Fleurets recently went to market with a new lease offered for the Rugby Tavern in Bloomsbury. We did so with a backdrop of pressure in the pub market through rising input costs, utilities and staffing problems throughout the industry. Every time I have read an article in the trade press or listened to a podcast, they featured a large element of doom and gloom within the licensed industry and the pub market. I had also spoken with a number of operators that have curbed their acquisition plans due to uncertainty within the market place and inability to attract new staff. Although I was confident that we would get reasonable interest in the Rugby as it is a good pub in a good location, there was still some concerns in the back of my mind.
Our marketing activity resulted in viewing levels that I hadn't seen since pre-credit crunch days with 46 separate parties viewing the property over a 2 week period. The property was always going to appeal to individual and multi-site operators as opposed to the large corporates and I was very pleasantly surprised at the levels of interest. Although a deal has not been completed and I am certainly not counting any chickens yet, we did receive 16 offers from our operators looking to expand in Central London and although the warning signs are there that there are difficult times ahead, there does remain a desire from entrepreneurs to grow their business.