Punch sell-off: 'Maybe it’s time to draw a line under past issues'

By Ed Bedington

- Last updated on GMT

Punch sell-off: 'Maybe it’s time to draw a line under past issues'

Related tags: Time

It’s good to see some positive words coming from new Punch boss Duncan Garrood, and a commitment to a constructive and brighter future for the sector.

The relationship between pubcos and their tenants should be very much focused on being a partnership, and it’s good to see Garrood making that point.

If the sector is to do more than just survive and thrive in the future, it needs to move away from the adversarial relationships of the past. The us and them mentality will serve no-one in the long term, just drag the sector down as a whole.

Garrood’s arrival offers the opportunity to draw a line under the issues of the past, and move forward with a more positive mindset.

His comments would suggest that he’s keen to work towards improving those relationships, and while time will be the judge of how those promises are delivered, it’s a great opportunity to build a new relationship moving forward.

There is obviously a lot of concern around the MRO situation — you only have to read the comments on page six to get a flavour of some of the issues the situation is creating. At the moment, no-one really knows how things will shake out — some of the pubcos are jostling to gain an advantage in the face of what they view as a major business challenge, but until we have a clearer picture, we just don’t know what those consequences will ultimately be.

It’s clear that this limbo situation, and uncertainty is holding back investment in some areas — Garrood makes the point that anything that is going to be a long term payback is just not viable for the pubcos. It’s a fair point — they have their own business responsibilities to consider.

But now is more a time for cool heads, clear thinking and clear communication — Garrood is talking about partnerships. The pubcos will be looking for ways to shore up their businesses in the face of revenue loss from the MRO changes. If we can all work in partnership to plug those gaps, there’s a better chance we can come up with solutions that will benefit all, and not just one party.

Naive, I’m sure you’re thinking, but I’d rather look for positive, mutually beneficial solutions that drive the sector upwards, than sit back, do nothing and wait for the shutters to come down.

Garrood makes the point that the last thing he wants is for his tenants to fail — it makes no business sense to him, and he’s right. Let’s hope that he can deliver on those promises of partnerships, and that tenants embrace that opportunity to take this forward on a positive footing, with benefits for all.

Meanwhile, talking about business opportunities, we’re holding our second annual Spirits Summit next week (6 October) at the Ham Yard Hotel in London. This will give a great insight into the latest innovations in the cocktail sector and, as it’s tied into London Cocktail Week, you’ve got plenty to get your teeth into.

Sign up now here​!

Related topics: Punch Pubs & Co


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