On 22 Mar 2014 at 11:45am Yorkie wrote:
Last Sunday was a glorious day weather-wise and so we decided to go for a walk on the Downs with the intention of having a nice lunch at the Juggs. We ordered Sunday roasts at £9.95. Both the roast beef and roast lamb came as thin grey slices of meat swimming in an insipid gravy, obviously prepared in a factory somewhere and cooked/reheated in big flat trays reminiscent of school dinners. From a cursory visual inspection the only way to tell the two meals apart was by noting whether the contents of little sauce dishes supplied with the meals were white or green. The meat was accompanied by greasy roast potatoes and god-awful broad-beans in some unidentifiable sauce. The other vegetables came separately. The red cabbage and broccoli were passable but the carrots were uniformly sliced suggesting they were obtained from the freezer section of the cash & carry. Possibly the worst thing on the plate was something that on the outside bore a passing resemblance to a yorkshire pudding (supplied with both the beef and lamb meals). Breaking open the batter exterior revealed a spongy doughnut like consistency inside, like no yorkshire pudding I'd ever seen before. Had they used self-raising flour? Very very disappointing. We had arrived at the pub not long after twelve were served fairly quickly but we heard people complaining about how long their orders were taking. I overheard someone who I took to be the manager saying that they had been inundated with orders and that the rail where they put the orders was overflowing. We did not hang around for dessert. I do not think we will not be visiting again for some time.
On 22 Mar 2014 at 1:19pm Peggy wrote:
Get outta ma Pub ! !
On 22 Mar 2014 at 1:55pm Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
I've boycotted it since staff threw away 2 nearly full pints while we were outside having a cig, despite our coats being on the back of the seats and us having put a beer mat on top of each glass to signal our intention of returning.
We politely pointed this out to the staff, in the expectation of getting our beer replaced, but were treated with contemptuous shrugs.
Haven't been back since, and won't until I hear it's changed hands.
On 22 Mar 2014 at 4:20pm A wrote:
Try the kings head in lewes.
On 22 Mar 2014 at 4:52pm Tim wrote:
Why is the snowdrop so expensive? I guarantee it has nothing to do with the price they pay for it. Rather it's more likely to be that the landlord knows he can get away with it. £3∑60 for a pint of Harvey's best is shameful robbery.
On 22 Mar 2014 at 5:16pm geoff wrote:
Kings Head much the same for a Sunday lunch - food plonked in a sea of gravy like it was some sort of soup. Never there again either...
On 22 Mar 2014 at 9:10pm huw wrote:
Tim, Harveys is one of the most expensive beers for a pub to buy in. Most 4% ales cost in the region of £60-80 plus VAT (for 9 gallons) to buy in where as Harveys weighs in at nearer £85-95 (unfortunately as a tied pub I have to pay £110 plus VAT for it). This means that selling it for £3.40-£3.60 a pint makes your gross profit margin a lot less than you would hope for to run a succesful business. If publicans were to charge what the pub co's expect us to you would be looking at nearer £5 for a pint of Harveys so nearer £3.50 should look like a bargain.
On 23 Mar 2014 at 7:30am Sussex Jim wrote:
What we need is a local Crown carvery for a roast dinner. Not only are they cheaper, but you can choose your vegetables: and you apply the gravy yourself.
On 23 Mar 2014 at 10:34am Hunt the value roast wrote:
That's basically what the Newmarket is Jimbo
On 23 Mar 2014 at 11:25am lewes born and bred wrote:
Gravy and vegetables should always be served seperately in their own dishes. You can hide a multitude of sins when serving meat by smothering it in gravy
On 23 Mar 2014 at 11:31am Meaton Toveg wrote:
The best roast around is served at the Half Moon. Fabulous. But don't tell everybody, it's hard enough to get a table as it is.
On 23 Mar 2014 at 1:35pm Nancy wrote:
I like a nice bit of meat with my two veg, and not only on Sundays.
On 23 Mar 2014 at 8:30pm Sue wrote:
Try the Real Eating Company for a lovely Sunday Roast and a massive Yorkshire pudding.
On 23 Mar 2014 at 8:36pm Zy Quattro wrote:
I can't afford their prices Sue.
On 24 Mar 2014 at 8:47am Tim wrote:
Huw. Thanks for your genuinely interesting response to my question. It's a shame Tony had no answer himself. However, from your figures, a pint of Harvey's costs you £1.83 per pint, which gives a mark up of almost 100% and at best about 150% for other pubs. I appreciate a pubs overheads need to be taken into account but it still seems excessive. I work in retail and can assure you that our mark up for most food and drink items is around 25%. In some cases we make no profit, simply to supply our customers with what they require and in the hope they will purchase other goods at the same time. I mean no disrespect to you Huw but my observation that landlords are pricing their stock by deciding what price they think they can get away with in their local market.
On 24 Mar 2014 at 9:29am drinker wrote:
Tim you pay a pound on top of what Huw pays in VAT and excise duty.
On 24 Mar 2014 at 10:14am Another drinker wrote:
Yes Tim and Huw also has to run the pub, clean up after you, pay for Sky Sports etc for you and take on all the pressures of a business (Near on 24/7 for a pub) for what on average you possibly spend on a good night out, £6 profit? Rather Huw than me (Excuse the pun)
On 24 Mar 2014 at 11:43am huw wrote:
Tim, I think your calculations have gone wrong.
A 9 gallon tub of Harveys costs me £110 plus VAT. This means that a pint of Harveys costs me £1.53 to buy (not including VAT).
When I sell that pint for £3.40 VAT has been applied, meaning that I receive £2.83 and the rest I have to pay in VAT.
This gives me a gross profit margin of almost 50%.
You will find that most eat/drink in establishments aim for a 60-70% GP (take out retailers tend to go with less due to other factors, I'm not sure what retail business you are in so don't know where your knowledge comes from).
Please also bear in mind that my rent is near enough £40,000 per year, Sky costs over £1,400 a month (all before VAT), rates are high and I need to pay staff and all other associated overheads.
Bearing all this in mind you will find that every pub in Lewes is probably selling Harveys cheaper than their accountant would tell them to.
Finally, yes you are correct. Publicans will charge what they think they can get away with, on the whole this results in us selling beer for a lot less than it should be as we know people won't pay for it (Enterprise, the pub co that owns my building, suffests that I sell Heineken for almost £6 a pint but obviously I can't as no one would buy it).
Please feel free to contact me if you have any other questions or think that any of the points I make are not correct.
On 24 Mar 2014 at 11:50am Drinker wrote:
Interesting Huw. How much are the business rates? Is it right they go up if you sell more?
It is clear to me that Pubs are being taxed out of existence, whether deliberately (which I suspect was true under Tony Blair) or not.
On 24 Mar 2014 at 12:02pm Earl of De Montfort wrote:
It's teh Pubcos that are causing most of the issues. £3.60 for Harveys is around average.
Snowdrop and Pelham Arms have the best roasts, am happy to pay a little extra for quality and locally sourced etc
On 24 Mar 2014 at 1:37pm huw wrote:
Drinker, you can find all business rates on the VOA website. Ours are £40,000.
Not sure how they calculate but have heard that they increase when your takings do.
Earl, I am also happy to pay more for quality. However, as we are much more of a drinking pub than a food location we do try to keep our price down. This isn't to say that we don't try to do things right, we have locally sourced meats and charge £6 a roast (if you order more than 1).
On 24 Mar 2014 at 2:11pm WTF wrote:
The Green Man - Ringmer.
A perfect meal there yesterday. Quick, tasty, value, friendly.
On 24 Mar 2014 at 7:21pm Tim wrote:
@ another drinker. Why do you wrongly assume that I watch sky tv. I find sports tedious to say the least and avoid any pub showing football or cricket. Also.... nobody has to clean up after me. I even use the same glass all evening, to save on washing up, water heating etc. Huw, the prices I quoted were estimated to include vat.
On 24 Mar 2014 at 8:33pm huw wrote:
you still have not mentioned which branch of retail you get your experience from. I don't really know of any retail businesses outside of high end electronics that can get away with a 25% GP. I suppose take away establishments that have no VAT on food and very limited overheads can also do this but a pub which requires constant staffing would not be able to have margins that low.
On 24 Mar 2014 at 8:43pm Southover Queen wrote:
Huw, I'd forget it. The Ellie's a brilliant pub and offers great value for money. In fact, one of the remarkable things about Lewes is the variety and high standard of the pubs in general.
On 24 Mar 2014 at 8:56pm Ed Can Do wrote:
There's a huge difference too between a retail setup and a pub. A big shop with lots of different products will have a massive range of different GPs across their complete range of products. Supermarkets also buy stuff insanely cheaply. Tesco for example will buy the entire output of a single vinyard and sign an exclusivity deal for a number of years. After paying a decent rate the first year they then turn around and tell the grower they're now going to pay half the amount the following year. The vinyard have the choice of selling to Tesco for peanuts or not selling to anyone because of the exclusivity deal. Big stores also sell some things (Like booze) at a loss to get people in and make money off them buying other things. I know for a fact that Tesco sell Verve Cliquot champagne for less that it costs wholesale, a business that has a relatively small product line like a pub simply can't compete with that.
And of course, if you don't like the prices charged in a given pub, nobody is forcing you to go there, vote with your feet!
On 24 Mar 2014 at 11:19pm Another drinker wrote:
So Tim, you sit in the corner of the Lewes Arms with a dirty glass trying to work out how much the landlord is making out of your every sip. I hope they keep their prices down for you.
On 25 Mar 2014 at 9:48am Tim wrote:
The same could be said of publicans. Nobody is forcing you to get into the pub game. You know the pitfalls. Don't bleat about it, get out of it. @ another drinker, you are a TW@T
On 25 Mar 2014 at 10:12am Southover Queen wrote:
How bizarrely aggressive you are, Tim. Huw isn't bleating, just answering your questions and explaining why your assumptions are way off the mark.
On 25 Mar 2014 at 11:09am huw wrote:
SQ, thanks for the support.
Tim, I didn't think I was bleating, just answering someone's complaints about pricing by trying to share some facts.
Also, getting "out of it" isn't quite as easy as you seem to think (I won't go into details as you may think I'm just continuing to bleat).
It would seem that you are unwilling to share your expertise in retail to allow us to have a civilised debate on the situation so I'll leave this topic well alone now.
Once again, thank you everyone for the supportive comments.
On 25 Mar 2014 at 11:13am Tim wrote:
@ Southover queen. Did I direct it at Huw? No I did not. It was a generalisation and in fact Huw is a gentleman who always answers questions honestly. Please mind your own bigoted business.
On 25 Mar 2014 at 11:30am Southover Queen wrote:
"Did I direct it at Huw?" Well yes, since he's the only publican posting in this thread as far as anyone knows. He certainly appears to think that you were addressing him directly.
I'm not sure what was bigoted about voicing my support for an excellent pub either. Bizarrely aggressive sums it up without insults though.
On 25 Mar 2014 at 11:52am Tim wrote:
@ southover queen. Yet again you are making assumptions. Just because you assume it to be so, doesn't mean you are correct. I know what I meant and it was directed at another drinker who is possibly a publican hiding behind the anonymity this site allows. IMHO
On 25 Mar 2014 at 12:09pm huw wrote:
thank you for the compliment, I must admit I was a bit miffed originally as I did think the comment was aimed at me but am now clear that it wasn't.
If you ever fancied popping in to discuss the subject further (or just fancy a beer) please come and introduce yourself to me.
On 25 Mar 2014 at 12:34pm The Tooth Fairy wrote:
Getting a little bit petty this. Huw is merely explaining the eye watering costs involved in running a pub and if he has a few light weeks then its squeaky bum time.
Why not moan about about the duty on a pint? Now that is a rip off
On 25 Mar 2014 at 5:21pm Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
It also bears mentioning that when it comes to real ales, a publican doesn't actually get to sell 72 pints froma 9-gallon barrel. There's a fair amount of wastage (ullage?) with keeping real ale, and even if it's only 3% that's about £7 in lost revenue at the pump.
The overheads are massive, and rents are often linked to turnover. Many's the landlord who's jacked it in after successfully turning round a failing pub, only to find that their reward is a huge rent rise that eats into all that extra turnover.
On 25 Mar 2014 at 6:00pm In Drink wrote:
But the government took 1p off the duty of a pint last year and 1p this year. It's so generous of them.
I would guess Huw that probably over 50% of your turnover goes to the government when you take duty, business rates, paye & NI, VAT, taxes on waste, taxes on insurance, all taxes on the delivery vehicles etc
So well done for surviving!