How I got here
I started my own business, Pasuda Group, renting out portable accommodation in 1989 and it’s been very successful — with an annual turnover of £12m — so I’d not really had any intention of going into hospitality, although I’d always fancied a bar!
I’d been going to the Cadeby Inn for 20-plus years — through its highs and lows — and two years ago, I heard the pub lease was for sale.
But I said I’d only be interested in buying the freehold and when the owner heard it was me looking to buy then he said we’d be the only people he’d sell the lot to. We bought it in May 2013, purely out of passion.
I knew nothing about the trade but I know about good food and drink. We’ve not done this for the money, it’s just for the passion.
I run it with one of my sons, Ben, who has temporarily joined the pub from working in the family business.
Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d end up buying something on this scale but I think this is the jewel in the crown of pubs around here.
It’s a property dating from 1751 that just wanted some love and attention. We set about working on it with no set budget; we just wanted to do it right.
We’ve spent about £500,000 on it. That includes renovating all the bars and dining rooms, adding a patio with German canopies, and creating an additional upstairs space in the old barn.
The drinks selection
I went on a ‘recce’ with my youngest son, Alex, to Belgium and we brought various beer glasses and bottles back to put in the bar to create an impact. We then started looking at different suppliers’ lists and we’ve now got 40 bottles available including Westmalle Dubbel, Anchor Steam, Erdinger Weiss and Goose Island Honkers Ale.
This place had never done many bottled beers, but now people ask for them specifically and they account for a third of our beer sales. On the cask side, we have Black Sheep and Timothy Taylor’s Landlord as regulars and two others that change frequently.
We deal mainly with local breweries, but we’ll go further afield if we like them. We’ve driven to Cheshire — for Tatton Brewery beers — because we can pick up a couple of kegs when we are in an area on other business.
We do flights of three cask ales for £3.50 to let people experiment.
The pub was previously renowned for its whisky selection but when we bought it, it only had a couple on! We’ve now got about 40 available.
The kitchen is now settled with a young head chef after we parted company with the original one. Chefs are renowned for being sensitive, but he’ll take constructive criticism well and will go with some of our ideas.
One rule is no frozen food — apart from our skinny chips — so we have a 12ft sq refrigerated building for holding all the fresh foods. The menu has gradually evolved and we’ll be changing it with the seasons so, in September, off will go the asparagus.
We’ve thrown out all the rules and so we’ve got tapas-type dishes for when customers don’t want the regular meat and two veg. The Cadeby sharing board is very popular. My passion is Italy and so on Monday to Thursday we also sell pizzas.
They’ve been so popular that we’ve added them on Sundays too — between 6pm and 9pm — when lots are ordered for takeaway.
As an entrepreneur, given time on any business, I can see the way it should go and we’ve taken our time with this one. But I’ve found it very hard compared with other businesses I’ve been involved in.
It’s very small [in revenues] compared to them, but it takes a massive amount of thought and energy. Thankfully, I’ve been able to devote a lot of time to this as I’ve three children who all work in the main family business. I’ve found staffing very tough.
We get supposedly experienced people in but then we find them not to be experienced. I feel it’s extremely difficult to make ends meet and you therefore need other add-ons, like holding events.
You can’t just rely on Joe Public walking through the door. A monthly event we host is the Supercar Club for owners of supercars and older cars. We limit it to 25 cars, which attracts a lot of local people to look at the cars in the car park. And in October, we’re planning a beer festival in the barn that will involve portable bars.
We soon hope to use our barn as a venue for various events including weddings and we’re building up this side of the business.
Once we’re settled down with new management — to take over from Ben — then we will look at running another place.
But it will be on a smaller scale to the Cadeby Inn, with less of a restaurant side to it.
Facts 'n stats
- Address: The Cadeby, Cadeby, Doncaster, South Yorkshire
- Tenure: Freehold
- Wet:dry split: 50:50
- Number of covers: 120, including upstairs event space, plus 50 to 60 outside
- Number of staff: Eight full time, 21 part time
- Price of a pint: £3.20 to £3.85 for cask
- Best-selling bottles: Vedett Extra Blonde (£3.80), Bacchus Kriek (£8), Peroni Gran Riserva (£4.40)
- Most popular items on the menu: Fish & chips (£13.50), 8oz fillet steak (£26.95), Cadeby Board (£12.50)
- Average spend on food and drink: £25