Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Captain Morgans is no longer ours..................

And it has to be said I'm not particularly  sad.......First of all a great photo on the side of the interior of Captain Morgans taken by my lovely friend Scott Baston at another photographer friend of ours whose work you really should look at!

So back to Captain Morgans. I remember sitting outside CM's with my lovely brother in law Richard when he was down here on his hols some two and a half years ago and a small for sale notice in the window caught my eye. SOH and I knew that we ran a really successful business in the Victoria Inn and the more we thought about it the more we though we could transfer those skills in to making CM a success. Fast forward a few months and the involvement of 2 sleeping partners to make the numbers add up and we found ourselves stood inside CM just a couple of days before Christmas faced with the prospect of opening at one of the years busiest times and not really knowing where to even start!

Staff transferred over from the Vic (it was quieter and they could be spared) economies of scale for purchasing were great, a re-vamp of the menu to give even better value for money and off we went!  In theory all should have been wonderful and we should have been 'sat on a goldmine' as I've often heard said to me over the last almost 2 years.............  But what didn't we take into account?? Well firstly we didn't take into account just how much of a 'family' business it had been run as previously and also how much work the main person put in. So staffing (and the associated staff costs) was always a huge issue for us right from the off - and in the end was the thing that killed it off for us.

We know that customers loved our breakfast offering and they liked the prices and the inclusion of free teas and coffee's with breakfasts - but they didn't like long waits whilst staff tried to get to grips with the peaks and troughs of service. Try as we might we just could never seem to get the staffing just right - that is when we could get the right staff in the first place.

We didn't like that on occasions some staff just didn't turn in when they should have done - believe me, getting a call at 7.15 to say the cafe wasn't open was no fun.. especially when we had perhaps only got to bed at 1.30 during the summer after a very long day at the Victoria.  Then this summer when we seemed to have the staffing just as we wanted it and we were ready to rock into the summer not one, but two members of staff left............ and for both of us that was really the end of the matter.

So we sat and talked about what had driven us to Salcombe in the first place........???  A great business opportunity in the Victoria - which we have both worked very, very hard at and the results speak for themselves. The opportunity to enjoy this glorious countryside and the sea and for SOH to get a little boat and have some fun.  Fun?? For very many months we have barely had a day off together, and half the time have not even had time to walk our little dogs - a very good friend does it for us more often than not. So tough business decisions had too be made - did we stay and limp on in the vain hope that eventually we'd get the staffing and those associated costs right or should we just make a clean break regardless???  

So here we are - Captain Morgans is no longer ours - it has passed in to the hands of Susan & Michael Fink, names well associated with Salcombe and we know from all there relevant catering / hospitality experience that they are going to make a massive success of it. But before I finish I must say a huge thank you especially to Marcus Lewis who had done an excellent job of looking after it for us for the last 9 months - many times he has kept it afloat and done over and above what he had to do. We also still have the Hobbitt House (the accommodation at the Victoria Inn) but its on a room only basis now.

It's been a challenging, frustrating and difficult time for us - but it was a business opportunity we thought would be good for us and whilst we didn't get it all right I don't think we got it all totally wrong either.  

Our next exciting challenge is to buy a little house in Salcombe and start to get our work/life balance better and better and better and enjoy a little bit more of what we originally came down here for. Not take our foot off the gas in any way - oh no (if anything we'll probably be around more as we'll be more structured!) but work at the business much more as a job than a way of life and enjoy our own lives just a bit more!

On that note - I am yet another year older on Sunday (groans not so silently)  and I am looking forward to a little celebration time with the man who makes me so happy - my scrumptious other half!!  


Bill S said...

It's probably for the best but I can understand you're sad.
Perhaps you'll have some time now to play 'About Time', that board game I left with you!

Liz said...

Hi Bill
No - not in the least sad............... grateful of not having that responsibility actually! Your board game is waiting till Christmas Day for us to enjoy it when there's nothing but rubbish on the TV!!
Look foward to seeing you again
Liz x