Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Pub Management : The big British rip-off.

I see my son Stonch has been laying the blame for the rash of recent pub closures at Wetherspoon's door.
Actually, it's about time the whole issue of pub ownership and management was tackled in this country. The big pub chains have been ripping their publicans off for years.
Not content with charging enormous up-front sums for leases on the pubs they own, the big pub chains have the nerve to then charge rent for the premises on top of that. They also dictate that the lessor "keep the standard of the pub up to their specification", so that a publican is not even allowed to decorate his own pub without their approval.
Finally, and by far the worst imposition on the person foolish enough to lease a premises from them, they "tie" the pub to their own beer supplies, charging the lessor inflated prices for their stock and fining him/her if he/she buys elsewhere.
I understand that the E.U is looking into the whole question of pub ownership and management in the U.K.
About time! It's a wonder that these crooks have been allowed to get away with it for so long.


SheyMouse said...

Well said!
I understand many pubs are also forced to buy their food from a 'preferred supplier' too, even if they can source ingredients cheaper locally.

It really is high time that changes were made.

papastonch said...

If the "credit crunch" puts an end to the big pub chains and their stranglehold on the market, it will have served a good purpose, even if lots of our pubs are sacrificed along the way.

Anonymous said...

Spot on mate, an awful lot of people, who are supposedly obsessed about saving their local fail miserably to see this link between "tie leases" and the downfall of pubs.

Tandleman said...

This is a drum I've been banging for quite some time. Good to see you back posting too.

Jeffrey said...

There's a bit more to this than most people realise. But yes, the pubco model - a result of the Beer Orders HM's Government clearly didn't contemplate - is flawed, and deeply.

If the big pubcos do survive, it'll be because they adapt and give their lessees a better chance of making money. There are already signs that they intend to do so, but it may be too late for the pubcos to survive. If so a lot of freeholds will come on to the market, flogged off by administrators to (a) sitting lessees or (b) breweries able to take advantage of the "tied" element of the lease by supplying beer to the lessee. Neither would spell disaster for the pubs in question, so we shouldn't fret.