Lease is more for bar operators

• Nelson and McGowan took on the lease for The Argyll & Sutherland in November.

LEASING can give managers the chance to take the next step and run their own business with less risk than buying into a freehold outlet.

That’s the view of Paul Nelson, who has worked in the trade for over 30 years and currently runs five leased pubs – two with Star Pubs & Bars, two with Punch Taverns and one with Belhaven – along with partner Paul McGowan.
Nelson told SLTN that entering into a lease with a pub company enables managers to take the next step up the trade career ladder, without the financial risk of a mortgage.
“There’s fabulous opportunities with them,” he said.
“For experienced managers with maybe ten or 15 years’ experience under their belts, that want to go out and try it themselves, I would recommend it to anybody in that position and say go and try before you buy.

If they’ve got the faith in the partner they’ll give you the support that you need.

“See if you like it, see if the model works and it’ll give you the stepping stone to move on to the bricks and mortar if that’s what you intend on doing.”
Nelson praised the support pubcos offer lessees. And he said establishing a good working relationship with your BDM is key.
Punch business development manager Campbell Doward was said to have been instrumental in helping Nelson and McGowan acquire the lease for The Argyll & Sutherland bar in Greenock last November, two years after the pair took on their first Punch pub: The Lovat Arms in Yoker.
“He [Campbell] asked me to come down and have a look at it,” said Nelson.
“We went down and saw the potential in the site.
“When you’ve got a good relationship with your BDM it helps, because they’ll fight your corner for you.
“Campbell takes our corner, and very much supports us. Campbell very much treats it as a partnership and it works really well.”
Punch recently invested around £70,000 refurbishing The Argyll & Sutherland, which has allowed the operators to re-introduce a food offer, and a further £40,000 revamping the kitchen at The Lovat Arms.

Our business development manager treats it as a partnership.

“If they’ve got the faith in the partner they’ll give you the support that you need,” added Nelson.
Nelson and McGowan’s Ur Local Pub Company also runs The Kelburne Bar in Paisley and The Cathkin Inn in Rutherglen, both with Star Pubs & Bars, and, last week, took on Glasgow outlet Bruadar with Belhaven.