A good friend of mine has a notion he's rather partial of, and he isn't afraid to verbalise it. It's about pubs and, unlike most of us who moan about what isn't right with them, he not only suggests a way to improve them, he proves his ideas work. And they've caught on around these parts, big time. I'll attempt to summarise his basic notion......
Pubs, as they've commonly been operated for the last couple or three decades, 'sell', say, 7 different things:
1. Cask ale.
3. Spirits and wine.
6. Live football.
What happens if you disregard the last 6 and sell only cask ale? Well, since you need no kitchen, and you can sell the pool table, you need a lot less space. And since you'll only attract cask ale drinkers you'll need less space again. Less space = lower rent, and lower rent = a lower break even turnover. Get the necessary turnover low enough and you don't need any staff either, you can cover all the necessary hours on your own.
So you end up with a small, one man business that sells only cask ale to cask ale drinkers. Overheads are very low, turnover below the vat threshold, staff costs zero and opening hours limited to those that suit the owner. That's all well and good but what's in it for the customer? Cask ale and conversation (hopefully both fresh). So what has the average cask ale drinker lost? Music, the smell of deep fried food and the threat of a pool cue round the head from a lagered up ne're-do-well - not a lot really, or so the notion goes.
What do you think? Could it possibly work?
More, another time perhaps.