A Brit walked into a bar abroad and said..”This looks like fun, I think I will open a bar too.”
Fast forward six months and said Bit has sold up their house in the UK, jacked in their job, uprooted the entire family and opens the door on their new life in the sun – but wait a second, could it possibly be that easy?
It appears to be an all too common trait of Brits abroad to feel that because they enjoy drinking in bars that they have the knowledge and skills to then run one.
I mean, I have been to the doctors a few times over the years but I wouldn’t consider this to be enough experience to then perform surgery on my nearest and dearest. I also drive a car everyday but I wouldn’t profess to know anything more about my car than where to put the petrol in – I once tied to change a tire and have been left with the feeling that this sot of thing is best left to the professionals.
So you get my point, just because you go to bars, drink the beer, eat the deep fried food and enjoy the odd quiz night does not the landlord make you.
Unfortunately, many Bits believe that the only qualifications you require to open your own pub in the sun is a few quid in the bank and the ability to be able to drink heavily while still being able to operate a bottle opener.
Equally unfortunately the above qualifications are actually all you need to open a bar in the Algarve.
There are no police checks on the landlord, no need to do pointless things like pass health and safety courses, no requirements to have any previous experience on that side of the bar and not even learning the local language is seen as necessary.
And so the Brit opens the bar in the sun and 18 months later the Brit closes said bar in the sun and goes to work for someone else who had taken the time to work out the details beforehand and now can use this to their advantage by employing slightly willing staff on minimum wages to clear up the peanut shells and mop up the dubious liquids from the mens bathroom floor.
Of course this is not always the case, there are many success stories of expats who have moved out to open their bar and are still managing to get by and even in some cases run profitable businesses. These examples though usually come from people who ran their own bars or restaurants in the UK, have worked for years in the local area or have a never ending pot of money from the bank of mummy and daddy to keep them in business for as long as they feel like working for (far more common than you would imagine).
The reality of having your own bar in the sun is that you will probably never see the sun again if you want to be able to pay the bills. You need to open at 9am for the breakfast trade and can’t close until 2am at the earliest if you want to make the most of the after dinner trade. That means that you have only seven hours of each day you are not open – but you will need at least an hour at either end of the day to clean, tidy and do the stock and money stuff (although in some cases this appears to have been also seen as an optional requirement).
This means you are left with five hours a day when you do not need to be in your bar if you intend to do it yourself. Now count in the hours to do the shopping, visit the accountant and if you are lucky perhaps grab a couple of hours of sleep and wash your clothes (again optional for many) and you will realise that not only will you never see the sun, you will never see friends, family or anywhere outside of the four walls you have purchased as your own personal living hell – sorry, I mean your bar – ever again.
So why not keep your money in your pocket and enjoy the best part of a bar in the sun – being a customer.