Sunday, January 25, 2009

Not sure what you're referring to Gilbert... most things are potentially libellous or slanderous when discussing pubcos in anything other than the most abstract manner.

Over the past year pubcos have hoped to shrug off lessee opposition to their unsustainable and societally damaging business ethic by:

1) initially pretending it wasn't happening, keeping completely silent and hoping it would go away.

2) when publicly invited to talk with representatives of lessee groups, point blank refusing to meet; saying there's nothing to talk about; there's nothing wrong, 'We don't talk to representatives, we talk to lessees on a one to one basis and comfortably resolve everything that way, we have a great dialogue with our customers'.

3) instructing BBPA (their representatives) to spin up about government, supermarkets and taxes and to assert, without substantial evidence, that the tied trade is much more robust than the free trade, hoping to distract attention from the glaringly basic facts that the wheels on the pubco gravy train are seriously buckled.

4) making sneering suggestions in all statements about lessee critics that they are a small band of disaffected people who don't really understand the business. Implying these lessees are all people who have never tried to communicate through the officially proscribed channels of 'one to one' regional management and so are justifiably being ignored as punishment for stepping out of line (ergo Simon Townsend's stance par excellence).

4a) implying these lessees are in no way representative of the vast majority of publicans who are doing well financially, while again providing NO substantially verifiable evidence to back up their statements...

5) throwing out suggestions that these insignificant lessees are also inveterate thieves, crooks and schemers who, in trying to steal from pubcos, are also wilfully stealing from the exchequer again, as with their general methods, without providing substantial evidence save for:

5a) implying that their unfocused scurrilous accusations are backed up evidentially by rock solid data provided by technically advanced equipment which the munificent, caring pubcos supply lessees with to help their stock control. Enter brulines quietly through a side door. Another raft of woolly, impossible to verify 'evidence' supporting the plain nonsense put about by CEOs that they know what is going on and that everything in the pubco garden is rosy.

LOOK at the whole tied pubco situation logically, like this:

IF it really were working the way pubcos CEO's say it is;

If it really is a low cost entry into a trade, allowing people with a modest amount to invest (£tens of thousands in deposits and f&f that should be in a skip?!!!),

If their lessee vetting system were so thorough as they say it is,

If their training and regional management, their lines of communication, their support and 'partnering' really were as good as they say (but, as with everything else only provide data, not verifiable proof to support);

If lessees saw an increase in value in their investments;

If the lease agreements worked;

If there was profit left at the end of a year; two years; a decade, of grindingly hard work by lessees hammering away entrepreneurially at their own business.

IF any of the above stood up to detailed scrutiny; the pubcos would have a business model that worked. INSTEAD; none of it works the way they say it does up and the pubco wheels are bouncing down the hill like something from a Buster Keaton movie in slow motion.

If any of the above were true WE, small but noisy lessees:

1) would be having a meaningful dialogue with pubcos at regional level

2) would not be going out of business like flies in a Damian Hirst exhibit

3) would not be expending our energies in protesting vocally, accurately and intelligently

4) would not be able to provide evidence, as we have done and are doing, which factually and verifiably contradicts and disproves everything pubco CEOs say about the inherent strength of the industry their unsustainable practices have comprehensively ruined.

5) would NOT have the backing of very serious business people (who some CEOs like to try to discredit) whose fundamental interest is in wanting to see a comprehensive, sustainable pub industry which serves the community of the UK well is esoteric rather than financial.

IF the pubcos really had a dialogue with their OPERATORS i.e. their lessees - US - THEY would know how to run an industry instead of playing at it like boys with toys.

Pubcos are pen pushers and number crunchers. They do not know how to run pubs. They do not know how to look after beer. They do not understand or know the products they are selling and do not know how to look after a cellar, clean lines, or how to serve a pint. They do not know what customers want, they do not understand community, tradition, quality excellence or value. This is self evident. You can spot 99% of tied pubs a mile off? Shabby, obviously underinvested in, needing a complete paint job at least if not a comprehensive refurbishment. This is the simplest and most obvious evidence that the pubco model is broken and has never worked. IF it worked all those entrepreneurial people who, the pubcos tell politicians, are business partners driven by ambition, would have invested in their properties and be running thriving businesses. Show us all these successful business partners then boys. Come on. You can't can you?

Pubcos DO NOT CARE. If they did, if they HAD cared, WE - the people serving the beer we cannot make a living profit out of would not be getting up very early tomorrow to take a message to the Midlands. NO we'd be tending to our businesses and looking to a future full of optimism.

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