A recent report has concluded that managed pubs, especially branded ones, have performed marginally better in recent times than their independent cousins. Are we surprised?
True, costs have been an issue for managed pub groups in recent years, but economies of scale, plus the ability to see business decisions executed quickly, have acted in their favour.
Some managed pubs suffer from the on-trade equivalent of McDonald's Factor where a pub owned by a managed group in one part of the UK looks much like any other from the same stable. While such uniformity isn't to everyone's liking, providing a good offer and at the right price appears to be paying off.
I wonder what Ian Dyson, Punch Taverns' incoming chief executive, will make of what he finds when he pitches up in Burton in September. As someone pointed out to me recently, the man is a retailer through and through, used to making decisions and having them put into practice in pretty short order.
It's speculation of the purest shimmering samite variety to suggest that he'll err more towards Punch's managed pub estate. But he might prefer what he sees in the managed model, where strategies developed can be implemented within days, rather than the length of time it takes to persuade its independently-minded licensees 'partners' to embrace a new way of thinking.
One group embracing new thinking are the inhabitants of the Kent village of Mersham. They clubbed together to buy their abandoned village pub from its owner Punch Taverns, ironically and are set to celebrate a year of ownership.
What was a tired, neglected pub now plays its full part in village life once more, owned by many of the people who once frequented it. A lesson for many communities, perhaps?