Monday, 16 July 2012

So you are there!

Ok, ok, ok - I admit it! I was thoroughly depressed and downright bloody miserable when I wrote the last blog post............... 'Should I stay or should I go'! I blame the jet stream and lack of sun, lack of alcohol and most absolutely lack of chocolate (ok - last excuse is an absolute and total lie!) and a few hundred other reasons.

I have been heartened by loads of comments both personally, through the blog and facebook. I've of course had a couple of crank comments - the one from Frank Smith 'Smee' is most definitely NOT from him and he wasn't best pleased at his name being used! Bless him - I don't think he'd even know how to switch on a computer............I know he won't mind me saying that 'cos he's a lovely bloke who I'm very fond of! Plus he gets hunks of Cheese and pickled onions to go with his beer on a Friday! Then there was the miserable sod who wondered if by allowing dogs in the pub I was perhaps putting off people coming in?? Um - No is the answer! Sooner have a dozen dogs in the Vic (in the areas they're allowed of course) than one miserable git like 00Kevin - But, he is of course entitled to his opinion. And, he doesn't have to come in to the Vic does he.........?

Much more valid were the comments I received reminding me how much they liked the blog and especially keeping up with events in Salcombe - so just for you is a lovely picture of the Estuary............ I was also advised to perhaps to talk a little bit more about the real challenges of being a landlady. So how about this:

Right now there can't be a business in the land that isn't having a tough time (except for the automobile business and I helped it ever so slightly last week, but more about that another time) and we are no exception! There is no denying that business at the Victoria Inn is quite difficult at the moment. The weather has played havoc with the industry that we so rely on - tourism!! The local TV station was quoting 25% deficits on the expected norm for this time of year in the West Country and I can well believe it.

Salcombe has no Hotel at the top of its main high street (being re-furbished and due open NEXT summer), so we (and the other business's in town) are missing that extra 60 - 120+ people in town on any given day and the spend they would make. Getting the staffing levels right is nigh on impossible - we're either over staffed or under staffed - and we're either heaving with customers, and rushed off our feet or staff are twiddling their thumbs (time to lean, time to clean is a phrase well quoted at the moment!) waiting for the next customer. The yachtsmen are not here in the droves that they should be, because of bad weather conditions, as are many customers from where there has been such dreadful flooding.

The drop in volumes of soft drinks and the amounts of water going over the counter for children clearly identifies that families are working to tight budgets - as is the drop in bottles of Champagne being sold! However, St Austells great ales, our medium priced wines and our high quality of food is ensuring sales remain stable in that part of our business. Another part of our business holding its own is the accommodation interestingly enough......... a couple of weather led cancellations but nothing to worry about. On that note - a quick mention that we're doing a special deal of £50 a room in Oct, Nov & some of Dec!!!

Where was I?? Oh yes - so what are SOH and I doing about all this doom and gloom (apart from ensuring a good supply of headache pills!)?  Well, firstly - we need to make sure variable costs are kept to a minimum - and that's where Tim is a an absolute whizz in negotiating great deals with suppliers. Staff have had a bit of refresher re-training to emphasise the even greater importance of customer service and we're looking at what times we're offering food and if we can move them/extend them as well as what we're offering.............phew!! All we need now is just a little help from our friend the weather!

Come on sun - you know you want to come out to play really...................


Paul and Midge said...

Me and my dog will call on you early August. I promise to make and effort to boost taking single handedly.
Are there dog friendly beaches nearby? My lad loves a swim.

Liz said...

Hi Paul & Midge

I look forward to welcoming you to the Vic - and as for beaches for your dogs there are some beautiful walks and beaches but some are closed to dogs in the height of season. The Salcombe Tourist Information Office's lovely ladies on 01548 843927 will be able to tell you more!

Brong the sun!!

Liz x