?We were under great pressure from the bank.
?We were having great difficulty renewing our overdraft and this commercial pressure was something we could not avoid,? he said.
He told the hearing all managers had been told to cut staff hours down to 45 per week which he considered reasonable enough.
?We thought 45 hours was perfectly reasonable but they (the managers) refused to compromise,? he added.
He told the tribunal that he had studied the cost structure of other pub chains and considered his own pubs could run efficiently on the same staff working hours system.
Former managers at the company?s Holly Bush pub at Edenthorpe, Doncaster, Frank and Pam Marshall, are leading the action against the company in a test case hearing.
Smith said that at the start of 2008 profits were down 33% at the pub and staff wages accounted for 14% of the business net ?take?.
?This was unsustainable and put the future of the Holly Bush in jeapourdy,? he said.
He said the brewery had held its beer prices since 1990, mainly by increasing its productivity as the price of beer was crucial to the success of its pubs.
He considered cheap prices gave his pubs a good opportunity to maintain their trade.
?We want this business to be around in 200 years time so we want to hold up our barrelage and maintain employment within the brewery,? he explained.
Smith said he wanted his managers to increase their own productivity in difficult trading times but said many shunned new practices and adopted an ?I?m All Right Jack? attitude.
What an absolute load of twaddle 'Smith' talks!
First of all, how can he say the restricted hours are reasonable - when in reality, at some venues it's physically impossible - and how would he know anyway - not ever having run a pub!
He say's he's been looking at the rest of the industry - well not very clearly. It doesn't take much intelligence to realize that each venue is somewhat unique, with regards, to size, layout, location, popularity, management experience, etc.., and thus each venues requirements (staff hours included) will vary from one place to the next.
It would appear that Humphs thinks it's all about the cheap prices - well if that's the only thing you can compete with, then it shows a lack of confidence in the quality of products, and service. Sams could still be competeatively priced, even after a price increase, which would certainly help pay the bills.
Speaking of money - how can humphs moan about their trade turnover - when he has single-handedly been destroying the business. Customers now turn away from Sam Smith's pubs because..
1. Some venues have lost out to the music ban. Not just pub background music, but live entertainment, weddings and birthday party events, etc.
2. Despite Humphs living in 'cloud-cuckoo land', people will only wait so long to be served, before going elsewhere.
3. Some venues thrived on their unique menu's - and have lost nearly all of their food turnover, since the new pie regime - and with it, a lot of wet trade.
4. People are getting fed up with their friendly (and experienced) hosts, being replaced by inexperience, miserable management.
5. After seeing the way in which managers and staff are being illegally/cruelly treated - regulars are now drinking elsewhere on principal alone.
Lets face it - if anyone wants booting out to save the company from financial collapse - then it's Humphrey Smith - and once the banks realize, they may withdraw their facilities, unless Humphrey is removed from pub/retail management. And when that happens, it will be a case of seizing/selling property and other assets, when they are not as valuable as they used to be.
Humphrey says; "the price of beer was crucial to the success of its pubs" - what a complete idiot. People know, that if somethings cheap, it's probably less quality. In this case, it may not be true of the beers, but it is becoming true of the way in which it's presented. I read elsewhere on this site that a change for less experienced managers at a pub in Beverley - is resulting in the loss of custom, simply due to the fact that the place is 'a Forrest of dirty glasses' on a weekend. No doubt Humphs will be losing turnover there, and at other similar venues, in similar circumstances.
"..The price of beer was crucial to the success of its pubs" bollocks!!
The way you are destroying your business Humphs, it wont be around in 20 years, let alone 200. And at this rate, it might not even make 2 years if the banks see you as an increasing, unsustainable risk - no matter what your gross asset value. And there will be only one - ONLY ONE - person to blame. Not the managers, customers or staff - just one 'I live in a dream world, and am so self conceited that I believe that everything I do is right, and everyone else is wrong' - Humphrey Smith.
As you would appear to be a religious man - look at it another way - as things go down the pan, it's the wrath of God punishing you for your inhumane cruelty to all.
And one final note; whilst there may have been a slim minority in the past whom have taken advantage of Sam's previous company leniency - it's a suicidal move to tar all with the same brush - unless of course you are suffering from a delusional paranoia condition.
Humphrey - get a grip man! Find out for yourself what's really going on. Move into one of your pubs, and co-manage it for a week or two - whilst sticking to your prescribed hours, and trying to keep the customers happy. You will find the experience more valuable than you could ever imagine - and you might just learn what is really
needed to save your business.