Robert Glenn of Hest Bank in Lancaster said Punch has proposed a £4,000 annual rental increase to £62,000, despite the fact the pub has lost money for the past five years.
He attributes this loss to the high level of his current rent and business rates —both of which were based on the pub’s former turnover — the recession which began soon after he took on the pub in 2007, and poor weather which has prevented customers from using the large beer garden.
He said it was “ironic” that he won the award for working closely with Punch given that he has now paid over £6,000 on a consultant in order to try and “get a fair deal” on his rent.
“Even though we have increased turnover by quite a bit in the past year, and even though we’ve won awards and seem to be running a nice place that people like, we’re not making any money,” Glenn told the Publican’s Morning Advertiser.
“We’ve got along by negotiating on the VAT, staggered payments, spreading costs — but it is purely survival. What Punch don’t do is put you on a completely sound financial footing. I’ve had three separate meetings with an insolvency practitioner because I think I’m not going to survive another month.”
He said Punch’s partnership agreement with tenants should include “sharing the loss equally” when pubs are not making money.
“Some of the costs have come down, but last year my salary was just £8,000 and for the last three months my wife and I have only taken £1,000 between us. It’s not a very equitable partnership,” he said.
A spokeswoman from Punch Taverns said: “We are currently in negotiations with our licensee at the Hest Bank regarding their rent. A meeting has been arranged in the next two weeks to further discuss the proposals, based on the information that will be made available. We are committed to finding an agreed figure in line with industry and RICS guidelines and one that is satisfactory to all parties.”