Pubs need to be 'bold' to expand in 'difficult market'

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Lots of options: businesses need to be their own storytellers to grow during turbulent six months (Pictured: John Miesner speaking at MA Leaders Brighton)
Lots of options: businesses need to be their own storytellers to grow during turbulent six months (Pictured: John Miesner speaking at MA Leaders Brighton)

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Operators need to be the “storytellers” of their own businesses to survive this “turbulent six months”, according to Interpath Advisory head of debt advisory John Miesner.

Speaking at the MA Leaders event in Brighton, East Sussex, on Thursday 15 September, Miesner warned operators need to be “prepared” for a “storm of bad news”.

Furthermore, Miesner stated base rates had been predicted to soar as high as 4% or more over the next 12 months with a decline not forecasted until 2030, according to the Bank of England’s SONIA.

However, the debt advisory specialist stated, unlike in 2008, the country was not experiencing a “liquidity crisis” and there is money available to help see businesses through this “brace yourself moment.”

He added: “There’s lots of money out there and people who are keen to help [others] through these issues.

“For the bold and brave who are willing to take risks, push on through and raise the capital to help them grow and manage by expand, develop, enhance, there’s real profits on the other side.”

Lots of options 

While Miesner urged operators to prepare and “hunker down” he advised the “best tip” for convincing lenders to continue advancing money was to be transparent and in control.

He said: “Be confident, know your stuff. Don't go into any conversation with anyone who provides you money at this stage without at least some view of the answer. Identify a potential source of liquidity.

“There's lots of options out there if you can persuade people you're a good business with a strong future.”

However, Miesner stated the “route to money” usually takes around four or five months, so operators need to be prepared in advance and understand their cash flow needs and where unnecessary expenses could be cut for both the short and long term.

Additionally, Miesner urged operators to be their own storytellers and show what makes their pub special and why it would be a winner and stand out in a difficult market.

He said: “Nobody wants to support a business that doesn't have a path to grow, a story to sell on the back end.

Fragmented market 

“Understand your exposure and be able to articulate your exposure. Make sure you understand and can articulate the quality and value of these things.

“Ultimately, in times of distress, people go back to underlying asset values. If you own machinery, if you own your freehold estate, make sure you're articulating [this] value to people in uncertain cash flow times.”

Furthermore, Miesner advised mergers and acquisitions offer a “great environment for people to merge together to realise synergies”.

He added: “Invest for the business you want to be.

“There are people who would be better off working together, partnering in procuring in merging costs and minimising collective overheads.

“There’s a huge opportunity at play in a very fragmented market.”

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