FOT option will result in Armageddon warns Pubco CEO

By Robert Sayles

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Tenants Want

Pubco CEO Roland Rodent is the latest in a long line of industry experts to claim an FOT option for tied tenants will have apocalyptic repercussions. Robert Sayles met up with him at one of his flagship pubs The Jolly Roger to find out more.

“So Roland, I understand you’ve been researching the consequences of offering tied tenants a viable FOT option.”

“Indeed we have. The BBPA hired a group of top scientists to look into it. The results have just come back. It’s far worse than anyone could have possibly envisaged. In fact the end-game is just too appalling to even contemplate.”

“Err…so what’s likely to happen?”

“If the projections are correct, and I have no doubt they are; then exactly three weeks, four days, six hours and eight minutes after statutory regulation is approved a giant asteroid will smash into our planet.”

“It’s not going to land on BBPA headquarters is it?”

“Err…thankfully no; it’s projected to impact at the Yucatan Peninsula.”

“Didn’t one land there around 65 million years ago?”

“Yes, but this one’s 368 miles wide. It’ll make the dinosaur killer look like a pebble. The enormous impact will trigger a series of giant tsunamis that’ll sweep across the globe, decimating everything in their path.” 

“I had no idea that an FOT option would have such dire consequences for the planet.”   

“That’s just the beginning. Clouds of ash will be propelled miles up into the atmosphere, forming an impenetrable layer of dust and debris around the earth. All sunlight will be blocked out, triggering an Ice Age. Temperatures will plummet to -370 degrees, resulting in the eradication of all life forms.”

“Err…are you sure about that?”

“Absolutely! Government need to understand that giving tenants an FOT option will result in an apocalypse that’ll re-classify the dinosaur extinction as nothing more than a minor incident. Let’s be clear about this, we’re talking about the complete and utter obliteration of the planet.”

“My God, I didn’t realise the consequences were so cataclysmic. How long do you think it’ll take for the planet to recover?”

“Do you think I give a f**k about the planet? Who’s going to drink our beer? The Beer Barometer’s going through the floor as it is. Have you any idea what impact the annihilation of the planet will have on our sales?”  

“Roland in all honesty, do you seriously expect people to believe that statutory regulation will result in Armageddon?”

“We’ve got all the data here. Look for yourself. The facts speak for themselves.”

“I see the scientist heading up the research is John Rodent; a relative of yours by any chance?”

“Err….well yes he’s my brother actually; impeccable research credentials. His impartiality is not in question.”

“OK. So have you made government aware of these findings?”

“I’ve been trying to contact Joe Swinson but she’s not returning my calls.”

“Joe’s on maternity leave. Have you tried contacting Jenny Willott?

“She hates us Bob. She’s an FDFYL supporter and is convinced we’re ripping off our tenants.”

“I can’t think what might lead her to that conclusion. Anyway, no doubt you’ll be pleased to know that some politicians are very proactive on this matter. Toby Perkins has confirmed Labour will be holding a debate calling for a mandatory rent only option on the 21st January.”

“You what? These bloody politicians need to mind their own business. Perkins and that damned Caped Crusader! What do they know about pubs?”

“You mean the Casked Crusader? Talking of Greg Mulholland; he’s dismissed your findings. In fact he’s gone as far as to say you’re talking complete and utter bollocks! How do you respond to that?”

“These people are nothing more than attention seekers looking for publicity. They don’t understand the dynamics underpinning our business model.”

“I suspect they understand them only too well.  Anyway moving on; there’s something that puzzles me.”

“What’s that?”

“Brewers claim SCORFA’s worth around £25,000 to each tenant.”

“Absolutely! Personally I think they’ve substantially under- valued the fantastic support we offer our tenants. By my calculations it’s a lot nearer £200,000.”

“Well if that’s the case then tenants wouldn’t want to see it disappear, would they?”

“Of course not.”

“Even if they were given the option to go free of tie?”

“Err…well I don’t think that’s the issue here do you?”

“Well actually Roland I think it is. If the benefits on offer are as good as you say then they’d never be tempted to give them up would they?”

“They don’t want to give them up! They love working with us and are positively ecstatic about the benefits we offer. In fact in a recent in-house poll, 99.9% of tenants said they would marry us given half a chance.”

“Could you specify exactly what those benefits are Roland because I’m struggling to identify anything tangible?”

“We offer fantastic levels of support.”

“Could you be a little bit more specific?”

“Err..well… as I’ve just said we offer lot’s of ...err…support. It’s difficult to quantify but trust me it’s there as and when tenants require it.”

“But what form does that support take?”

“I don’t want to get into specifics at this stage but trust me it’s there.”

“So what you’re saying is that you’re offering something, but nobody actually knows quite what it is.”

“Err…that’s pretty much it…err... yes.”

“Sounds like more smoke and mirrors to me. So where does your valuation of £200,000 come from?”

“An internal think tank; comprising a panel of experts.”

“Are you referring to the two BDMs who managed to jot something down on the back of a fag packet when they were a bit pissed?”

“How could you possibly know that? It’s classified information!”

“Let’s just say I have or two sources on the inside. To be honest Roland I don’t see what your problem is. Offer tenants the option. If they love you as much as you suggest then they’ll shun FOT and stick with all the fantastic support you provide. It’s a no-brainer, isn’t it?”

“Err yes well…the fact of the matter is we don’t think choice is a good thing.”

“I’m sorry?”

“Choice is an over-valued commodity.  We didn’t get where we are today by promoting choice.”

“Well, we’re certainly in agreement there. So what happens if tenants don’t want your support?”

“Tough. It’s a contractual obligation.”

“What are you frightened of Roland?”

“I don’t understand.”

“Well surely statutory regulation will allow tenants to decide if they want to retain the fantastic levels of support on offer. Alternatively, they might want to forego those benefits in favour of greater margin on their beer. And let’s not forget, every tenant who opts out will save you £200,000. Every one’s a winner.”

“Err….there’s a problem with that Bob. You see we can’t maintain these unbelievable fabulous levels of support unless all our tenants sign up for it.”

“Oh I see. Well I’m glad we’ve cleared that up. Now then, getting back to this asteroid; what   are you going to do to save the planet?” 

“We’ve got that covered. The scientists have made it clear we need to launch a new agreement and that’s what we’re about to do. Franchise is the new buzz word.”

“Presumably that’ll ensure your tenants are tied for food as well?”

“Absolutely and I make no apologies for it. You see the overwhelming majority of our tenants can’t cook to save their lives. Frozen readymade meals produced by us will enable our pubs to offer top class food at highly competitive prices.”

“Your wholesale price for a portion of sausages and mash is £9.99; not much margin for tenants there.”

“They don’t need margin or a chef. We’ve done all the hard work for them. All they need is a bloody microwave!”

“OK. What about AWPs?”

“Tenants can’t be trusted when it comes to machine selection. We can negotiate the best deals with reputable companies to generate greater profits.”

“Profits for whom?”

“For both us and our partners.”

“So you’re saying that your partners can be entrusted to look after your pubs but not to manage AWP machines?”

“Bob, you have to realise we’re working with people who don’t know what they’re doing. Without our guidance and support they’d be completely f****d!”

“If they’re that incompetent why are you willing to entrust them with your pubs?”

“We’ve tried to get entrepreneurs to come on board but they just keep giving us the two fingered salute.”

“So finally Roland; do you have a message for government?”

“Indeed I do. Forget all this nonsense about statutory regulation. Self-regulation is working well; I’ve got the figures to prove it. We can turn this around. Just give us more time; ideally about another 25 years. Trust us; we know exactly what we’re doing.”

“Yes, I’m sure you do Roland; I’m sure you do.”

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