Price: is the pubco model right?

By Gerry Price

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Rent review West end

Price: working hard to keep customers coming back
Price: working hard to keep customers coming back
Gerry Price, leaseholder of the Inn at West End, Surrey considers the Budget, St George's Day and, of course, his up and coming rent review. What a...

Gerry Price, leaseholder of the Inn at West End, Surrey considers the Budget, St George's Day and, of course, his up and coming rent review.

What a week it has been here in West End. The warm weather has been good for trade even if it does mean a lot more worn our shoe leather rushing round the garden. The Budget was nothing short of a disaster for pubs but are there many different shades of dark, I mean can it get any more difficult?

I'm not holding my breath. It's a time for being totally focused on customers, customers and customers and making sure we are doing more and more of what they want at prices they can only just afford.

Last night we had a St George's night dinner which was a great success. Fifty diners and another twenty five just for a drink and to enjoy a great atmosphere. I rambled on in my usual way about how we came to be English, had a random pop at the Scots, Welsh, Irish and French and played to the gallery regarding our politicians.

What is the difference, I asked, between a trampoline and Gordon Brown? You'd take your shoes off to jump on a trampoline! Ho, ho, ho, laugh, they even clapped! We then sang some patriotic songs and read some Shakespeare, Kipling and the like and every one wobbled off happy.

One interesting thing when doing the research is that we as a nation have been excessive boozers for some length of time. Shakespeare wrote about the English as being "potent about their potting" and beating the Dutch, Germans and French at drinking and that was best part of 400 hundred years ago. What does that teach us? Umm, not sure really.

As my friend Paul would say: "I'm more surprised at what I don't know than what I do know."

Rent review

The subject of the rent review remains on my mind as does the question of the validity of the tied lease system. I was talking about it with another friend, Jim the Stitch, so called because he sells sewing machines, and he couldn't believe the set up. So much so he called it a stitch up, but then he would wouldn't he?

He used to rent a shop to run his sewing machine business and he had a fairly adversarial relationship with his landlords because, as he put it: "They wanted maximum rent and I wanted to pay minimum rent. Every five years we would have a bit of battle, sometime involving solicitors, sometimes not, and the rent would be set for another period. There was a grudging respect between us and I always paid the rent and we were all sort of happy.

"That was the property sorted out, then I could go and do what I wanted to make money. Buy a few machines here, sell few machines there. Pick some cheap gear up at an auction and knock it out.

"There is no way I would agree to buy my sewing machines, or anything else, from my landlords. No way I would show them my accounts. If they wanted to interfere in my business, let them hire the staff and pay the National Insurance and go through the tribunals, Health and Safety and have a manager.

"How do they get away with that in your game?"

Yes, alright Jim, another Beer? Hoh, don't mind if I do, cheers!

It did set me thinking though, can the tied lease system be fair? OK, forget fair, my mother taught me that life isn't fair, can it be right?

Can it be right that supermarkets sell beer sooooo cheaply? Trouble is, I don't have time to do more than muse on these things, it takes all my time trying to keep keeping the customers coming in and happy. See you soon.


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