Help! We need everybody's

By Andrew Pring

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Licensee Recession License

Pring: pubcos want their pubs to stay open
Pring: pubcos want their pubs to stay open
Whether or not pubcos are able or willing to offer help to licensees, additional trade initiatives are vital, says Andrew Pring.

One of the hard jobs on the Morning Advertiser these days is listening to desperate tenants and lessees complain their landlord is not giving them the rent reductions and beer discounts they keep reading about in our pages.

That's obviously a difficult one. There could be several reasons, we say — and they don't all make for very comfortable telling. The pubco may have taken a view that the licensee in question has not explored every avenue for increasing revenue. That can be insulting: after all, what the pubco thinks is "every avenue" could well be beyond the energy or skills base of the licensee. Everything, within reason, may well have been tried already — but the pubco still thinks there's more that could be done. Like cutting staff wages, for example: a common enough charge made by BDMs, which is sometimes justified, and sometimes not.

Or, more harshly, we have to say that the pubco perhaps feels that the licensee is just not good enough, and they're prepared "not to strive officiously to keep alive", as the medical code has it. Yet infuriatingly from that struggling licensee's point of view, he or she knows the next licensee will be on far better terms than theirs.

Another reason is more positive: it could just be that they're in a queue, and their turn will come, hopefully in time to save them. But there's also the ominous rider that although they may be deserving, their pubco simply has not got the resources to be able to extend them any rate or beer relief. And when pubcos are suffering so badly yet have debt repayments still to make, the pot may just not be big enough to help everyone, however worthy they are of support.

Pubcos are clearly doing a lot to help their people, as Neil Morgan of Christie+Co pointed out last week. And even the most cynical anti-pubco licensee must surely accept that Punch and Enterprise want their pubs to stay open — or they'll go belly up too.

But in the face of the savage economic downturn and a hostile and vindictive Government, there has to be a limit to what their business model allows them to do.

That's why licensee initiatives like Carlsberg's We Deliver More (see p5) are so important these days. The range of business solutions it's offering licensees, including email marketing access to 26 million consumers, is exactly what's needed to help pubs through these appalling times.

Other suppliers are also looking to do their bit to help their customers — ScotCo's Category Vision work, which helps licensees win more business by analysing sources of trade, for example.

It's also why it's crucial the new man at BII (see p11) is able to unlock quickly new sources of funding for licensee training.

More professionalism could make all the difference. And it needs every part of the industry working together to get there.

Related topics Other operators

Property of the week


£ 60,000 - Leasehold

Busy location on coastal main road Extensively renovated detached public house Five trade areas (100)  Sizeable refurbished 4-5 bedroom accommodation Newly created beer garden (125) Established and popular business...

Follow us

Pub Trade Guides

View more