City Diary — 19 November

By The PMA Team

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Multiple pub operator Tenanted pub company City diary Gordon ramsay

Thomas: shares pain
Thomas: shares pain
All the latest gossip and rumour from the City

No drinks for drunks, says Sainsbury's

Intrepid Sainsbury's legal services director Nick Grant was ticking off pub operators at the Morning Advertiser's Responsible Drinks Retailing conference last week. The most under-applied licensing law is the one about not serving drunks, he claimed. "Don't serve drunks," he told his audience for emphasis. One multiple pub operator emailed City Diary with the following observation: "There goes all the industry events."

Ex-M&B expert sets out with own agency

Very likeable former director of communications at Mitchells & Butlers Kathryn Holland has set up her own agency, Badbury Communications. Anyone need to brush up on communications? You could do a lot, lot worse.

Pub £25k better off after AWP changes

City Diary enjoyed a few beers with the licensees of a pub belonging to a well-known tenanted pub company last week. The pub happens to have the second highest AWP machine take in the company's estate at around £100,000 a year. It will be good news at rent review time because the de-rentalisation of machine income means that around £25k per annum will come off the rent bill, reducing the pub company's earnings at the pub from £150k pa to a paltry £125k.

JDW managers have feet well under table

It could be a symptom of the recession, or of earning good money, but Wetherspoon's manager turnover has reached a new low point of less than 10% with overall staff turnover at 50%. It's best in class by some margin, isn't it?

Free beer and a course — what's not to like?

Admiral Taverns is making its licensees an offer they shouldn't refuse — although some are. Those that attend the three-day "introduction to licensed retail operations" course are given a free 22-gallon barrel of beer. Attending is a bit of no-brainer, isn't it?

Gastric objections from across the pond

A few gastropubs have started to open in the US — and they're as uncomfortable with the word as many in the UK. Robert Thompson, who owns the Argyll in Cherry Creek, Denver, insists gastropubs are not the same "species" as the majority of pubs and have to be described with an "evolved lexicon". Local language expert Roy Blount Jr voices the usual objection: "It's not a savoury word — pub is a good friendly word. Why not stick with it?"

Luminar bosses bite bullet with less cash

It's good to see Luminar's executive directors sharing some of the pain of the current downturn. Chief executive Steve Thomas and others elected to forgo a 2.5% salary increase on 1 September 2008. The company remuneration committee has imposed a salary freeze for the current year, meaning Thomas, for example, is rubbing along on £450,000 a year and former Punch finance director Robert McDonald earns £250,000 a year.

M&B expands country dining — and evolves

Mitchells & Butlers' (M&B) premium country dining chain has expanded to around 60

sites from scratch in just six or seven years. There's been a degree of evolution along

the way. City Diary inquired as to a recommendation for a good example of its most up-to-date manifestation — the Blue Anchor in Tadworth, Epsom, converted a while back, was the site suggested. "There's a bit more fish on the menu," says our source.

Ramsay's central kitchen not a nightmare

The now smooth-chinned chef Gordon Ramsay strips a little bit more of the magic out of fine dining with a teasing reference to how many are being supplied by the central kitchen that services his pubs. He told the Radio Times he does not short change pub customers by serving food from the aforementioned centralised kitchen. "Guys, get real. We also supply high-octane restaurants that I'll never admit to. You'd freak out if you knew which they were."

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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...

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