Well once again a considered, practical and reasonable offer on the table let’s see if Mr Punch wants to play.
Its not as easy to guess as one might think, some places he is ripping money off the ask and others he has his heels firmly dug in. As a point of note the ask for this one is less than the fit out costs!
I hear very bad news about the tavern with people helping themselves to beer, smoking in the bar, etc so it sounds like he has been overrun by customers which is not as uncommon as you may think. With any luck he will be a big enough nuisance for the bank to want out of it soon . . . . .
Well a bloody long day all round! After trying to go on the missing list we finally got hold of the tenant who was fairly typical of what I have come to expect in this trade, by which I mean he was keen to discuss the downside.
A couple of three pints showed a nice pub albeit with limited trade.
The licence concerns brought me back in the evening and I came back around 11 and not,by any means, the fight club that the licence infers. A reasonably calm town, with a younger crowd although the pub seemed to have a pre defined crowd the passing trade all looked in.
I was in the pub till about half past two and the only real surprise was that the picture postcard pubs in the old village are the ones that are sending the youngsters up the road with bottles of WKD. A walk home (I had to walk there as well) revealed a very young couple having sex on the beach (ah the joys of youth) and at the north end a couple of homeless guys sleeping in the shelters along the beach.
So what do we have? A nice pub with the potential to trade but a problematic asking price. Next question is does punch really want to sell?
Well we’ve had a few more twists on the way with the tenant deciding yesterday that he didn’t want to accommodate a visit! A few well aimed comments and a curt reminder to the agent about ‘earning his commission’ resolved that in short order!
And so me and my mini me advisor are off to view the venue today, I think key decisions will be this evening when I can see what summer evening trade looks like as I’m not signing up for fight club at my time of life!
More to follow as always
So I convince myself on the financials after about 4 spreadsheets and then the licence comes through. . .
What a mess! No kids after 22:00 AND kids in the bar only when on way to toilet AND must have childrens menu! So I have to cook food for children, up until 22:00 so they can eat it in the toilet??
Biggest concern is a door supervisor requirement in the evening, if you take that to mean every night (looks that way) and one man per door (there are 2) at normal rates then that more than doubles my break even target!!
As ever its not a dead duck though. . . Plan is to see what summer Friday night looks like and how it is supervised, if its still ticking my boxes then I can do my SIA and there are some other areas of the licence that I can concede in exchange for a practical review.
Still struggling with the maths on the next viewing and also with a useless agent who has until tomorrow before I start using a different one.
But on the positive side I am confident I know where I want to be, albeit gutted that I missed a venue that sold at a great price point! I will continue to maintain the search until I get my venue in my location and some of the places I’m seeing are realy reinforcing my feeling that I need to pay attention to the lifestyle element of the change.
Numbers may be tighter on some premises but I am sufficiently determined to visit and review potential, I can squeeze excel into the right answer if I am feeling the love for the place after all!
We all know I am desperate to make the change but I won’t let desperation overcome the lifestyle choice that I want from this change.
Interesting outsider is the church that is run as a pool hall, not convinced the financials would allow for the conversion (STPP) of the upstairs to residential which I would need to do but its a church! If I can squeeze it into my viewing then I will, with a view to turning back to a straight pub of course!
I may even spend some time tomorrow running the numbers on a leasehold, far from my preference but would it fill a gap while I wait on the full dream?
A question that I ask myself a lot and others also ask of me a lot is why? Why would a career man give up and take a pub and why would he show such determination to do it?
I have explored the question on here before but think it has some more mileage especially since I will doubtless be asking myself many more times over the future! Well I guess the truth is that we all need a purpose, I have worked hard all of my life but when it comes down to it all that does is put money in the bank or, more commonly, in the ex wifes bank! It doesn’t create anything and it doesn’t present a real purpose it’s just an exercise in killing time and ensuring that a wage comes in.
Don’t get me wrong I am good at what I do and I bring in a good wage but when I retire that will be it, over in a blink, no legacy, no product you just stop and that’s it. I don’t want that, I want to have some small impact on the world, some association that can be seen by all and not just colleagues, I want to build something.
Why a pub? why not? oh ok I know there’s a million reasons why not please don’t list them! But really its a trade I like and its a trade suited to me, I am a people person it’s what I do day in and day out I meet people and make them the centre of the world, make them important and valued and listened to. I know I am an Engineer but the success that I have comes from making every client and every supplier feel top of the chain and that’s what drives the licensed trade, the feeling that I am more than a customer I am your friend.
Thats the success of good pubs, I watch my old mate Dave and how he gets ‘buy one get one free’ with employment because someones Mrs works for him so the Mr will help out because he is ‘a mate of Dave’s’, and I watch how that wage is recovered twice over when the same couple frequent their ‘mates’ bar. This is not, of course, to infer that there is anything underhand or cynical in this relationship because there isn’t its just the way that the trade works when it works well. The publican should oversee and facilitate a community effort, in so doing the community ‘own’ the venue and the publican simply manages it and this sense of ownership is far more powerful than promotions or advertising.
It’s an odd choice and I can’t deny that but if you have traded a pub and felt the lonely misery of a quiet shift but then seen it melt away with one busy night, if you have watched families at wakes and birthdays and met all layers of the community then you will either be grateful to have escaped or you will be desperate to return and I am most clearly the later.
Well plans are now in place for me and my mini me to visit the next venue at the end of this week.
The venue is a gorgeous building that has inspired all that see her but obviously my job is to look at the numbers and write the plans and ultimately balance the risks. Business plan is underway and developing quite well albeit with blanks for the bits I need to see.
This one is a pub that can clearly trade well and has a great visual aspect but the challenge is drawing a week long trade and to understandthat I really haveto be in the building to feel if it can be my place.
If’where’s realised how long the search was going to take I would have started aadvertising campaign along the lines of “where’s venue x? Have you seen gav a pub this weekend? Was he surveying it? Could your local be the one?”
Well you can be sure of one thing, it may be a longer road than i ever envisaged but I will follow it to the end. I started this adventure saying that I would be in a pub for the summer and I am now saying by Christmas but what never changes is I will be in a pub