Saturday, February 08, 2014

Why Pubco's are Profoundly Sociopathic

I spent £85K doing a major refurb on my pub, designed and project managed it myself and turned it round in 6 days and nights and when the S&N rep came in he said "Fuck me, this is amazing, how much did you spend on this? Quarter of a million? And how long were you shut for"

I've known this much for ages: S&N behaves like an idiot. Punch behaves like an idiot. Enterprise is an idiot. All the pubco's behave like idiots. But why are they idiots? WHY?

It's been staring me in the face for years and I've always figured that it's something to do with working a business off a spreadsheet. But now, having read the 'particulars' for this Stornoway pub I've just understood properly what it is with the pubco's behaving like idiots: They have nothing to lose. They never do the work. They rely on investment by tenants for everything - and they have absolute control over their tenants through their manipulation of tenure and supply chain costs... pubcos can do whatever they want - and they always get away with it... Ramp up costs, if a tenant fails someone else comes along to take up the post. If they don't fail it's proof to the pubco they should have put up the prices more than they did. Never ends. 

"The successful High Street Pub changes its offer throughout the day to meet the needs of very different customers. By day it is a sanctuary to the weary shopper, be it breakfast, coffee, a quick bite at lunchtime, a refreshing cup of tea or chilled glass of wine. By night the High Street Pub changes into a town centre bar, as retail and office workers stop by and local residents, many of whom will be regular visitors,
enjoy a night on the town."

"The mainstream offer is based around a combination of product quality, service and price. The offer must consistently deliver good service and classic food and drink ranges. Marketing communications focus on quality and service, with the use of some price mechanics to drive trade. Major brands are stocked but there is the opportunity to trade up from the standard offer to a cask ale for example, or a better quality wine."

I find all of this mind blowing. It goes on:

"Would this pub suit you?"

"Are you an experienced operator with a clear vision and fresh ideas? We are looking for an experienced hotel or guest house operator with good food and beverage knowledge, who is able to run a busy site."
"Knowledge of the local area and keen to get involved in the community and offer events would be beneficial."

The reality is this, it's all an imaginary world they are working in that someone invented in an office:

Pubco's are profoundly autistic.

A pubco is run by a head office that is populated by people who know nothing about pubs but who can read a spreadsheet (it's not complicated). They can fiddle around with a P&L projection, a cashflow report and a balance sheet (just as many publicans, who actually understand how these relate to punters coming in through their doors and buying a pint or a prawn cocktail can too). The people at head office run the whole business - THOUSANDS of individual pub businesses, hundreds of thousands of people serving millions of punters - off a spreadsheet. They read the business like a book off a spreadsheet. And when what happens at the end of the bottom line doesn't actually reflect what was supposed to happen in that last box when they populated the spreadsheet a few months before, they haven't got a clue, not a snowflake in Hell's chance, about what to do to make it reconcile itself, other than to fiddle around and jiggle with data input in some other part of the sheet or to mess around with the formulas and see what happens so the sheet will begin to mimic reality.

Publicans, who are have learned to understand the world around them by monitoring what is happening to their business right in front of them on a minute by minute, hour by hour day by day week in week out year on year basis can read a spreadsheet and make what they see in front of them relate exactly to what's happening in the real world on the other side of their bar, in the street outside their pub, in the village, community, town and the wider world. They can extrapolate that against the figures in the spreadsheet and vice versa. They know that if they do THIS thing, it will have THAT impact in the dataset.

Pubco employees cannot do this. They cannot relate to the real world - the real world is telling them that their business model does not work. They cannot admit that - how can they? If they admitted it they would all have to pack their bags. NO. When it doesn't work in the real world the way their spreadsheets say it should be happening, they go back to the spreadsheet for a solution. Then work out how to resolve the conflicts in the cells so the bottom comes back in line with previous predictions, then extrapolate how the action taken on the spreadsheet can be enacted in the real world - and then implement that success by applying a series of initiatives, business threats and incentive schemes to pass on top their 'Business Partners' through a command chain of regional and local area management that in itself behaves as a lumbering stupid ignorant dolt.

Pubco employees CANNOT open their eyes and see what is right in front of them because the business is so big it's impossible for them to imagine outside of a spreadsheet or a flowchart. So they rigidly refer back to the spreadsheet and believe, genuinely believe, that whatever it tells them is what is really going on in the real world and that is what will really happen when it hits the real world.

Pubco's are run by Officers who know nothing about pubs. They are people from 'Retail' backgrounds or 'Marketing' and 'Brand Management' who come into head office from another Plc job and read a spreadsheet and fiddle around with it then delegate everything to other people who know nothing about pubs or the pub business and tell them to make decisions about what should be done down the command chain to make everything conform to the things they did to the spreadsheets that made the business look like it's performing the way it needs to so it can repay the debts.

Ultimately these inexperienced people delegate everything to the people who they rent the pubs to - us. The only people in the chain of command who know what needs to happen in a pub is the people who actually run the pub. The licensees. Everyone else in the command chain is feeding off the publican behind the pumps and none of them knows fuck all about pubs, people, or how to run a business. They are all theorists working off the back of imaginary scenarios some other autistic idiot has imagined up in a head office somewhere between informative brewery visits with Landed Gentry and MP's and going to dinners and industry shindigs with Andrew Griffiths, Brigid Simmonds and Robert Willock.

This pub's particulars - the imaginary scenario of what goes on in 'The successful High Street Pub' make it clear this is what is happening in Pubco towers.

Pubco's want to invoke their human rights when it comes to legislation being brought in. Not surprising is it? They really are profoundly autistic, sociopathic people who are killing their offspring without realising there is a connection between their actions and the bodies strewn all around them.

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