Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

March Update: The Taverners

30 March 2009
March Update: The Taverners

Lisa Choi and Roger Serjent, who took on a lease from pub owner Punch Taverns in May 2008, have been asking themselves just how much more money they can put into the business, having already spent £10,000 on refurbishing the front bar.

There are potentially hard decisions ahead, as past owners of the Taverners seem to have run the place with a make-do-and-mend mentality. It has seen the couple pay £500 to get the roof repaired (they will get this money back from Punch) and the drains have at long last been connected to the mains.

The building's eccentric wiring has also been looked at, courtesy of their landlord (the Taverners was originally three separate buildings that have been knitted together over the years), so losing power during Sunday service should become a thing of the past.

Damp problems at the property, which dates back to the 16th century in parts, persist and there are two inches of water in the cellar. The two may or may not be connected, but Punch has agreed to send in an assessor, which Serjent considers a result.

Mentor Lee Cash is helping the wife/husband team with financial planning, to look at the business's viability and whether they could eventually afford to employ staff to cover Serjent's role in the kitchen, so a second site could be taken on. Serjent describes this as straightforward but useful.

"I think their issue is that they are not sure they bought the right place, but know in this market they will not get back what they paid," Cash says.

"They need to trade this site out, and they are getting some good numbers and beating their expectations. Getting out completely does not seem to be a option right now, so making the pub work has got to be the focus, and I think they are doing that."

Cash is also encouraging Choi and Serjent to push themselves and set ambitious trading targets.

March Update

There have been comings and goings aplenty at the Taverners in recent weeks.

Business owners Roger Serjent and Lisa Choi now have a couple of chickens in a run at the back, which Serjent says is another way of illustrating the business's commitment to sustainability.

The chef has also started work on a vegetable garden, which will be growing spring onions and garlic to start, with several fruit trees from nearby Deacon's Nursery on order for further down the line.

However, although the chickens seem happy enough scratching around out back, the new bar worker/waitress mentioned in last month's article lasted just two-and-a-half weeks before walking out and Serjent, who with the team has a notable amount of preparation work to do each day, lost one of his two chefs.

Hopefully, by the time you read this, both positions will have been filled. However, Serjent's frustrations are clear.

"It seems par for the course on the Isle of Wight. A lot of workers here will consider going on the dole for the winter before chasing the pound in the busy summer months," he says.

"A lot of people here want the money but don't want to work for it. Lisa and I grew up in hospitality businesses so perhaps that's the difference we know full well the hard work that's required in this industry."

On the bright side, trade appears to be holding up well at the Taverners.

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Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

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