Wednesday, April 20, 2011

S&NPC's waterside pub venture folds

Spot on: How much did it cost? Where does the financial damage lie? Even without the benefit of hindsight it's hardly a surprising outcome; this was predictable from the out: Waterside Pub Partnership was always a case of the blind leading the blind. True pub operators, people who actually know HOW to run pubs, could have made this partnership work brilliantly falling off a floating log.

Backed by great funding where the need to keep to tight budgets would not even be a passing thought, with various USP's of incredibly special locations provided by British Waterways - the totally unique attraction of great sites alongside the canals and waterways of Britain - an opportunity to develop leading edge concepts of building design and function involving environmental sustainability measures; the blatant chance to tap into high quality bespoke regionally produced foodstuffs from all over the British countryside, an amazing opportunity to work alongside the brewing arm of S&N, OH and a hundred other fantastic opportunities missed that would have made this venture fly high for decades.

With such incredible assets underpinning this venture success in this would have come naturally to any real operations team who had even the vaguest experience of pulling a pint, serving a coarse pate or a ploughman's to an eager audience, or of running even a single pub.

Instead this failure was envisioned and conceived by a bunch of clueless number crunching suits who'd be more comfortable in a city centre wine bar drinking gin and tonic while a secretary with a fast PC and a spread sheet was doing the work in the office that proved it was all going to turn out roses. Such is the way with behemoth pub companies in the UK. Their failures are subsumed by an economy of scale that generates what looks like healthy profit almost no matter how badly they are run from the top down. Only banks are run so badly and get able away with it as easily as do pubcos.

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