Thursday, May 21, 2009

Kemp: we had to change

Just HAD to go back to this article from Deborah Kemp after reading her article in today's print version of MA: 'Don't play the blame game'. That Ms Kemp should preside over an article so titled is wonderfully ironic since she's one of the people who shares the blame for what's happened to the pub industry in the recent past - along with all the CEOs and other administrators of the major pubcos who have used the business purely to extract as much profit as possible with no regard whatsoever for sustainability.

The problem with people like Deborah is that they talk a good talk but actually knows very little about the business she worked in at a high level for quite some time. This is a certainty based on logic because if they DID know what they were doing pubs would not be in the sorry state of disrepair up and down the country.

Logic aside, Deborah gushes about her wonderful personal experience of running a large part of Britain's pub estate. After the Shine Awards winners were announced one year I thought it would be interesting to see what the award winners thought of Punch and got in touch with them one by one. I couldn't get to speak to all of them but the ones I did contact were quite open about their lack of respect for Punch and a couple even mentioned Ms Kemp as having a very poor understanding of operational issues.

Less anecdotally Ms Kemp interevened in a potential Punch letting I was involved with three or so years ago. The intial deal on the table was a rental at £5K. Once our business plan had been read and approved by Punch she got involved and lo and behold rent went up to £65K because 'she thought it was worth it'.

We walked away. It was subsequently let to others using an identical layout of the interior as described in our business plan and they lasted 18 months or so. The bar was then shut for several months and has recently been relet to a new lessee. If they are not on a TAW I would bet, and I am not a betting person,. they will go down the tubes within another 18 months.

Churn as per usual.

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