Monthly Archives: June 2010

Barrel Dregs, What did Labour do for the Industry???? (66)

Scroll down for Nick Bish comment against this amazing story

Tony Blair’s County Durham constituency club to close

BBC Page last updated at 13:57 GMT, Sunday, 27 June 2010 14:57 UK

Trimdon Labour Club was the scene of Tony Blair standing down announcement

The Labour club which played host to many milestones in Tony Blair’s political career is to close.

Trimdon Labour Club was where the then MP for Sedgefield said he was standing for party leadership in 1994.

It was also the setting for three general election victory celebrations and his formal announcement that he was standing down as prime minister.

The club secretary said that finances had been hit by the smoking ban and cheaper supermarket drink prices.

After the club closes next month, the premises will be turned into a new pub, not affiliated with any party.

‘Can’t compete’

The club was opened by former Labour leader Neil Kinnock in 1993, and during Mr Blair’s premiership visitors included the then French prime minister, Lionel Jospin.

Paul Trippett, the club secretary, said: “We’re all devastated really, but we are losing money quite steadily and there doesn’t seem to be any light at the end of the tunnel.

“The smoking ban did play a part, especially during winter months, but what’s really done for us is cheap beer.

“In the club £10 will unfortunately only get you four pints of lager but if you go to one of the big supermarkets, £10 will get you 48 cans.

“Really, you can’t compete with that.”

The decision to close was made by the committee, following a number of discussions about finances.

“We thought we can do this in two ways,” he said.

“We can struggle on until we were forced to close, or we can pay off our creditors and walk out on 22 July with our heads held high.”


Talk about an open goal that even England could not miss!

“It’s always distressing when licensed premises have to close but in this case the patrons need look no further than their own party in Government for someone to blame. The smoking ban may have had good intentions but it was shockingly badly implemented – Dr John Reid saw the signs and suggested special categories, but was ignored.

‘Just do food’, said the ASH activists – in a working men’s’ club? –  as if! 

And to make matters worse the Government landed tax after tax and rule after rule on the on-trade and let the supermarkets sell whatever booze they liked, whenever they liked and at whatever price they could screw out of their suppliers; and the pubs, clubs and bars can’t compete – and the most vulnerable go to the wall! Not very new Labour!”

Nick Bish
Chief Executive


Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers

9B Walpole Court, Ealing Studios, London, W5 5ED

tel: 020 8579 2080 or fax: 020 8579 7579 or mob: 07831 778993

Barrel Dregs, a relevant story from the archives. (65)

I felt I had to write in. Reading your pages was like reading my life history. Many of the dreadful actions of Pub Cos you relate. I too have experienced. I have owned a freehouse so the trade was not new to me but I was a babe in arms when dealing with the leasehold negotiators for the Pub Co.
I had a meeting with the new Pub Co and treated the meeting as a two way interview and I found them quite legalistic and defensive in their responses, unlike any BDM I have met but just as unforthcoming about the realities off the business
So anything you say to help, in either scenario, would be much appreciated.

I have a 15 year lease, 8 years left on an 8 roomed inn with a beer and cider only tie.

I have known the place for over twenty years and for half of this it was was apparently successful as a restaurant and freehouse. A Pub Co then purchased it, spent nothing and ran it into the ground, at which point the present Pub Co bought it and 30 other properties. They ran it as a managed house for a year or so without success and put the lease up for sale with the promise of a major refurb.
I took on the new lease in 2002. The refurb was done and used to justify the higher rent. We upped the standard to get 4 AA stars and an AA food Rosette. We have struggled from time to time but the good balanced out the bad until Sept 2008 when there was a major dip in business following a really poor summer and I alerted the BDM to the problem; this time there was no good to see us through the bad. We arranged a meeting and went through the figures and forward bookings. His response was that for the Pub Co to help us we must accept their “value” business model; reduce our room prices to £50 to compete with Premier Inns and reduce our food prices substantially to get more people in. I was very doubtful but for the sake of their unspecified help I agreed. One week later I found out what “help” meant. I was informed that I was on stop for beer orders. This subsequently changed to cash before delivery plus rent weekly plus arrears (one months rent at that time). Terms that were impossible to meet. October was again poor, November worse and December the lowest room bookings we have had in 7 years. And throughout this and meetings with my accountant and solicitor the brewery has not moved one scintilla other than to issue a statutory demand and to fine me for buying out. The choice is pretty stark; pay up or get out and become bankrupt. Fortunately I can raise the funds required but I really want some movement from the Pub Co on the rent to justify more capital being put in.

At this point you may well think me mad. I am considering another leasehold property with a smaller Pub Company, free of tie. It is a closed property due to insolvency and I would hope to secure sensible terms. The business is similar to my present one, rooms being the core component, in a market that is better than the present area.

My response, just be damn careful get everything in writing and trust no-one, don’t be bamboozled into taking a lease, until everything is signed sealed and correct. A vacant property is a very much an at risk property for a Landlord, they will want you in as soon as possible, make sure you have a good survey and agree the dilapidations before you sign the lease, photograph every fault in the building, date the pictures and send them to the company by registered post, if they are trying to gloss over the state of the building. Finally tape record every conversation with any Pub Co representative.

The views expressed are not necessarily the editors and accepts no responsiblity for them, we do try to avoid offensive or litigious statements being made.


Latest Telephone Scam


PLEASE PASS ON.The new telephone ‘scam’ has arrived.

I received a call from a ‘representative’ of BT, informing me that he was disconnecting me because of an unpaid bill. He demanded payment immediately of £31.00, or it would be £118.00 to re-connect at a later date.

The guy wasn’t even fazed when I told him I was with Virgin Media, allegedly VM have to pay BT a percentage for line rental!
I asked the guy’s name – the very ‘English’ John Peacock with a very ‘African’ accent – & phone number –  0800 0800 152  0800 0800 152 .
Obviously, he realized I wasn’t believing his story, so offered to demonstrate that he was from BT. I asked how & he told me to hang up & try phoning someone – he would disconnect my phone to prevent this.
AND HE DID!! My phone was dead – no engaged tone, nothing – until he phoned me again.
Very pleased with himself, he asked if that was enough proof that he was with BT. I asked how the payment was to be made & he said credit card, there & then.
I said that I didn’t know how he’d done it, but I had absolutely no intention of paying him, I didn’t believe his name or that he worked for BT.
He hung up.
Did 1471 & phoned his fictitious 0800 number – not recognised.    
I phoned the police to let them know, I wasn’t the first! It’s only just started apparently but it is escalating.
Their advice was to let as many people know by word of mouth of this scam. The fact that the phone does go off would probably convince some people it’s real, so please let as many friends & family aware of this.
This is good but not that clever. He gave the wrong number – it should have been  0800 800152  0800 800152 which takes you through to BT Business. The cutting off of the line is very simple , he stays on the line with the mute button on and you can’t dial out – but he can hear you trying.  (This is because the person who initiates a call is the one to terminate it). When you stop trying he cuts off and immediately calls back. You could almost be convinced! The sad thing is that it is so simple that it will certainly fool the elderly and vulnerable.  Obviously, if this scam is real, once they have your credit/debit card details, there is nothing to stop them cleaning out your account.


Barrel Dregs, this months winner of the Charm Award for BDM’s and above. (64)

Pot Boy was sent a tape and transcript the other day from fellow Licensee in Swindon who has had his pub right from the start of its 20 year lease.

The lease renewal is due in December.

Pubco have not served the usual section 25  forms and Pot Boys pal was getting a little concerned, so he gave the Pubco a bell and in summary this is what happened.

Its so bizzare that if you made it up the world would call it fanciful fiction.

The full tape has been paraphrased because it rambles on a bit.

 The Area Manager (AM) confirmed at a face to face meeting that the Company was “up to speed” with the rent review.

The Tenant (Ten) corrected him and produced a recent barrelege tracker that clearly stated the lease terms at the top of the page and that the lease ends in December 2010.

Back to the transcript.

AM.”. Any new lease that we MIGHT consider would only be for ten years and there will be RPI indexation.

Best rent we can do is £31K and you have seven days to accept otherwise the gloves are off.

We will probably go for at least £40K if you want to be difficult.”

> Pot Boy knows that the current rent is £27K with no RPI <

Ten. “You can’t do that because I am entitled to a maximum of 15 years under the Landlord and Tenant Act or something like it”.

AM. “Are you telling me my job ! The Company knows very well what it can and can’t do and you certainly won’t change Company policy that has been followed for years and years because you have stupid ideas of what you think you are entitled to..Don’t let me loose my cool here”.

Ten. “But I know I am right.I really know that I can have a new 15 year lease, and on roughly the same basics as my present lease, which has no RPI reviews”.

AM. “Look, lets be Joe Blunt about this, I could put you on a three year tenancy and theres nothing you can do about it, take it from me. I have done more of these that you have had hot dinners mate !”

Ten. “But I am right,you are blowing hot smelly air, you can’t….

AM interrupts. “All new agreements have RPI in them so don’t think you can start pushing water uphill. DON’T EVER tell me what I can and can’t do, you are (swearwords deleted) lucky that I’m even thinking of allowing you to stay on. Now the new rent has got to be agreed within a week to allow the poncy legal beagles to draw up the new agreement so that it follows all of our others. Best to have all the leases the same, keeps things simple”

Ten..”I am going to insist on a new 15 year lease”

AM interrupts  “You just haven’t been listening have you. Watch my lips and I will speak slowly. If that rent is not agreed then forget any ten year agreement, the best you will get from me is three years. In fact we might even consider a change of use, its a big plot, might be worth a packet to a developer. Now I don’t want to see you homeless, you and the missus have been here for ages, but you know what developers are like, market for new houses is picking up, and the lease is coming to an end soon.”

Ten. “Your’e threatening me”

AM. “Just the facts of life seeing as how you are telling me my future ,  I’m telling you yours. You could be out on your ear if I push the other way.”

Ten. “What ways’ that ?”

AM. “Lets get this rent settled, you know its for your own peace of mind”

Ten..”What, £31K ?”

AM..”No chance, youv’e pushed me too hard, if you want ten years, it will have to be £40K. Three years, I might, just might look at £31K. Final offer, no buts, its there on the table for you, and if you don’t we will drop on you from such a height with a Dilaps schedule that wish you never crossed me”

The rest of the tape rabbits on and gets nastier but the Pubco ARM doesn’t back down and the threats get worse. Pot Boy has taken advice from  a well known Chartered Surveyor (the Pubcos love to hate him!). This is his advice.

 1) You can have a new lease of up to 15 years if your original laese is for 15 years or more.

2) The new lease has to contain what is known as “modern terms”. Whether RPI is in or out is debatable as for example Marstons (I think) in their new Code of Practice have done away with it, which indicates that it is not an industry wide accepted practice.

3) A new lease can be refused if the site is required for redevelopment and has planning consent for that purpose. No refusal if no planning.

4) The Pubco cannot insist on a lease a lease shorter than, in this case, 15 years.

5) The Tenant should immediately serve a Sec 26 notice stating what he wants in the new lease, length of term and the level of rent he is prepared to accept.

6) New lease terms must be settled first before the rent is agreed so you know what is being reflected in the Profits test rent valuation.

Amazing what good advice you can get for a couple of pints of Pot Boys very best bitter !!

So there we have it. The bully tactics are alive and thriving. Goodness knows how many Tenants give up under the pressure. The whole thing stinks.

Back to the cellar,

Pot Boy.

The views expressed are not necessarily the editors and accepts no responsiblity for them, we do try to avoid offensive or litigious statements being made.

Barrel Dregs, COP’s, have we changed the words and achieved nothing, Part 2? (63)

COP Overview Part 2

Unfortunately, Bateman’s COP has been the subject of my scrutiny following my learned colleagues comments.

I would like Stuart Bateman to take the comments, not as a rant against a brewer, but objective observations from a long lapsed brief member of the RICS who has been involved in commercial property and pubs for many years.

The thought behind his companies COP is extensive, but certain aspects which, if incorporated into and obviously accepted with other COP’s raise serious doubts by some of us, as leaving the door open to abuse by the unscrupulous.

Rents are based on FMT, what is Fair Maintainable Trade in a falling or virtually static market, depending on where your business is.

FMT was the term by the old brewers for the level of business that could be reasonably achieved by a specific business, they knew exactly how much business was available and set realistic figures based on the historical trading by that business, you did not get a BDM/BRM or whatever name the company called them coming in and demanding a 30% increase in FMT based on Cherry Picked Comparables within a fifteen mile radius as I have seen on too many occasions. 

FMT should be based on actual trading, economic conditions at the time and subject to detailed facts.

The trading within the business at that time is it’s actual market share, any growth is at the cost of another business, business is finite, FMT assumes that business is infinite and the same by the use of Comparables.

Comparables when used in conjunction with FMT ratchet rents higher and higher, in many cases unjustifiably so.

FMT is always viewed in respect of an individual business, but in reality the industry would probably need at least six new major breweries to satisfy the perceived demands of a collective total of all FMT’s throughout the country.

This why if FMT is to be used in rental calculations, it has to have a clear cut defined method of calculation and be based on the existing business at that time, which whether high or low is it’s market share at that time.

If a business loses business to a new  tenant, the rent should be reviewed at the next scheduled review, if this is ignored it collectively ratchets rents higher and over estimates the true business available.

The other point about FMT is that in theory the use of FMT irons out the goodwill factor in that none should be carried over into the assessment of FMT.

This never happens in real life which puts the whole dodgey business of FMT assessment to the sword !

It would be very interesting if every brewer with pubs, viewed their overall sales to their tenants and then calculated the over estimation of the collective FMT for those tenants and compared the difference, then compared their own sales performance on overall brewery sales and projected sales, it would be excellent if both figures were similar and indicate a thinking brewer, sadly I think the majority would find the FMT percentage figure way in excess of the brewery overall sales percentages. 

The use of the RPI is another costly step for all tenants in the valuation of rent, it does not reflect the state of the market within the licensed industry, but the inflation in most essentials to living.

Drinking in pubs and the use of pubs is not an essential to living as we can see from the cheap sales of alcohol in supermarkets.

The licensed industry has in recent years one of the highest business failure rates of almost any, industry, before the Banking Crisis one major Pub Co’s Taw and Closed Reasons Tracker showed 5,800 enforced changeovers/failures in two and a half years, that is not a successful trading record, what it is now with the recession is an embarrassing closely guarded secret.

The RPI does not reflect the loss of business within the licensed industry, brought about by the recession, government legislation and the activities of a number of companies within the industry.

In addition the use of the RPI is only appropriate if a premises can be granted a change of use with a straight forward planning application, pubs in the main do not enjoy this benefit, the majority are locked into the licensed industry as a source of business, by tradition, community and the configuration of the building combined with location.

If the RPI was a direct reflection of the economics of the industry it would be suitable, but since it is not in virtually all respects of it’s calculation, it is in my opinion a serious error of judgement to link any rental calculation to the RPI.  

To the thinking brewers with pubs, your pubs always used to be your showcases to sell your products, with the tie they should have fair rents to make them profitable for tenants and brewers as they used to be, not a vehicle to squeeze more blood out of a near bloodless stone.

I always wanted my tenants to make money and invest in their businesses and my property, keeping tenants poor achieves nothing, every enforced change costs around £30K , lets try to make the industry a success and a fair and transparent industry to be proud of.

Brewers are in business to sell beer, not getting their fingers burned on property speculation.

If you agree with these comments in both articles, send them to every pub owning brewer, the BIIBAS section dealing with COP’s and anyone that may appreciate these comments, we need to make all these bodies think outside the present box, use the facility to email at the top of the articles.


The views expressed are not necessarily the editors and accepts no responsiblity for them, we do try to avoid offensive or litigious statements being made.

Barrel Dregs, beware of BDM’s bearing Gifts before June 2011. (62)

Pot Boy hates to fall out with fellow Licensees but after you have been brought up in the trade and stayed in it man and boy, you get a few wrinkles along the way.

PB was visiting his favourite Aunt Dolores on the leafy Kent/East Sussex borders and dropped in to see an old mate still on an old Brewery lease with its last five year rent review in May 2011.

The freehold is now owned by a Pubco.

The Pubco BRM called all smiles and bonhomie couple of weeks ago and because he has been such a good tenant over all these years, offers a new 20 year lease on revised terms, including RPI rent indexation with a reduction in rent from £58K down to £53K.Yes,a £5K reduction plus extra “trade support” that was never clearly spelt out.

All this was on the basis that my mate signs up there and then otherwise if the review is handled in the usual manner next year the rent would certainly not stay the same and most likely go up substantially.

So he was categorically assured.

He signed the new agreement on the third visit by the BRM (all over the span of nine days).


Well, PB got into a well heated discussion with his mate who himself has over 20 years trade experience,and “always trusted the Brewery” (its a Pubco now but no matter) and he knew a good deal when a good deal was on offer.

Total sales on a full tie basis about £430K,30% food but with unavoidable high associated labour costs.

Strong local food based competition and a price concious clientel.Scratching a savings supported living assisted by letting out two rooms for occasional B & B.

“Bit of hows yer father, the Brewery don’t know, wink, wink”.

Well, it only earns him about an extra £5K but he thinks hes getting one over.

To Pot Boys cynical mind the threat to sign up now or risk the consequences next year were as hollow as the Pubcos claim that they don’t do upwards only rent reviews any more.

Basic facts are that the existing rent is 13.4% of sales and the new rent is 12.3% of sales.

Although the new rent is £5K lower, factor in RPI rises (current RPI 5%) and within only TWO YEARS the rent is back to where it was a fortnight ago.


Thereafter it just keeps rising.


At best,and that means very best,sales will stay as flat as a pancake.

At medium worst,they will gently fall despite all best efforts.

Expenses will march on at about 5%-8% per year.

That means that my mates costs will rise by between £8K-£13K next year and that, my friends, comes straight off the bottom line.

Such profit as he made is then wiped out and you can’t keep shedding staff hours if you want to keep your sanity and health.

No way !

Who knows what will happen to this recession and the Coalition based general economy in the run up to my mates intended rent review next May.

Betcha life won’t get any easier !

Doing some careful sums, PB is certain that you should NEVER EVER sign up to a rent review until the very last moment, and certainly not like his sad and trusting mate,nearly a year in advance of the review date.

For sure, PB is told by professionals who use his boozer,that the current levels of affordable rent should NEVER exceed at best 10% of total sales and might even be as low as 8% of total sales.

PB is sure that his mates “agreement” will be used as a shining example to other trusting suckers.One born every minute.

Not to be overlooked is the supposed relaxation of the tie next June 2011.

Time will tell !

Back to cleaning the pipes and not worrying about the spy in the cellar.

I would never accept inaccurate flow monitoring that is not even approved by Weights and Measures/Trading Standards.But thats another jotting another day.

Pot Boy.

The views expressed are not necessarily the editors and accepts no responsiblity for them, we do try to avoid offensive or litigious statements being made.

Barrel Dregs, The Ceilings falling in on Enterprise Pubs????? (61)

Short title Biggin Hill Pub Injury



Enterprise Inns managers were left with no illusions that it was their responsibility to repair a dangerous ceiling that had been outstanding from the original lease support works at Biggin Hill pub

Last Friday 11th June the bedroom ceiling, in a dangerous condition, at the Kings Arms, Biggin Hill in Kent, owned by pubco Enterprise Inns, collapsed and injured a chef who was laying in bed at the time at the time. As the ceiling began to collapse Chef Steve Thomas leapt from his bed in an attempt to avoid the full impact of the collapse and has sustained damage to the ligaments and soft tissue of his leg. A second employee was fortunate enough to have left the room just moments earlier. Had they still been in the room they would have taken the full impact of the collapse followed by several hundred years of falling dust and dirt behind it and most certainly would have been critically injured.

The pub tenant Nicola Rose is a member of GMB. She had earlier called in Hayley Brennan, GMB Lead Organizer for pub tenants, to meet on Tuesday 2nd February with senior managers & surveyors from Enterprise Inns that own the freehold of the pub to discuss repair and maintenance work that was outstanding under the terms of the lease between the landlord and tenant. One such item was a dangerous ceiling which was in danger of collapse. Enterprise agreed to deal with the matter but failed to do so. 

The Kings Arms is at Leaves Green, Nr Biggin Hill, Kent and Nicola Rose has been the pub tenant there for 2 years.

Hayley Brennan GMB lead organizer for pub tenants said “This puts a complete  new take on going to your local pub to get plastered.  Enterprise Inns have succeeded in doing something the Luftwaffe failed to do which to bring down the ceiling in this historic pub where the Battle of Britain pilots relaxed.


In February I attended a meeting at the Kings Arms with an Enterprise Inns surveyor and the Regional Manager about outstanding repairs and maintenance of the premises needed at the pub.


I left these Enterprise managers under no illusions that it was their responsibility to repair a dangerous ceiling that had been outstanding from the lease support works. I warned them that if the ceiling collapsed on someone, GMB would hold them criminally negligent. They agreed to get it sorted. Last week it collapsed and fell on the Chef and he has sustained injuries. GMB will hold them to account.


While the Pubco boardrooms are awarding themselves massive bonuses, lack of investment in their estates has led to increasingly dilapidated premises. I am calling on the Health & Safety Executive to undertake an urgent review of all tenanted pubs in the UK before someone is killed – starting with Enterprise Inns”


Contact  Hayley Brennan GMB lead organizer for pub tenants 07850 919 933 or tenant Nicola Rose mobile: 079681 76130


The views expressed are not necessarily the editors and accepts no responsiblity for them, we do try to avoid offensive or litigious statements being made.

Barrel Dregs, CAN’T WRITE, WON’T WRITE, AINT RIGHT !! (60)



A sad and familiar tale came to Pot Boy today from a Lady in Yorkshire who is about to be taken to Court and losing her Pubco pub.

The saga is horribly familiar and to be frank, Pot Boy in his innocence thought this sort of thing was something of the past seeing as how the much trumpeted Codes of Practice are out there loud and clear.


The Lady was really struggling to pay rent and other essential bills.

Business recovery scheme offered but NOTHING in WRITING.

One lager and one bitter comes in at £100 per barrel discount and the pump price is dropped to £1.95 per pint.

No extra moey goes in the till ‘cos the GP effectively stayed the same.

Discount ends and the pump price goes back up to £2.85.

What custom that has been gained thinks that the P*** is being severely taken and trots off to the other pubs in the area.

Lady then accused of buying out because “anomolies” in the Brulines record.

BRM shows up with a print out and  a calculation that “proves” she should be fined £2640 plus an administration fee UNLESS she signs a confession admitting her guilt.

If she signs, the fine will be forgotten.

She asks for confirmation that the fine will be waived, but gets NOTHING in WRITING.

Week later she signs the confession.

Brulines then come round to recalibrate the kit and find that in fact she is UP by nearly 675 gallons.

The Pubco owe her, not the other way round.


Next bank statement she finds she is overdrawn because, whaddyaknow, the Brulines fine has been taken out of her account.

She protests and the BRM says he will sort it out, NOTHING in WRITING.

The accounts department will do nothing until the BRM confirms the position to them IN WRITING.

Nothing happens.

The Pub goes on cash with order and she sinks deeper in debt.

Now she has to buy out and freely tells the Pubco who send round a surveyor to do a dilapidation survey which is verbally confirmed by the BRM at about £36000.

Nothing as to cost in WRITING, only the detail of every last lick of paint supposedly required.

She protest to the BRM who admits that the dilaps schedule is heavy handed and says he will immediately have the requirement withdrawn.

NOTHING in WRITING yet again.

Bailiffs turn up to take all of the pub furniture (which Pot Boy knows is just not legal, walking possession maybe, but not knicking the basics of trade, no siree !).

She vigorously protests and the BRM promises to call off the dogs but NOTHING in WRITING.

One thing does come in writing, a Court Order seeking possession for buying out of tie and now, non payment of rent and claiming the full cost of the dilapidations at £36000.

All the things she sought to have confirmed in writing as being totally wrong have now suddenly appeared against her.

Pubco claim now adds up to nearly £50K !!

She protests and the PubcoSolicitors say she is lying, guess what,because she has NOTHING in WRITING.

She is not going to fight because the last three years since the smoking ban have eaten up all of her savings,and after 19 years in the trade she can’t fight any more.

Our conversation ended with her in floods of tears.

Pot Boy is closing the cellar hatch very quietly,otherwise he’ll get so angry he will throw down the phone………

 Pot Boy.

The views expressed are not necessarily the editors and accepts no responsiblity for them, we do try to avoid offensive or litigious statements being made.

Barrel Dregs, Codes of Practice, have we changed the words and achieved nothing? (59)

Part 1 of  a COP overview.

Having been asked by a client to cast an eye over at least one BII approved Code of Practice.

Bateman’s Brewery was the only one that was readily accessible.

The bulk of the information could be included in an individual company lease/tenancy agreement, where again the bulk of the information would be legally binding on both parties.

The sad thing is that the industry would appear to have failed to grasp some of the core problems that have been raised by the BII and others to the RICS.

We have the hackneyed expression Competent Operator, used with total disregard by virtually every pub owning company in the country, the RICS were totally unable to describe accurately what the definition, experience or qualifications required for a Competent Operator, various comments like a Resonably Efficient Operator, totally non specific.

In every other profession, you have various intermediate standards until you become a professional or qualified operator, the industry is the second oldest profession in the world yet we have no differing standards, the BII have various levels of proficiency, yet the companies that own the pubs have one standard which they base their trading conditions on, no wonder the failure rate is so high.

The BII have a Graduate Member, who has taken a basic qualification, an Associate Member who has taken a slightly more complex exam/course or possibly some managerial experience for at least a year, finally a Full Member who should have at least three years managerial experience and some qualifications or five years managerial experience and minimal qualifications.

The only qualification that would fit the trading conditions demanded by the pub owning companies would be a Full Member and that in many cases is questionable.

However, Bateman’s  define their standard as an Average Operator, this is equally as useless as Competent Operator without a specific definition, yet the BII accepted it, surely the people approving these COP’s have some knowledge of the problems within the industry or are they in a cloistered world of ignorance.

The BII are trying to raise the level of professionalism or claim to be, yet they allow this non classification to sail through leaving the requirements for raising professional standards and further training condemned to a few days initial training with minimal practical experience.

The Industry is losing the best operators through disillusionment and an inability to make a successful living, yet we need to make the Industry profitable and professional.

The only way that we will achieve that is by classifying people according to qualifications and successful experience.

They need to be provided with trading conditions that suit their experience to turn them into successful professionals.

We have to establish their compatability to the industry, ticking boxes at the end of a course establishes an intelligence level it does not make a professional.

There are to my mind three levels of licensee, a novice who requires further training and profitable practical experience up to at least a year, an intermediate who has received further training to develop his or her abilities and at least three years profitable trading, finally a mature experienced successful licensee who recognises where his abilities lie and can make a serious profit for himself and the company.

My client having owned a small Pub Company always ensured that limited experience people were put in pubs to suit their ability and with conditions that enabled them to make a profit, putting someone in a good pub with limited experience or capability is business suicide, continuous training is a prerequisite to success.

Brewers have returned to selling beer, they might like to consider their predecessors who were eminently successful and pubs were a career for life.

Legal Eagle

The views expressed are not necessarily the editors and accepts no responsiblity for them, we do try to avoid offensive or litigious statements being made.

Poppleston Allen, Keep that Kitchen Clean

Keep That Kitchen Clean!

  • Date: 16/06/2010
  • Author/Solicitor: Graeme Cushion


A recent article in The Independent highlights once again the need for a proper cleaning regime within the kitchens of licensed premises.

According to the article, Chinese restaurants and take-aways are the most likely to have substandard hygiene practices than any other types of food operators.

The article cited that more than half of the Chinese outlets rated nationally were not up to scratch. Almost half of all Indian restaurants fared the same. Kebab shops were not much better, with a quarter of fish and chip shops being found to be substandard. In contrast, burger chains such as McDonalds and KFC were found to be very clean.

For those who are unfortunate enough to be prosecuted, fines are on the increase as well. A restaurant in Manchester was fined £70,000 in December!

With the number of people being hit by food poisoning on the rise, pressure to enforce is unlikely to go away. This means that operators need to be very wary indeed of the standards within their kitchens and premises generally, otherwise they will have to bear the consequences.

For more information please contact Graeme Cushion .