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Buying a Public House in the UK


Book Reviewer
I think the extra £1 we paid, went into some kind of "welfare fund". It was used to bring us bacon sandwiches wrapped in tin foil on exercise etc. We didn't pay for those.
I didn't drink much, but I liked the bacon sandwiches, so I was pleased with the arrangement.

I seem to remember something about them not being allowed to make more than 13% profit?
But maybe I'm imagining that.
If it was being run by RAPC, expect to see a good ripping off. I was in BATUS working nightshift in the cookhouse, Pay Corp LCpl comes bimbling in and demands the usual. As it was our first nightshift, we had no idea of what he was on about, so he comes out with this list, hot dogs, burgers, buns for both, lettuce, onions, tomatoes. I asked what we were getting in return and he says nothing, it's for the lad's bar. I told him he'd be getting nothing unless we got something back such as a slab of beer and pack of cigs for every smoker on shift. he ran off, 5 mins later Pay Corps Sgt ambles in and tells us to do one and handover the rations, stating that he'd report us to the Master Chef for bribery, I told him to go ahead and I'd report him for stealing rations (as he'd put it) and fraud as he was selling rations in the bar to the lads. His excuse was that the money made went to a party for the lads endex, my excuse was, we'd keep quiet as long as he handed over the beer and fags. We got them in the end on the proviso that no other shift did the same, first thing we done was inform the MC, he agreed and told all of the following nightshift teams to do the same. The lads never got a party, the RAPC never bought any food for the bar and the profit from beer and food went into their pockets. The 4 of us on nightshift that week had a couple of cans each after shift every morning and put the rest in the fridge for a pissup when the month was over, the other night teams did the same, worked out quite well.

Joshua Slocum

Book Reviewer
Just to add to this... If you want to go down the Olde Worlde Pubbe route, make sure to investigate the building and possible implications that come with it. I'm not talking about listed buildings here either...
I know of one city centre pub that has to jump through so many hoops/red tape before they can undertake any sort of refurbishment that it's just not worth the hassle. I'm not talking major structural changes either... replacing the carpet was one idea that got binned because the local archaeological society demand a full on survey of floorboards etc. which was going to take weeks.
I know of another food business in a similarly aged building (500ish years) where it is simply impossible for them to ever get a 5* food safety rating as that would require structural changes that will never be allowed. They do still get a good trade because their products are good, but "only" getting 3 or 4 stars will put people off.
From my own experience in the trade, which I'm thankfully out of now, whatever you think your maintenance/repairs budget is... at least double it. A lot of old pubs have been shoehorned into buildings that weren't originally designed to be pubs. These have usually subsequently had god knows how many refurbishments, upgrades, structural changes, repair works etc. that they are a myriad of rouge electrics and pipes. The only way to turn on the TV in my first pub was by switching on 3 different plug sockets, of which only one actually had a plug plugged in (for the TV strangely enough). All three sockets were on different walls!

And check for Chancel Liability if you are buying the property, many older public houses were once the property of the church
by Christ the costs involved in missing that one out will bankrupt you


Book Reviewer
I know nothing about the running of public houses at all. However, from the observing the experience of a former friend a few years ago, I would suggest that buying a pub is probably the surest way to lose whatever funds you put into it along with any other spare savings you might have, your wife, your friends, your self respect, your health and your sanity. Some of these you may get back after a few years at the very bottom of a dark pit of despair. Others you will not.
The CEO of Green King has a legal responsibility to maximise profits for the shareholders.
I think he will be doing a lot of that once this is over. as they are now owned by a property developer registered in the Cayman Islands and working out of Hong Kong.
A lot of the pubs are worth more as housing, rather than beer retail outlets.

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