I spent some time, god only knows why, reading a pub tenants forum earlier today and got so enraged I had to delete it. Lets be clear this is a tough trade, has been for some years, but there are good operators doing well in every model. For those that bemoan the tie, think on do you have the money for a freehold? could you convince finance to lend? In short do you actually have the nuts to cash the cheque you are talking?
Is your rent too high? Of course it isn’t, a company purchased that freehold with borrowed money at the peak of the market and, as daft as this may seem, they want a return on their investment. As the best publican in the world did you have the cash to purchase it? Of course not, you may be able to run a bar or a restaurant but you need a backer, do you know how hard they are to find? phone Barclays just for a laugh. Your dreams of the rural idyll or busy town pub are far from collateral.
Are you living in a building that you could never afford in a million years? are you paying your bills? welcome to a successful tenancy. Do you spend 90% of your life bemoaning your beer price and the evil PubCo? welcome to failure, learn to do research and read the small print people because you are not for this trade. The days of fast cars, sexy birds and cigars by teatime are long gone grow up buy a pub or negotiate terms otherwise piss off and leave the rest of us to our trade.
The other thing, since I am ranting, that drives me apoplectic with rage is ownership. I am sick to my back teeth of talking to tenants and managers who own/owned a house. Let me be clear, according to the law of the land, I own every last stone of the Plough and the mud that they were laid on but I do not own the pub. I could (its ok I wont) demolish the pub and own the subsequent flats but that is different. Neither me nor any future landlord will own the Plough, he is not some chattel to be passed. This is the Plough a building that already has more history than any one of us could ever achieve how could one person own that?
It is not that the fact that people claim title that drives me mad it is the dual issues of the fact that they don’t have any right to claim such (alleged) grandeur and also that they believe it is appropriate. As publicans we are merely custodians of our homes. Our job is, in short, to maintain and preserve our lady for the next generation. I could no more own the Plough than I could own the Solent but I will support this old lady and right her wrongs.
That is what true publicans do, we devote our entire lives into an entity that we can never claim as ours.