The couple who quit their job opening bars during the Covid-19 disaster revealed how they could survive in Ben Fogle’s New Life in the Country.
Paul and Toni sold their £ 322,000 mansion in Rochester to move to the remote Scottish village of Kilmichael Glassary with their daughter Harriet, where they took over an old and abandoned bar called the Horseshoe Inn in 2020.
They paid £ 244,000 to buy the building, and £ 30,000 more in renovating it, and finally opening their doors in August 2020, but were soon reduced to the demand for hundreds of overnight food orders and the craftsmanship involved in running the bars. .
The couple told Channel 5, which will return tomorrow night at 9:00 a.m., that they needed to make £ 100,000 to succeed after their first year, however, they got more than that amount of money despite being locked up for several months because of Covid- Code 19 implemented at the time.
They told Ben that they had taken a big gamble and hired more staff and cooks when the place reopened in July 2021 so they could take more orders, and the bet bore fruit, with an annual turnover of £ 366,000.
Paul and Toni, left, told Ben Fogle how they sold their £ 322,000 mansion in Rochester to move to the remote village of Kilmichael Glassary in Scotland with their daughter Harriet, where they took an old and dilapidated bar called the Horseshoe Inn in 2020.
The couple paid £ 244,000 to buy the building, and £ 30,000 more to renovate, and finally opened their doors in August 2020, first drinking only drinks.
The couple decided to quit the rat race after being disgusted with their urban life in Rochester.
‘It was patience. I was tolerating what I was doing, ‘Paul, who worked in the automotive business, said.
“The biggest resentment for me was the fact that my whole family, all my time was stolen,” he added.
The father of one child revealed the claim of his role meant he would often work until 7 or 8pm, and would never see his wife and daughter.
The couple then told Channel 5, which returns tomorrow at 9:00 a.m., that they needed to make £ 100,000 to break up after their first year, however, they got more than that amount in spite of the pub, in the picture, the closure of several. months from the Covid-19 regulations implemented at that time
Meanwhile, Toni, her career, also struggled with her 9-to-5.
‘People who were struggling in supermarkets, people who were worried about car and car parking,’ he said, adding that it was as if he and Paul were ‘pushed to the brink of satisfying things.’
The couple were inspired to pursue their dreams when Paul’s mother passed away in 2019, saying: ‘if we do not do it now, we will never do it’
Although they were pleased with the prospect of running the bar, they knew that restoring and repairing it would be difficult.
‘It is a completely foreign life for us. A couple in their 40s and we only know a certain area, we are fish out of the water, ‘Paul admitted.
Toni and Paul decided to abandon the rat race after being disgusted with their suburban life in Rochester and moving to KilMichael with their daughter Harriet, left.
She spent £ 30,000 and six weeks renovating the bar to make it a home building ready to entertain locals.
But Toni said despite the hard work of fixing it, the couple were happy to have time together.
“The whole process has been about us spending time together,” he said.
‘In our earlier lives, we were ruled by time. And although we are very busy, it is very good that we are doing this together, ‘he added.
The locals were pleased with the reopening of the bars, but that put a lot of pressure on Paul and Toni to submit.
“I’m worried we won’t be as good as people expect us to be,” Toni admitted.
And the couple had big goals, as they needed to make £ 100,000 in their first year to do the same, which would translate to making a minimum of £ 2,000 a week to survive.
The bar opened its doors in August 2020, but was forced to close for several months because of Covid-19 regulations in January 2021.
‘That scares me, that’s a lot of money, it’s scary,’ Toni told Ben.
The couple opened a bar in August, with no experience running bars.
Paul ran the bar with two assistants, while Toni was charged with making food.
“I love to cook but it’s a different situation to do it in a commercial kitchen with very little experience,” he admitted, saying he would learn as he went.
As the bar prepared to open, it began to sink with Toni how much work she and Paul had done.
The couple said that the care of the bars tested their relationship and that they ‘fought head on’.
‘It’s a romantic concept, running bars. It’s weird, but it ‘s much harder than I thought.’
Ben himself, who visited the couple before their opening day, admitted that he was concerned about how long the couple would be able to maintain the strength and adrenaline needed to carry out this intense activity.
As the bills increased, Paul and Toni hesitated to hire professionals, such as plumbers or plasters, because they feared that the cost would cost them dearly.
The bar opening was a success, because all the locals came to support the bar, which functioned as a bar only for two weeks.
The following weeks, however, were even more difficult for Toni, who took on the heavy responsibility of eating hundreds of dishes in the kitchen every day.
At first, Toni was able, with the help of Anne, a veteran bar staffer who owned a guesthouse and volunteered to help until the couple found their feet.
The father of one child Paul, left, was determined to find flexibility in having a balanced work life after a year of bar care.
Matters came to a head when Anne left Toni to deal with the situation alone, with the mother of one of the children admitting to ‘losing’ and ‘herself.’
Stress began to haunt the couple, who had to choose all the things to run the bar, for fear of not breaking it at all.
Their personal lives were also difficult, and the couple did not have time to settle down in their home.
“We are physically exhausted, we have no time, we have no money or direction to do that,” he said.
When October 2020 brought a new wave of Covid-19 cases, the couple were forced to adjust to health regulations imposed by the Scottish government and to provide only outdoor drinks, and restricted hours of running their own food service.
By January 2021, they were forced to close the bars altogether, for the duration of the summer season, without certainty they would be financially successful.
However, when Spring came in, they were able to reopen, having lost £ 20,000.
Ben visited the couple a year after his 2020 visit to see how they were doing.
He was delighted to see the Horseshoe Inn with a ‘fully secured’ area near its entrance.
‘What a change,’ she told Paul and Toni, regardless of how the bar felt ‘pleasing and living inside, used, opened up.’
By then, the bar had been open for four months and was fully operational.
‘It’s too crowded for one person, so we took the cook inside,’ Paul revealed, acknowledging that ‘it was a bit of a hassle when you had no money.
The bar turned the bar into a gastropub, providing a high-end version of the bar classics.
Since money was very scarce, they hired cooks to buy some for themselves while planning to develop a bar.
They decided to expand and recruit more staff to enjoy a more balanced work life.
‘We didn’t come here so we could both work for a 50-hour week,’ Toni recounted.
‘It was like “something has to offer”. That’s when we brought the cook in, ‘he explained.
The couple revealed that the bar was open five days a week, serving 40 lids for lunch and 65 p.m., with live music and entertainment available to locals as well, who were fond of it.
Paul revealed to Ben that they went from hiring five people to bars earlier in the day to hiring 20 more to meet demand.
The couple’s gambling was successful, though, Paul revealed that they were making annual sales of £ 366,000, more than three times what they needed to break up.
The father of one child said ‘he is proud of it, grateful and blessed to some degree.
He admitted that he and Toni were ‘beyond knocking’ as they tried to set up the bar.
‘We argued, we hit over the head. At one point it was a case of “bars we have to go or we can go”, he revealed.
“We closed in January, maybe for us that was a great blessing to evaluate, to be calm, to give Toni a break,” she said.
Because the bar was successful, the family was able to make more time for themselves as well.
“We’re still stuck and trapped in this bar but we’re on our way out to enjoy things like this more often,” he said as he took Ben and his family on a boat trip.
‘The advantage we have now is that we are in control of our destiny. We can control that instability, ‘the father of one child added.
Ben Fogle’s New Lives in the Country will be aired tomorrow at 9pm on Channel 5.