Army Rumour Service

Register a free account today to become a member! Once signed in, you'll be able to participate on this site by adding your own topics and posts, as well as connect with other members through your own private inbox!

Buying a Public House in the UK

Glue_Sniffer

Old-Salt
I believe for many reasons the traditional working man's drinking pub has died out.

The workforce has changed. Years ago many men would work together in a docks or factory, finish work and go straight to the pub. They would drink beer, then go home to their wife, who would have cooked their dinner, because she was at home as a house wife and had no other job.
Today, more women work and men rely on microwave meals and live in HMOs etc. So take away food places are much more in demand, as most likely the man is finishing work and on his way home on his own. Work forces are more fragmented, with casual labour and agencies etc.

There is more alcohol available in the supermarkets, but also people are generally drinking less alcohol. Maybe this is due to the younger generation turning more towards drugs. Or some being more health conscious and going to the gym instead. Certainly gyms have been a growth area.

Regarding the breweries, I believe they saw the competition from coffee shops, as consumer demand changed. Hence Whitbread bought Costa etc, just one example.

The family restaurant still does well, so long as it serves standard meals at a cheap price, with play areas for the kids. No real soul or atmosphere, just cheap commercial nostalgic decor, borrowing from the traditional British pub idea. Marstons plc, economies of scale. Weatherspoons maybe the last refuge for the solitary drinking man, again surviving by economies of scale and cheap access to the capital markets.

In my locality I see traditional old pubs turned into HMOs and kebab houses. That is the UK today, high costs of housing, loss of traditional family model.

My advice to the OP, be very careful. Move back to the UK first, before committing to any business ventures. Get to understand what is the consumer demand today. Obviously, Covid will change things in some way. But even before Covid, the country was probably not what the OP thought it was.

Residential is the big demand for property these days, but the councils resist changes, as their voters push for a nostalgic past, without the willingness to really fund that way of life. Alluded to by others already.

There have been opportunities in HMOs, Air BnB etc. But it is the first movers who make their money. Followed in by the dumb money crowd, who get smacked by the reactionary legislation forced in later.

Just my thoughts and opinions.
 
I believe for many reasons the traditional working man's drinking pub has died out.

The workforce has changed. Years ago many men would work together in a docks or factory, finish work and go straight to the pub. They would drink beer, then go home to their wife, who would have cooked their dinner, because she was at home as a house wife and had no other job.
Today, more women work and men rely on microwave meals and live in HMOs etc. So take away food places are much more in demand, as most likely the man is finishing work and on his way home on his own. Work forces are more fragmented, with casual labour and agencies etc.

There is more alcohol available in the supermarkets, but also people are generally drinking less alcohol. Maybe this is due to the younger generation turning more towards drugs. Or some being more health conscious and going to the gym instead. Certainly gyms have been a growth area.

Regarding the breweries, I believe they saw the competition from coffee shops, as consumer demand changed. Hence Whitbread bought Costa etc, just one example.

The family restaurant still does well, so long as it serves standard meals at a cheap price, with play areas for the kids. No real soul or atmosphere, just cheap commercial nostalgic decor, borrowing from the traditional British pub idea. Marstons plc, economies of scale. Weatherspoons maybe the last refuge for the solitary drinking man, again surviving by economies of scale and cheap access to the capital markets.

In my locality I see traditional old pubs turned into HMOs and kebab houses. That is the UK today, high costs of housing, loss of traditional family model.

My advice to the OP, be very careful. Move back to the UK first, before committing to any business ventures. Get to understand what is the consumer demand today. Obviously, Covid will change things in some way. But even before Covid, the country was probably not what the OP thought it was.

Residential is the big demand for property these days, but the councils resist changes, as their voters push for a nostalgic past, without the willingness to really fund that way of life. Alluded to by others already.

There have been opportunities in HMOs, Air BnB etc. But it is the first movers who make their money. Followed in by the dumb money crowd, who get smacked by the reactionary legislation forced in later.

Just my thoughts and opinions.

I think a lot of pubs closed after the inception of pubcos into the industry. They were property and asset management companies rather than hospitality companies. They operate on the basis of squeezing landlords until the pips squeak. When the landlord fails, the pubco still has the asset and simply replace the landlord at his expense. If they have to realise the asset, then they'll just do that.
 

Glue_Sniffer

Old-Salt
I think a lot of pubs closed after the inception of pubcos into the industry. They were property and asset management companies rather than hospitality companies. They operate on the basis of squeezing landlords until the pips squeak. When the landlord fails, the pubco still has the asset and simply replace the landlord at his expense. If they have to realise the asset, then they'll just do that.

It does seem a rather unusual business / employment model, where the "landlord" takes all the entrepreneurial risk of building up the pub's business, but is then beholden to the larger company. I haven't heard of this so much in other sectors.

I suspect part of it is about the properties being worth more as non pubs, but the pubco is up against the council / public / government, who want to see pubs retained for community benefits. I know that locally to me, the council stipulates that a pub must be "proven" to fail, or be unviable before the building can be converted to an HMO, flats or even kebab shop perhaps. It's definitely got tighter as more pubs have closed.

One old style pub I used to drink in closed. Then went through the process of being empty, squatted, derelict, cannabis farm, junkies den, fire damaged, eye sore, hazardous building etc. Eventually the council relented and allowed it to be demolished and turned into flats. Only a housing association could afford to do that. Private developers couldn't make it work. Shame it has to go through all that, because it was a nice old building.
 

MoleBath

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Prior to buying a pub try and work in one quietly for a few months and learn your lessons (and spot the fiddlers) at someone else's expense. Post lock down you will be spoilt for choice as a would be buyer
 
It does seem a rather unusual business / employment model, where the "landlord" takes all the entrepreneurial risk of building up the pub's business, but is then beholden to the larger company. I haven't heard of this so much in other sectors.

It was Margaret Thatcher who created the background for it all. She was unsympathetic to the brewery tied house system that predominated at the that time. It may have had some shortcomings as far as competitive access was concerned, but the brewers primary interest was, at least, hospitality and shifting beer. Property/Asset management did not come into it, apart from on the property acquisitions side.
 

Glue_Sniffer

Old-Salt
.... and lend the place the ambience of a bookmakers.

I suspect bookmakers are another sector of the economy to start taking a hit and closing up soon. The government seems determined to damage that industry. Same with "payday lenders" and hot food take aways. (I'm talking about pre Covid policies here). Basically most things the public actually wanted to pay for were deemed undesirable by the government.

These politicians are beholden to a vocal minority, who think every run down high street can be brought back to life with vegan type stuff. Deluded.
 
I suspect bookmakers are another sector of the economy to start taking a hit and closing up soon. The government seems determined to damage that industry. Same with "payday lenders" and hot food take aways. (I'm talking about pre Covid policies here). Basically most things the public actually wanted to pay for were deemed undesirable by the government.

These politicians are beholden to a vocal minority, who think every run down high street can be brought back to life with vegan type stuff. Deluded.
The bookies took a big hit when the Roulette machines (FOBTs) stakes were cut back drastically. Many betting shops closed pre COVID. I suspect that post COVID there will be many more bookie closures, simply because many people won't have the money to have a punt and many habitual gamblers will have broken the habit with two months of no betting.
 
The bookies took a big hit when the Roulette machines (FOBTs) stakes were cut back drastically. Many betting shops closed pre COVID. I suspect that post COVID there will be many more bookie closures, simply because many people won't have the money to have a punt and many habitual gamblers will have broken the habit with two months of no betting.
Maybe independent shops but I'd have thought the big chains with an online presence would weather this and come out fighting. If televised sport starts up again (it was hinted at yesterday) they'll be all over that like a tramp on chips.
 
Maybe independent shops but I'd have thought the big chains with an online presence would weather this and come out fighting. If televised sport starts up again (it was hinted at yesterday) they'll be all over that like a tramp on chips.
Well I know of two William Hills shops (1 where I live and 1 where I work) that shut within a month of that change. A couple of local Coral shops went as well. I am not saying it is necessarily a bad thing - in fact there were becoming too many bookies in many places.
 
Well I know of two William Hills shops (1 where I live and 1 where I work) that shut within a month of that change. A couple of local Coral shops went as well. I am not saying it is necessarily a bad thing - in fact there were becoming too many bookies in many places.
I think we're agreeing. I meant the whole business is unlikely to fold as a result of COVID-19 as their online operations will provide cash flow. Betfair are still taking bets on horse racing, tennis etc. Losing some of the high street branches is no bad thing. There's no reason I can think of that my relatively small town needs 4 different bookies.

It's just another shift from the high street to online business. Same principle with banking, food shopping, all the tat on Amazon etc. Why drag yourself to a bookies when you can sit at home and do the same thing?

Much the same as pubs really, the business owners are still getting the cash but it's missing the distribution bit in the middle.
 

Glue_Sniffer

Old-Salt
I think we're agreeing. I meant the whole business is unlikely to fold as a result of COVID-19 as their online operations will provide cash flow. Betfair are still taking bets on horse racing, tennis etc. Losing some of the high street branches is no bad thing. There's no reason I can think of that my relatively small town needs 4 different bookies.

It's just another shift from the high street to online business. Same principle with banking, food shopping, all the tat on Amazon etc. Why drag yourself to a bookies when you can sit at home and do the same thing?

Much the same as pubs really, the business owners are still getting the cash but it's missing the distribution bit in the middle.

Pre Covid the government was hitting the gambling companies with bans on credit cards for online gambling. This was after the FOBT crackdown. The government has really been hitting the gambling industry recently.
It's interesting that in some ways (e.g. anti gambling) the country is becoming more socially conservative.
Whereas in other ways (e.g. gay weddings) it's becoming more socially liberal.

Whatever the opinions, there's no doubt that the government would rather see a commercial property empty and derelict, than have an industry they disapprove of occupying it.
 

Glue_Sniffer

Old-Salt
I think we're agreeing. I meant the whole business is unlikely to fold as a result of COVID-19 as their online operations will provide cash flow. Betfair are still taking bets on horse racing, tennis etc. Losing some of the high street branches is no bad thing. There's no reason I can think of that my relatively small town needs 4 different bookies.

It's just another shift from the high street to online business. Same principle with banking, food shopping, all the tat on Amazon etc. Why drag yourself to a bookies when you can sit at home and do the same thing?

Much the same as pubs really, the business owners are still getting the cash but it's missing the distribution bit in the middle.

You can't launder money so easily online. Leaves a trail and involves banks etc.
I suspect the attack on high street bookmakers may be another move against cash. Dressed up as socially responsible and caring about "problem gambling".
 
Do you mean a pub on a council estate?

yes

 

Glue_Sniffer

Old-Salt
I think the Flat Roof Pub, was actually just the equivalent of the local pub in an area of older houses nearer the town centre. They were still drinking men's pubs, just that the houses were getting built further out.
Some inner city areas of older housing can be just as rough (if not worse) than council estates further out.

But pretty much whatever has been hitting local drinking pubs will have hit the Flat Roof pubs too.
 
There used to be a cracker of a flat roof pub on a notorious housing estate in Hanwell, West London about ten years agon. Selling beer was an inconvenience. It made far more from selling class A drugs.

We eventually managed to close it down (which was actually more difficult to do than it should have been). Unbelievably, the pubco appealed the closure. They lost the appeal and it was put up for sale. Nobody wanted to know and it was pulled down. One less to worry about.

Why would you want to go to one of those places when there are park benches and pigeons to shout at?
 

Glue_Sniffer

Old-Salt
Is there a risk associated with the underworld when taking over a pub? Protection business, drugs pushing etc ?

Sounds like something from The Sweeney.
I think those days are long gone.

Criminals more often want to turn their dirty money clean, using cash businesses. They could use pubs, but it's probably too much hassle with the attention from the council for alcohol license etc. They probably just use kebab shops or barbers these days. A pub doing well would be suspicious and draw attention these days.

Most of the criminal dirty money probably comes from selling drugs, but they don't need a pub to do that. They just use a kid on a bike and a mobile phone.

The other big crime area is internet banking fraud, which the government and police have pretty much just ignored and left it to the banks to sort out. But most of that money is siphoned off overseas pretty quickly. They set up bank accounts for druggies and homeless types in the UK, to act as "money mules". The banks can usually find out who these accounts belong to, but the UK authorities don't really care. The druggies may get a fine or a week in jail. They don't care either. It's all a result of the government insisting that every UK citizen is "included" and "entitled" to a UK bank account.
 

Latest Threads

Top