It’s not the easiest game hospitality, in fact in the last year it’s become almost a joke trying to surf the narrow choppy waves of lockdowns, ..restrictions, ..staff shortages, ..border imports chaos, ..and now soaring energy costs.. will having a restaurant one day become untenable as a business? We’re already seeing mass closures of pubs and restaurants post the pandemic, even top end restaurants reducing their menus and opening hours. change is afoot. Even before the pandemic it was already harder than ever with everyone and his/her wife able to slate you internationally online with a 1/5* review for not being exactly what their particular expectations on that day expected…
Maybe one day the restaurant as we know it will be a distant memory.. we ourselves have had to rethink our offer, and it looks like we will continue to have to adapt.. but we will. for now we still love the life of hospitality, even in these treacherous waters. I really hope the government see sense and keep the VAT low for those in our industry. No one wants to pay £4.50 for a good quality coffee, but to be honest, to survive, that’s as far as it may have to go!
Good, that’s the negatives out of the way… It’s actually been a bumper (bumpy but bumper!) year at The Garden Kitchen, record staycations have seen record tourists all over the broads National park, and very busy cafes and restaurants all over the area bursting with customers awaking from the pandemic, hungry and with varying payment methods in hand!
I can honestly say that everyone (bar one chap who believed he’d been conned because we hadn’t peeled the prawns in his half pint of shell on prawns.) has been very pleased indeed with our services, we threw our net wide to try and please everyone, we were a cafe serving restaurant style dishes alongside tearoom classics as well as the latest innovative brunch and street food offers.
Next year will be a more concentrated menu, but for this year we decided to try to please as many as possible. Alongside all of the catering we had booked, some of it from two, even three years ago, often rebooked and reimagined several times, it was quite an achievement… we pull it off because we’re good, good at making people feel comfortable and special, and good at cooking. but also because we plan. My excellent team are always thinking.. scanning social media for the latest exciting ideas, reading cook books, thinking ahead about how to crate the best menu we can under the circumstances we have, constantly planning for those planning events for themselves and their loved ones.
Next year we will pare things back a bit. Focussing as ever on quality seasonal quality cooking and unfussy attentive and friendly service. So far so good, the catering side of our business has now been trading for 10 years and our cafe 6 years. Honestly even after all, despite everything, stronger than ever, not down, certainly not out.. 2022, bring forth….