He was talking about the White Brasserie pub estate, which he is rolling out. He claimed that moving into the pub sector meant he came across “the dark arts of the tie”.
He added: “Now I know it has had a lot of stick, but, my God, it is an extraordinary thing for a restaurateur. Look at something like a barrel of beer and look at the man that handcrafted it and the guy who had to do 290 transactions to sell it — they are third and fourth on the list of people who make money out of it.”
He said the issue of the tie has become a “big issue” for the planned rollout of the brand. He plans to open 25 in the next two to three years.
“The more enlightened owners have made big strides on that front and have generally tried to get around it and find a way of moving forward. The outcome of this is we are selling beer at £4.50 a pint, and is it any wonder that kids are pre-loading before they go out?
“What we have tried to do is come up with a new style of lease. This is designed to give a share of the pub in everything that we do. So it is not just tied for beer.
“Beer sales are only going to go one way. So we have designed a lease that has a fixed element and a turnover element to it, and in return for that we are striking some deals that require a bit of investment from the landlord and a lot of investment from us.
“That means the estate is improved, we get leases that have residual value rather than tied leases, which are severely marked down.”