Monday, October 12, 2015

Punch CEO sees pubs as community hubs in a digital age 

From the FT October 12, 2015 3:08 pm

Duncan Garood may find it interesting talk to some people, publicans even, who are critical of Punch's activities in winding down its estate. People who have a good measure of what has been happening from the outside, who will hold no punches in giving a fair appraisal of the company he's come to control. He comes late to the foray from a respectable background in retail catering with some pretty brilliant brands; An experience that cannot possibly have prepared him for the deep midden he's stepped into at Punch.  
The company has only survived by slashing and burning firebreaks right through an enormous estate - so that the gargantuan debt didn't pull the lot down,,, The debt is still a beast they cannot tame...  the public is largely unaware of the calamity.  Shedding 158 'non core' pubs, with sitting tenant publicans as goods and chattels, as they have done to New River Retail is only a recent high profile example of what they've been doing with thousands of pubs in the last five years or so.

They've sold hundreds of pub gems to private equity asset conversion specialists because they've needed the cash. Many people have been caught up in this appalling state of affairs. Publicans and communities, executives and line management to ground forces. It's a total tragedy that has left indelible scars on British culture... The legacy Duncan has inherited in the name of a high profile top exec job is a dreadful reality... He can only put on a brave face and say 'it's all under control' when really the only way forward is more of the same. Another 400 pubs? Is that all?

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