Are you a pubco mastermind?

By Robert Sayles

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Tenants

Good evening and welcome to another edition of Mastermind. Tonight we’re coming to you from the magnificent new Library of Birmingham located in Centenary Square on Broad Street. 

"So, may we have our first contestant please?”

“Your name?”

“Robert Sayles”



“And your chosen subject?”

“Pubcos – The war on reform.”

“Mr. Sayles, you have two minutes on Pubcos – The war on reform starting now.”

“Earlier this year the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills received a number of letters from tenants expressing support for their pub company. Who wrote those letters?”

“The pub company.”


“What is the primary factor driving the current pubco business model?”

“A whopping great debt mountain.”


“Which of the following best reflects the level of support pubcos claim to offer tenants?”

a)      Superb

b)      Magnificent

c)      Unbelievably fabulous.”



“What is the primary purpose of Pre-Entry Awareness Training (PEAT)?”

“To boost the coffers of the BII.”


“Name one tangible benefit of the tied model for tenants?”


“Which senior trade figure claimed tenants were incapable of managing AWPS effectively?”

“Alastair Darby, Managing Director of Marstons.”


“Does the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) regulate pub companies?”



“What happens when a leaseholder tries to complain to the RICS?”

“Didn't I just answer that?”

“I’m afraid I’m going to have to hurry you.”


“Who stated in a Daily Mail article that problems with tied houses amounted to little more than ‘innuendo’?”

“Brigid Simmonds.”


“The Sun newspaper recently portrayed Greg Mulholland as the ‘Casked Crusader’. Tied tenants however have bestowed a different title upon him. What is it?”

“The Messiah.”


“Which politician recently stated that ‘money is leaving the industry to pay off the pub companies’ debts and leaves the industry short changed’?”

“Toby Perkins.”


“Those seeking reform of the tied model are referred to as what by pubcos?”

“Failed publicans.” 


“What’s the response of pubcos to tenants who complain their beer monitoring equipment is malfunctioning?”

“Hit them with a tampering fee and whilst they’re still reeling from the shock, follow it up with a whopping great demand for compensation based on estimated data.”


“Under the title 'Minimum Requirements for company Codes of Practice', the Industry Framework Code produced by the BBPA, included the clause: "All contracts will be fair, reasonable and comply with all legal requirements. How many company codes were refused accreditation for not including this clause?”



“Who labeled MPs critical of his business model as ‘moronic’?”

“Ted Tuppen.”


“Who stated on a Radio 4 program that in return for lower ‘hard rents’ tenants pay ‘a little bit more for their beer’?”

“Brigid Simmonds.”


“Which legislation ensures pubcos don’t raise beer prices as and when they feel like it?”

“No such legislation currently exists.”


“Which former minister for pubs, when asked if the government would bring in legislation to prevent wholesale abuse of the beer tie by pubcos, said "We need evidence. Provide us with evidence and the government will act."
“Bob Neill.”


“And what did Bob do when the evidence was presented to him?”

“Bugger all.”


 “Which politician recently stated ‘there must be a truly independent body to monitor the regulations and adjudicate in disputes between licencees and pubcos?”

“Toby Perkins.”


“How do pubcos maximise the liabilities of outgoing tenants?”

“By inflating dilapidations.”


“What safeguards are in place to prevent such exploitation taking place?”

“No such safeguards currently exist.”


“What happens when tenants are unable to pay their inflated dilaps bill?”

“The pubco takes their house.”


“What criteria are used to assess whether or not a tenant is a reasonably efficient operator (REO)?’

“There are no criteria.”


“What happens if a tenant miraculously manages to increase turnover?”

“The rent goes up.”


“What happens if turnover falls?”

“The rent still goes up because the tenant is clearly not a REO.”


“If the level of pubco support is as good as they say it is why aren’t tenants being offered a free of tie option?”

“Because it isn’t.”


“When were pubcos first informed they were drinking in ‘last chance saloon’?”



“What have they done since receiving this ultimatum?”

“Purchased a much bigger smoke machine and a lot more mirrors.”


“And what has been the government response?”

“To date there has been no response.”


“What is the primary purpose….beep...beep….I’ve started so I’ll finish……

What is the primary purpose of self-regulation?”

“To ensure that none of the fundamentals underpinning the existing business model change.”


And at the end of that round Mr. Sayles you’ve scored a total of 30 points.”


“You passed on just one.

Can you name the primary benefit of the tied model for tenants? The answer is of course the Business Development Manager (BDM) - a pillar of support for tenants. Err…..I see you’re shaking your head Mr. Sayles……”

“Excuse me? Are you having a laugh? The primary role of the BDM is to squeeze as much out of each outlet as humanly possible.”

“Err…..well that’s not what it says here.….”

“BDMs get paid a whopping great bonus to generate revenue for their employer!! How can anyone claim this benefits tied tenants? These people are leeches and they’re sucking pubs dry before discarding them. It’s an absolute disgrace!

Statutory regulation is what’s needed, to stop the abuses and ensure tied operators are no worse off than their FOT counterparts!!”

“Err….yes well....err…..I can see we’re going to have to refer that one to our adjudicator.

Mr. Sayles thank you.

May we have our next contestant please?”



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