I have worked for Samuel Smiths on a couple of occasions. When I first joined in 1992 it was a brilliant company to work for. They had an excellent range of proprietory spirits, wines, mixers and snacks supplemented with the excellent range of company brewed products.
It was around this time that Mr H Smith adopted a policy of price freezing, often absorbing duty increases aswell, with the belief that it would generate extra trade. A brave idea.
There was at the time, a board of directors, but their decisions were often overuled by Mr Smith. The point of the board was...
Mr Smith never seemed to grasp why other pubs were always busier than his. Was it because they were offering the customer what they wanted and were prepared to pay for it ??
My wife and I used to run the Falcon in Chester and were the most succesful Managers of it for Sam Smiths.
We left to run a pub/restaurant and travel lodge, also in Chester and what we considered a promotional move.
After 4 years we were approached by our ex area manager and long term friend regarding a vacancy he had at The Bird in Hand in Mobberley. This was at the time when Greenalls was on a downward spiral and the Bird was a pub we knew well, so we rejoined Sam's.
Unfortunately about this time, Mr Smith decided to start replacing the branded products with his own range. We were not at the Bird very long when a vacancy back at the Falcon came up. We still thought we could do a good job and moved back. Operationally this became very difficult as customers and friends were starting to leave as their drinks selection was being taken away from them. We endured this scenario for nearly four years but eventually decided to leave as we felt we no longer could maintain or attract new trade due to Mr Smith's policies.
Personally, I believe this company is capable of so much, but because of the on-going business model it will continue to deliver less and less. Come on Mr Smith, for once accept that your policy is not working, give the customer what they want and increase your trade and profits. Surely it cannot be that simple.