Friday, November 28, 2008

'Mums Who Lunch Beat The Crunch'. I've a lot of sympathy with Ros Shiel but have to ask what the hell is the relevance of her blog to the pub trade, the beer industry or anything else to do with anything of relevance to this forum? Unless she moves into some pr position with a major brewer or pubco what possible relevance does this excursion into small town West Sussex rural life have for anyone on the MA? My own glass has been three quarters empty since I signed a tied lease. Like a prison sentence without parole or remission privileges it is. It could get to be half full again, I suppose, if I could get shot of the lease and be free again - even if I were to take up a course on how to become a bus driver (taxi driver's crossed my mind many times). Not a lot of chance of that though - never have time and can't get shot of the lease. No one is buying and I'm lucky: no one is buying my place but at least it's busy. Many other pubs on the market are quiet. That must be real torture, watching your own inexorable slide into insolvency and being able to do absolutely nothing about it. Ghastly. Many other lessees I've met are in the same boat as me. People say: 'why don't you sell it?' - Can't because no one out there is buying. 2) Will lose about 100K if I manage to sell it anyway. (3) Did I mention the schedule of dilapidations?). 'Why don't you cut your losses and hand the keys back?' - immediate bankruptcy, losing my home and everything else I've worked for over a decade for - with the pubco pursuing me for every last farthing in my children's piggy bank etc.

Oh. And knowing the pubco will get everything I've put into my pub all for a big fat zero - There's nothing in it for me and it's a song for them. All the cookers, fridges, freeaers the equipment the artwork the furniture the 30 grand bar I put in, the extraction, the new water main the three phase the 25K 'smoking solution' the central heating system, the improvements to the accommodation above, my goodwill, the business reputation, the increased value of the property - all of this and more - they will sell on to someone else who'll lose their shirt somewhere down the line too. They get it for not a penny. And I've been paying their insurance premiums against my going bust and not paying the rent anyway. So why should they care if I go bust or hand the keys back?

And then finally I know, absolutely, put any one of them, the people who work for my pubco, put any one of them in change of the building I've been operating for thirteen years, winning awards, getting press, being praised for my innovation - put any one of them in my pub for six months and they'd lose their shirt because they haven't got a clue about running pubs and don't know a damned thing about how to run a business. That part makes me feel really good.

We're caught in a trap Ros and it's not an Elvis' song.

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