Friday, 24 June 2016

Friday 24th June 2016

Now here's a date that will go down in history - and lets hope it will be for all the right reasons - but they do say a day is a long time in politics and today seems to have been a very long one! I don't know about you but I nodded off with the TV on last night as it got late and then when we turned it off I was awake every hour or so checking the Twitter feed! 

So let me try and inject a bit of normality into today.............. firstly, our new play area is up and running and looks absolutely fabulous. It's been very well received by our little visitors and I think Rhino Play have done a stupendous job on it. In the photos you can see children from the Russells and Vanstones families being the first children to enjoy the area.  One of the Mums told me that they had only just arrived in Salcombe but that they HAVE to come to the Vic first............. aawwwww isn't that nice. 

It is open to our little guests now but we have an 'Official' opening next Friday at 6.30. The Old Gaffers are going to sing, Magic Mark will entertain you and we have Burgers (off our menu) with Chips and Coleslaw for a FIVER!!! There will be a bit of fund raising for the Salcombe First Responders so lets hope for SUNSHINE and raising a bit of cash for the Charity. 

SOH has a new Chicken house to assemble and then he and a couple of the team will be off to buy some new chickens. All ready again for Friday 1st July. 

We've seen a couple of Chefs leave recently (Rich and Nick) to take up other positions and that's always sad, but we've been able to recruit 2 new chefs - here is Tom and he is our new Sous Chef.  

He has a good CV and brings a nice amount of experience in Pub kitchens and top end Hotel kitchens. My other young man I'll introduce when he starts. 

We also have a Roddy! He's our new(ish) KP and is probably one of the nicest blokes I've met in a while. A Londoner, (when he's working it reminds me of being back in Pompey when he's talking) he has a typical East End humour (and straightforward approach) and is so hard working - it's a joy to have him on the team. Every kitchen needs a Roddy! BUT - he's camera shy. So no photo!! That means our kitchen is back up to full strength again ready for the summer and beyond - remember - our chefs are for life not just the holidays 

SOH is back from his Spanish holiday and we've just had a week off together getting pre-season fit..................I had planned long sunny days in our garden but the weather had other ideas.  

My Greenhouse is at home and chock full of plants, which is reducing my stress levels no end. I'm growing stuff that hopefully we can use in the pub like herbs, spinach and peppers etc. Yet another USP to add to our bow. 

Now just a funny little story to finish this long day and leave you with a smile on your face: 

We had bit of a crisis at the pub (whilst SOH was away sunning himself) in the middle of a dinner service - but myself and the Manager of the day got it sorted (Thanks for YOUR help Freddie) and a table of four in the middle of the pub clearly witnessed a bit of toing and froing and as I was nearby to them when all was calm again I heard one of the older men say to his wife -

SOH the poor man married to me! :) 
 'Oh isn't she good.................... But I wouldn't want to be married to her'!!! 
'Shush' said the wife 'She's behind you'
'Yes I am' said I, placing my hand lightly on his shoulder 'But I'm not easily offended'!
Well it made me smile. And bless him he had the good grace to go quite pink! 

Till next time lovely blog readers 

Liz x

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

You couldn't make it up if you tried!

So that's the last Bank Holiday before the Summer season hits and crikey me - what a weekend that was!!! Salcombe was packed and it felt like most of the visitors came in our pub - hearing from SOH what the record breaking Direct Debit is to the St Austell Brewery this month for beers etc purchased it looks as though we're doing our bit for the national debt!! 

But this blog is ALL about the team - without a good team though the Vic wouldn't even operate and all of our team are fantabulously wonderful - BUT - extra special mention must go to the young people who help shore up our business! 

Who are these young people? Well, they're a very elite group and not everyone makes the grade as what I'm about to tell you later in this blog ably demonstrates! 

So who are some of our youngsters that have helped carry us through this weekend and all the other weekends in the calendar? 

From the top they're: Emily, Ellen and Emily (apart from the first letter E) they are all 17, still at college and they are all just 17!! Rain or shine they are at the Vic with smiles on their faces. They NEVER moan or grumble. They do the majority of the fetching or carrying when we're at our busiest and Emily in the bottom picture can clear a sink full of dishes as quickly as any KP with years of experience! We pay them far more than legislation says we have to pay them and why? 

Because they're blooming well worth it! If I could clone them 3 times over I certainly would do - they're totally amazing.  

Generally, we find that we take our young people in at 15 (with schools AND parents permission) and train them until they're ready to fly away to gap years/university or their own career aspirations and just occasionally they stay with us and turn their experience into a full blown hospitality career.  

These lovelies are now starting to be joined by 2 more 15 year olds, and of course our summer staff are starting to arrive - HALLELUJAH!!! The couple on the left are Freddie and Hannah who have come for the entire summer. 

As a matter of course I regularly advertise for team members as whilst we have a really low turnover of staff, it's natural that not everyone is cut out to do hospitality work, some youngsters are just not mature enough and bluntly, some are not at all used to hard work (that applies to some adults as well I may add!).

Generally, anyone who wants to come and work for us fills in all the usual forms, has a chat with me or one of the managers and then they get asked to undertake 3 trial shifts - for which they're paid. 

So whilst trying to keep this as anonymous as possible we had an interesting experience this last week with an individual who just wanted to make some money to retake their driving test whilst looking for different work. It was purely for glass/plate collecting, taking to the bar or kitchen. Plates get taken to the kitchen, scraped off, piled up and Roddy our FT KP or Emily our 17yr old will clean them and get them ready for more service. 

AJ our latest FT Front of House team member 
Glasses are taken to the bar, washed (by a machine) taken out and placed on the shelf............... now that's not rocket science is it??!! We also were going to pay £7.50 an hour for this person to do it. 

But it's apparently too much for some! 

Dear Blog readers this is an absolute reproduction (spelling and all) of extracts of a lengthy Face Book message I received from the individual after 2 and a 1/2hrs work on a busy Bank Holiday Friday evening:- 
' I'll tell you what I told Rob (our GM) and that is that I am sorry and also thank you for the opportunity but I just couldn't do it! The first 2 hours wasn't too bad I was sweating quite a bit but I was dealing with it but as it got busier it got worse'! 
(I'm wondering should I put may sweat on the job description)
'I was constantly back and forth from the garden to the kitchen and the bar and it seemed that every time I went out to the garden there was more and more stuff!' 
(I wonder what part of being a glass collector I didn't explain) 
'When I would go down to the bar there would be sooo many glasses to be cleaned and it was like that all the time because no-one else was doing them
(That's because it's what YOU'RE being paid to do??) 
I'm rambling on a bit I think I may be a bit dehydrated soooo I'm going to end it
(What? Your life? Oh no - you've left the building!) 
(At this point I fall to the floor in hysterical laughter!!) 

You absolutely couldn't make it up if you tried could you!! 

Boys, Girls, Men and Women of the Victoria Inn I salute you for your fearlessness and endeavour in serving the great British Public! 

Sarah - a new chef in the team
By the way do you notice how everyone is smiling in the photos except SOH?? That's because he wasn't impressed I was taking photo's of team on the 2nd busiest day of the year!!! Ooops.................. 

Love always and till next time dear Blog readers, I'm off to lay down in a darkened room!!!!!

Liz xxx
Jonathon Asst Mgr and Grumpy SOH 

Rob our lovely GM