Sunday, 31 May 2009

Where are we heading?

Far be it from me to be adding to the recession hype, but some observations and events of this week have caused me much anguish.

Maybe the majority of the population tend to ignore or overlook signs of impending doom or maybe we are collectively so caught up in our own lives that we simply don’t care, or don’t put a human face to general issues we see on TV or read in the paper, but seeing and hearing evidence of imminent disaster to those amongst us in our community physically distresses and upsets me hugely.

Many restaurant owners are currently facing financial ruin along with the possible collapse of their personal infrastructure (ie their relationships, housing etc). This is sheerly due to the lack of customers walking in the door. Many other things obviously also influence the demise of a business, but if the same number of customers patronizing the restaurant was the same as it has been to date (assuming the restaurant has previously been a well known and popular restaurant), we wouldn’t be facing this impending situation.

It breaks my heart to see someone’s passion and dream of creating, sourcing and presenting beautiful and credible food to us the punters disappear because of this GFC (global financial crisis). These people put body and soul, as well as money, assets and family life, on the firing line in order to do what some base instinct inside them makes them do.

I can put myself in these people’s shoes, and empathise with them wholeheartedly.

In the paper this week:
*the Telegraph advertising $5 meal specials
*Mures advertising a free ice cream and fruit juice with every child’s meal sold there over June

I can’t do much to help any ailing businesses except plead with you to try and make a visit to your favourite cafĂ© or restaurant. I know all of us are hurting in some way at this time, but instead of popping a $2 coin into a tin annually and feeling good about assisting your local community, why not vote with your feet and do something tangible for a (restaurant) business in your community, and make your tummy happy at the same time?


Maggie said...

I agree, I am also surprised by the Tele's $5 meals. I haven't been in, so I don't know what this actually involves though.

I would personally rather pay more to have lunch somewhere decent, either that or spend a few dollars on the ingredients and make my own lunch!

Still, a lot of venues are using promotional deals to tout for business. Wednesday night $10 burger and beer at the Alley Cat is a real winner.

I guess they don't call it the "credit crunch lunch" for nothing.

Maggie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I doubt the Tele is doing it that tough the guy owns/leases (at least) Observatory, Tele, Cargo and Proller! I'm not going to be guilted into paying for someones business excess.

Economic downturns are when the wheat get sorted from the chaff. Too many business people in Hobart thing they are owed a living. If you can't compete move aside and let someone else have a go.

Harsh, but that's the free market for you. Especially since the AHA once objected to a friends liq lic application (for a cocktail bar) that Observatory and Proller were cocktails bars and as such we don't need anymore!

Anonymous said...

I basically agree with Anonymous 3:58, Rita. No one likes to see businesses go under but I'm not persuaded to go all mushy about this industry which always has a seasonal downturn at this time of year and needs to be creative to attract custom. A lot of people in this industry DO think they have a right to success just because they exist and are more than happy to offer third rate rubbish to customers in exchange for exorbitant prices when times are good. Let the market sort them out!

Rita said...

Oooh you guys play hard ball!
I agree with you that market forces will sort things out, but the places I wrote this post about actually don't come under any of the above classifications you mention. I agree about the seasonality of custom - that's a given if you're a savvy Tasmanian operator. The people I was referring to ARE savvy guys. Sometimes shit does happen, and I feel appropriately sorry for those involved, but when it happens that despite everything someone goes to the wall, it breaks my heart, especially when I know what they've put into their businesses.

Susannah said...

I did my bit for the industry this weekend. I called in at Zeps on Friday evening for a light snack on the way to visit family. I thought the small serve of fish and chips would be nice, but was disappointed. the fish (the waitress didn't know what type it was) was dry and flavourless, and the crumbed coating overcooked. The chips were likewise a disappointment - verging on greasy. And the coffee - not quite hot enough.

On my return journey, I called in to Perth, and had the most divine poached eggs at Ut Si. The whites were perfectly set, the yolks completely runny - served on multigrain toast with a side of spinach. And the coffee was hot. I also bought a loaf of the bread (baked that morning, I was told, and it certainly smelled like it), much to the delight of my family, who said it was nearly as good as my homemade bread.

A pity about Zepps - the location is better than Perth, but Ut Si is such a delight.

sir grumpy said...

My mate tells me some pubs in the UK just do the pub-grub meals as a break-even or loss leader, Rita.
The mark-up in the booze more than makes up for it there.
PS I was glad that Kate got hers on Master Chef.
Went home to her lovely family home in a leafy suburb, so she's NOT doing it tough.
That raspy croak she calls a voice was also giving me the shits.

Rita said...

Good on you Susannah, I cut & pasted your comment for Ut Si, as I'm sure she'll be delighted to hear what you had to say, and I don't know how often she checks this blog. I agree with you about her bread, as I mentioned in my post the other day. I am just eating the last of the loaf I bought there last Thurs, and will be sorry to have no more.
I agree too about Zeps - it's getting nearly impossible to park outside there anyway - so why not travel a bit further up the road and eat fabulous food at Ut Si's?
Sir G - I would have bet millions that Kate would send Sandra home, and was really surprised that she chose to eliminate herself. But I too am glad she's out. Now we still need to get rid of the dreaded Aaron, but some of the others are starting to grate on me too, so I have targeted them as well! Will be interested to see who goes tonight.

steve said...

Batten down them hatches Rita!
Me too on the kate issue Sir G, she did the right thing though by falling on her sword. Next out the door should be Aaron, how he survived after fucking up three batches of toffee apples then having the gumption of deflecting the blame to someone else was frankly jaw dropping!
The beer dude & the girl who beat Pete Evans(how embarrassing!)are my picks for the final two contestants.

sir grumpy said...

My picks too, Steve.
I reckon kate read ethics as part of her law course.
She would have thought:
1`. ``If I send Sandra home, I'll be the biggest bitch ever in other people's eyes.''
2. ``I'm not going to win it anyway, so I might as well fall on my sword and get out with the maximum in plaudits and redeeem myself.''
Call me cynical.

Rita said...

YAY - the dreaded Aaron is out! Working with George, but out of the house nevertheless.
I like Tom (the dark guy), and Sandra, so hope they do well.
Stupid Julie, who panics way too much to win, should go soon too, but out of she & Aaron, I'm glad it was him to go, not her.
Also Sam needs to go - he's way too cocky, and when he tried to blame Sandra for the failed risotto last week, when it was really down to Kate not taking the lead, I decided he's on my hit list too!

Tassiegal said...

I must admit to doing the happy dance when Aaron was voted out. Julie needs a chill pill - and to stop second guessing herself. She chose wrong for the invention test anyway, Strawberries have some many more possibilites.....I immeadiately thought "Eton mess with balsamic glazed strawberries and jam".
Kate did the right thing - though she took her time doing it.
I'm with Steve about the final two...should be interesting.

sir grumpy said...

Actually, the more I listened to Aaron, the more I likened him to a lost little boy using bravado to cover for his insecurities.
His generation have also been subjected to the US culture of ``I'm the best, why be modest, that's for losers'' mentality.
He needs mentoring and I think it was nice George took him under his wing. Good on them both.

MATT/JO said...

Dear Rita & co, We read your site daily and look forward to the goss,
and yes times are tough,but in saying so we run a small pub out of town and have for almost 3 years.The last 18 months to a packed house every night and a very healthy lunch time trade,the key we think is that we built the pub around our staff,treat them as part of a family, and also humans.They are paid very well,and treated with respect and admiration for the brilliant job they all do.When patrons are greeted by happy staff who love what their doing it is reflective and shows,and to top it of have a great,large well cooked meal,at a very modest price,in a warm & friendly setting how can you go wrong.We have not advertised our hotel once in our tenure and with a full house every day why should we,try this method,it works well for us,cheers guys

sir grumpy said...

Matt and Jo, good on you. Come on guys, where are you?
You might be able to add me and the missus to your regular clientele.
Then again, you might not want to!

Rita said...

Yes - I'm with Sir G there Matt and Jo - where are you? We love people like you! I am awarding you a prize of some kind, as I love your attitude.