Sunday, 11 October 2009

Cutting Overheads

One of the things that has helped our financial performance this year has been a careful control of our overheads. Heating and lighting are very high here and I suspect the same is true of many pubs. Another high expenditure item are staff hours. Resisting the temptation to roster staff just in case it gets busy can waste money. Clearly the down side of this is that it might get busy and then there are insufficient staff to provide a satisfactory level of quality service.

Now that October is here our weekday trade has dropped to a level where the gross profit1 is less than the wages bill. There are some softer benefits to the business in having the bar open, most important to that is manning the phone to take room bookings. However, even that is dying off now.

Ann and I are going away for a few days next week. We've had the dilemma of working out how to organise the various difficulties of having the place open and paying staff to serve a low number of people. We've taken the rather controversial decision to close the place. We feel that the cost of being open combined with the worry of something going wrong when we are hundreds of miles away isn't justifiable for the very low level of revenue we would gain. We'll be open again next weekend, when it'll be a little busier.

Tomorrow the British Guild of Beer Writers will be holding a seminar on barley wine, that should be interesting. Tomorrow night we are staying at The Hillsborough Hotel in Sheffield where it is rumoured there will be a hop-monster IPA on sale, brewed with the help of Pete Brown. I believe there will be various beer writers staying there as well. Tuesday morning Ann will pour me onto a train bound for London, I just hope she won't expect too much intelligent conversation during the journey.

We had planned on going to a trade show in Earls Court, The Restaurant Show. This is normally a good ideas mine for our own food operation. However, in the last couple of weeks I've had various invites to beer related events that coincide with us being in the metropolis, it would be rude to turn them down. It's going to be tough on my liver, me thinks. Ann might have to go to the show by herself and trust me with beer. Can I trust her let loose with the cheque book?

The trip should generate some interesting blog topics I hope. I probably won't get time to write anything whilst we're away, and I'm even pondering the advantage of carrying our old heavy slow lap-top with us. I do hope to schedule a blog for auto publishing tomorrow and there is good reason for that, as the reader will find out, but you might not hear much from me for a few days.


1Gross profit (G.P.) is simply the percentage of the selling price after the supply price of the product is deducted. Calculation is done on the exclusive VAT values. For instance, if a product is sold at £1.15, the exclusive VAT selling price is £1. If the product cost the publican 80p to buy then the G.P. is 20%.


Mark Dredge said...

Gutted I can't make the BGBW barley wine event as it sounds awesome! Will you be at the lager event on Tuesday in London? I'm heading up for that one.

Unknown said...

Mark, yes I'll be at the lager thing and the trade session for the 2009 International Beer Challenge on Wednesday.

See you Tuesday.

Curmudgeon said...

The more you close the pub, the more people won't come. Vicious circle, really. I get fed up with pubs that aren't open when you want a drink. In a way I have fond memories of the old days before the 1980s licensing reform when you had a good idea when pubs would actually be open - although even in those days, Saturday evening opening could be a pain.

Mark Dredge said...

I wanted to go on Wednesday but it's in the middle of the day and I think work would notice if I wasn't there, dammit!

Unknown said...

Curmudgeon, I am fully aware of the effect you describe, and we do choose very carefully when we do close. However, I think it is unlikely that there will be many disappointed people based on the numbers last week.

I too regret in some way the passing of the old times. Perhaps a further post sometimes.

Mark, having to work for a living is a bit of a problem...

Cooking Lager said...

So long as the opening hours are clear and consistent, a sign on the door for example, punters will not be disappointed. A lack of either can disappoint customers. Why head to a pub unless you’re sure it’s open?