with it, because after this energy crisis – and I know it will be here for a long, long time but it will come to an end – but when it does, there will be something else.
"There might be a water crisis, there might be something else that's coming up, we've just got to get on with it and move on. It might be much more difficult than we anticipated but we're not going anywhere."
Joe added: "We've got to face the problem and just come up with a solution. It's a great opportunity and there's no regrets so far."
Zak and Joe said the Christmas and New Year periods were busier than expected, and attribute their success to two things – their team, and their response to feedback.
The pair kept the same staff that had previously worked at the pub and took on people who had no previous experience, training everyone up in mixology.
Zak said: "Joe and I would be nowhere without the team we have. Our staff are appreciated and listened to, we wouldn't be there without them.
"We get great feedback from customers but we do get the odd piece of criticism and it doesn't go ignored.
"We listen and come up with solutions so people are heard. If something is not right, we talk about it, we try and make everything as good as it can be.
"What's really lovely is seeing that come through and all the nice reviews we do get.
"Seeing our customers are more than satisfied with what we've got and that to me is success."