The Peacock Inn near Tenbury Wells is a good example of how to turn a pub around. I take a particular interest because it has been my ‘local’ for 34 years. In that period it has had, at a guess, 20 owners and 40 landlords. It is an ancient country inn on a relatively busy main road.
On the face of it, the Peacock should have been a continuous success story, but it has hit the highs and plunged to the absolute depths. It was even closed for something like six months.
Looking back and trying to understand the reasons behind its wildly fluctuating fortunes and some pattern is not easy. Several owners made a great success of it, due often to their dedication and personality, but then were tempted to cash in on their success or seek a fresh challenge. Those who came along saw the success and thought it easy to emulate this and just perpetuate that success. But they did not have the same dedication or bonhommie. Even more of a killer, most had to borrow hefty sums of money to purchase the pub and then, with interest rates massively higher than today, they really struggled, and generally failed. This situation was not helped by pubs being unrealistically overvalued. That is another subject but, like any business, the main criterion, surely, for valuation should be profits – the premises are merely a tool to enable one to carry on that business.
Other factors in the recent traumas at the Peacock have been unsustainable rents and entirely inappropriate tenants – people who should not have been within a million miles of running a pub.
Luckily, this story has a happy ending. In 2010, I think it was, saviours arrived in the shape of husband and wife team, Jean and Tracey Bourdeau. They had met about 12 years earlier at the Peacock when Tracey was the manageress and Jean the French chef. For many years, they ran a fine establishment in Ludlow but the Peacock was their first love. They have a passion for the place. And it shows.
The previous people were such a disaster that no-one, literally, went into the pub. Since Jean and Tracey have arrived, it has been full from Day One – the bar is lively and constantly busy, and the lounge/dining area full virtually every night of the week. You certainly have to book to get a table because the food is superb. What a turnaround.
The secrets? In a few words, Tracey is a wonderful, warm, welcoming hostess, backed up by great staff. Jean is a fine chef and his kitchen maintains a high standard and wide-ranging, most excellent menus. Success breeds success. The Peacock is on a roll again, and Jean and Tracey are thinking long-term. We locals are thrilled. Everyone wins.
Here is my favorite pub: http://www.findpubsin.com/pub_details/4f79747aa8dc1/The-Peacock-Inn Whats yours?