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Plenty of potential buyers ready to take a chance on UK’s 4,000 ‘failing pubs’ says Colin Siebert, director at Colliers International

wantspacegotspace.co.uk - Plenty of potential buyers ready to take a chance on UK’s 4,000 ‘failing pubs’ says Colin Siebert, director at Colliers InternationalMany North West pubs stuck in an ‘80s time warp provide a great opportunity for new buyers with an eye on current and future trends, according to pub specialist Colin Siebert.

The director of licensed and leisure at the North West office of real estate advisors Colliers International in Manchester has sold hundreds of pubs across the region in the past 40 years and was commenting on the Good Pub Guide 2014 prediction that up to 4,000 licensed premises were at risk of closing over the next 12 months.

Colin said: “The Good Pub Guide’s dire forecasts have certainly stirred up a hornet’s nest in the trade but it is fairly obvious that poorly performing pubs stuck in the 1980s and even some more modern pubs will go to the wall.

“However, we are currently experiencing quite strong demand and I believe there are plenty of buyers out there ready to have a crack at the right pub in the right location.”

Colin said that the pub sector in the North West of England had probably seen more closures than any other region in the country over the past five years. The reason for this is a combination of factors, not least the fact that there was arguably an oversupply of pubs.

He added: “There is a demand for good, well located pubs which are sensibly priced, and there is less stock now coming on to the market than at any time in the past three years.

“This fact, coupled with a general improvement in the economy and positive signs that this is no false dawn, will hopefully lead to some recovery in the pub industry, and hopefully help existing operators improve profitability, and the quality of their offering.

 “There are definitely buyers out there for the right sort of pub, both private investors and corporate operators, although it’s fair to say that country and town centre locations remain the most sought after.”
“The Good Pub Guide argues that failing pubs need visionary and energetic licensees and the North West is fortunate to have plenty.

“We have seen many examples of tired old pubs being given a new lease of life through refurbishment, a new menu and imaginative diversification.  A typical example would be Amber Taverns, a rapidly growing pub company which has acquired many old and tired pubs and through investment and providing an attractive and friendly environment with a sensibly priced offering, has seen significant growth in sales.

He concluded: “Too many pubs have suffered from a lack of investment both in terms of actually improving their appearance and facilities but also by not moving with the times and providing a poor offering. Pubs need to free themselves from the dated style of the ‘80s and ensure they appeal to today’s typically demanding customer.

“Good marketing is essential to bring the customers in - it doesn’t need an expensive web site, although it helps, but the best advert is word of mouth. Smart, tidy and contemporary facilities are a must and a friendly welcome from landlord and staff, with efficient service helps ensure customers will be back for more.”

Colin`s top ten tips for a great pub are:

1.    First Impressions.  Smart external appearance - tidy external areas, well tended  hanging baskets always look good. A clean interior, especially the toilets. A smoking area ideally away from the front door and discreetly placed.

2.    The Welcome.  Good pubs always seem to have a host and staff who greet with a smile and makes the customer feel wanted, and the pub should be as female friendly as possible.

3.    A separate dining and drinking area if possible - bar trade and food trade don’t often mix well together, especially if some of the regulars are noisy and prone to the odd bit of bad language (which should be discouraged).

4.    A Fire.  Even in summer a fire crackling in the hearth makes you want to linger.

5.    The Settle. Good pubs provide an environment that makes you feel at ease. 

6.    The Drink. A good selection of beers and local beer kept and served well by an enthusiast.

7.    The Food – if applicable. Well-cooked and appropriately priced. Food preparation staff should be clean and well presented, the chef with the remains of half a slaughtered lamb on his apron is not always a positive selling point.

8.    The Noise.  Crackle of fire and hum of chat. (Not buzzing and ringing from AWP machines and few places get away with piped music - a pub is a place where people go to socialise - excessively loud music prevents conversation, or am I just getting old?).

9.    The Owner/Staff.  A follow on from tip 2. If the host sets the right tone and gets the staff to really deliver customer service all will be well.

10.    The Ah! The feeling good pubs give you as you leave. You know what I mean I am sure!!

Posted by The Editor (wantspacegotspace) on 23rd September 2013

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