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Tom Kerridge hopes pub owner Jeremy Clarkson will flag challenges in hospitality

Chef Tom Kerridge has said he hopes Jeremy Clarkson will shine a light on the challenges of running a pub when he opens his own.
Tom Kerridge hopes pub owner Jeremy Clarkson will flag challenges in hospitality

Kerridge, who owns The Hand and Flowers in Buckinghamshire, the first pub with two Michelin stars, said it is “going to be very difficult” for the Clarkson’s Farm star.

Clarkson revealed at the weekend that he paid “less than £1 million” for The Windmill, which is set in five acres of countryside near Burford in Oxfordshire.

He will sell his own Hawkstone lager as well as produce reared on his nearby Diddly Squat Farm.

Kerridge now hopes Clarkson will highlight the challenges that face the hospitality industry in the same way he did with farming when he bought the Cotswolds farm and started his reality show Clarkson’s Farm.

The chef told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “It’s very, very difficult operating a pub. Even if it’s busy and packed on a Saturday night, the profit margin is very, very small, particularly when you’re a wet-led (drink-led) pubs.

“You need to be busy on Monday and Tuesday lunchtime, not just a weekend, and the pressures that come into that business are absolutely huge.

“Revenues look like they may be busy, you turn up on a Sunday lunch and it is packed, that doesn’t necessarily mean to say it’s making money.

“It’s going to be very difficult. I’m very pleased that Jeremy’s taken that on because what he did for British farming, he showed actually how difficult it was and how hard it was to make it work.

“This will be another opportunity for us and the rest of the UK to see how difficult is it to run a pub because he will come up against the issues and the problems that there are and talk about it and use his voice for good reason.”

Kerridge has called for a cut in VAT for hospitality to help those struggling in the industry, following the temporary cut during the Covid pandemic.

He said: “That made a huge difference for the hospitality industry, that was the key to survival and it was massive.

“As an industry, we’re pushing for VAT to come in line, actually, with most of Europe where it sits between eight and 12% for hospitality, so if it was dropped to 10% it would be amazing.

“It would be a real release of that pressure valve for hospitality and not just in terms of profitability, but it allows reinvestment in skill set shortage, reinvestment, retraining, so much more in the way making the industry exciting.

“There are thousands and thousands of restaurants shutting every single year, and pubs, the hospitality industry is really under pressure.

“A 10% reduction in VAT would be the sort of thing that would make the difference between survival and closure.”

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