I hope you are well. I know that I have been irregular with updates but, in the main, it is because I have been working so many hours to try and make the [pub] a success. I am emailing today to update you all with the current situation of the business, give you an overview of what is happening.
Since opening in [x] I have continued to work as hard as possible to ensure the success of the [pub] and build a business that would not only give me a future but deliver a good return for my investors and those who put faith in me. The reality currently is that the business is in a very difficult position. Since opening I have, as much as possible, refrained from taking a salary and for the first, nearly two years worked not less than 90 hours per week. I opened in a recession and hoped the economy would improve but it has only got worse. To cut a long story short I have made two chefs redundant, cut every cost to the bone over the last year and it has not been enough.
I know that this news will not be the news that has been hoped for and no one is more disappointed than myself that it has got to this stage. This year I have personally put in every penny I had managed to save plus a loan and up to the limit of my credit card and the business, in October, hasn’t broken even and this is with me not taking a salary and being understaffed. It is this realisation that leads me to sending this email. It is, as you can imagine, not an easy realisation or email to send. I have wanted nothing more than to reward my investors and grow a business that saw everyone paid back but unless something drastic happens the business will run out of money within the next few months and I do not have anything more to put in.
This is not a call for more investment into the [pub] as I am not convinced it would do any good. I have given everything I have; work, blood, sweat, ideas and more and the business, after this long, is losing money. I truly think that closing the [pub] is our only option unless there is a dramatic turnaround in the next four months. There is an option to exit in [month N] as it is the [y] year anniversary but if we don’t then there is another [z] year commitment which, at the current income level, would be impossible to sustain for any time at all and at this point the business would literally run out of money. I am also personally in a position where I can no longer go on without any income.
I think that I made a mistake with the location and, although the general area is wealthy, being quite remote, in this economy, means we are a very infrequent destination. Having been in catering for some years I can honestly say that I think people’s spending habits have changed during this prolonged recession and I am not sure they will ever be the same again. I see customers sometimes who used to come often and now come only every few months and they say “oh sorry we haven’t been in a while, it’s not that we’re going elsewhere but we just haven’t been out for a few months”. It seems that the middle ground in dining, where I firmly sit, is being abandoned and the £10 for two meals big chains are much busier.
I do believe that the [pub] is a good model and in a different economy and a better location the model I have created would work and work well. It just seems that the economy is making it impossible and having not operated outside, effectively, of a recession, I have never had a good period in which to build a steady trade to underpin the business. I have tried everything I can and we have had many successes and have exceeded many customer’s expectations but this hasn’t led to enough repeat business. I took out a loan of £10,000 and put it in this summer but I am not sure what has happened this year, the whole Olympic period and following summer/Autumn just hasn’t moved at all. The whole time we’ve been open we have only really achieved break even because I didn’t take a salary. To give you an example, our best week last summer we took about £12,000 and this summer our best week was about £7,000.
I would welcome a conversation to explain more about the situation and to answer any questions you may have. Finally I want to apologise for any loss that looks likely to happen but I hope you understand that I have given absolutely everything I have to try and succeed but the tide against us was too strong.
Thank you again and I look forward to hearing from you soon.
From Krista: I received this e-mail towards the end of last year from a friend. I have the writer’s permission to post the e-mail. but without the pub name, location, and specifics. Thanks for reading, and if you can do anything today, tomorrow, this week or next, head down to your local, buy a beer, and stay a while.