Pub partnerships saw £360m cancelled rent during pandemic

By Rebecca Weller contact

- Last updated on GMT

Supported during the pandemic: 70% of operators who received support from a pub company during the pandemic felt satisfied with the help provided (Pictured: licensee of the Hare & Hounds Jackie Fairburn)
Supported during the pandemic: 70% of operators who received support from a pub company during the pandemic felt satisfied with the help provided (Pictured: licensee of the Hare & Hounds Jackie Fairburn)

Related tags: Bbpa, coronavirus, Multi-site pub operators, Finance

Just under three quarters (70%) of operators who received support from a pub company during the pandemic felt satisfied with the help provided, according to new research from insight agency KAM Media.

The survey, which included information from licensees across six pub companies covered by the statutory Pubs Code, also revealed the vast majority (75%) were happy with the transparency of how the level of support, which equated to almost £360m across the sector, was determined.

British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) chief executive Emma McClarkin said: “The pandemic really shone a light on the value of the partnership pub model, with publicans receiving discounted and waived rents and a range of other support and advice at a critical time, with cancelled rent alone averaging £28,000 per pub over the two-year period.

“The model has always provided an opportunity for pub loving entrepreneurs to run their own pub and now as we come out of a testing two years we will continue to work as an industry to make sure it continues to work for both publicans and landlords.”

In addition, more than half of licensees surveyed said access to non-financial support via their pub company, such as guidance around health and safety regulations, additional training, health and wellbeing initiatives, covid-specific signage, and best practice advice on Government restrictions, helped them and their business.

Invest and develop 

Licensee of the Hare & Hounds pub in Tingley, Leeds, Jackie Fairburn said: “When it came to things like furlough and government restrictions it was useful to be able to call up my pub company and talk to someone who knew more than I did about those things.

“I don’t need their help all the time because I have a vision for my pub, but when I do I know I can rely on them.” 

Furthermore, alongside rent reductions, pub companies also supported publicans to upgrade outside spaces so they could continue to operate during periods of restrictions.

Licensee of the Station in King’s Heath, Birmingham, Darren paul said: “Partnering with my pub company gave me the confidence to take on my own pub.

“I get a lot of advice from them, day to day I’m focused on running the pub, so I really value my operations manager helping me to spot opportunities to invest and develop the Station to make it even better for our loyal customers.”

Fair and transparent support 

The pub partnership model, which enables licensees to operate with support and guidance from a pub company as their landlord, meant while several thousand hospitality businesses closed for good during the pandemic, partnership sites were able to re-open and continue to serve their communities, according to the survey.

This follows the release of results from the Pubs Code Adjudicator’s annual survey.

The Pubs Code Adjudicator Fiona Dickie added: “It is encouraging to see the results of this research and to hear these tenants’ views of their pub company relationship, particularly how it is underpinned by their important Pubs Code rights.

“Early in the pandemic I made it clear to the regulated pub companies I expected them to be fair and transparent in their support for tied tenants.

“It is another example of the important ways the Pubs Code protects tied tenants and promotes fair business practice.”

Related topics: Rebuilding the Pub Sector

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