The Challenge of Winter

Winter is a challenge in this business. No two ways about it. Any business has its ups and downs, to be sure, but hospitality it seems particularly succumbs.
The trick is to review constantly what you do, and how you do it. For instance. We shut our restaurant about a year ago. People had slowed spending tremendously, which left us with two options. Either to a) attempt a ninja style hijack our guests as soon as they left their room in search of off site sustenance; or b) rethink what we were offering people in the way of convenient food.
Thankfully, the more sensible side of me opted for the food offering rethink. Besides which, I look terrible in black tights and ninja outfits. Not flattering at all!
So what we have now is a Guest Lounge affair. We still have our fully licensed bar with many great local wines. Open fire place, comfy lounges, magazines and books. And we have our lounge menu, which has a focus still on local produce, but so simply put together even our dog mollie- bless her little cotton socks- could swing into action in the kitchen if we got busy to push out a steak sandwhich or beef and guiness pie. Mind you, two problems there a) she’s not allowed in the kitchen and b)she’s a dog. Dogs like steak very much! The point is- the saving we make on having a dedicated chef on hand, in favour of an easy to cook but still tasty option, is tremendous.
So even though its winter, the lounge was buzzing last night with people milling around our open fire place, chatting, playing tennis on the wii and drinking moo brews. (yes we have a Wii). So okay- now the most expensive meal option is $15, so the revenue stream isn’t huge- BUT, the costs are in line with the spend, and most importantly, the enjoyment factor for our guests (priceless) is what we are winning on here. Rethinking our offering in line with a climate of people who are, lets just say, close to their money, has still allowed us to offer a great option to our guests, and still generate a little revenue stream, where once there was very little.
So now that just leaves me to a) finish up now or b) get mollie to make me a steak sandwhich…..
Until next time

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