Palate Pleasures – Feast or Famine

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As the days get longer and warmer, we folk in the hospitality game get ourselves ready for the party season.

The onset of Daylight Saving triggers a shift in the collective consciousness, an insatiable urge to break free of the winter time hibernation pattern, to seek our neglected friends and colleagues who were previously blown off in favour of cosy nights at home with the heater and MasterChef on.

This is a time of the year that those in our industry approach with equal measures of excitement, relief and trepidation.

Of course, we feel immensely grateful that we have once again survived through the leanest months of winter and come blazing out into the far more optimistic rays of springtime, where once again our illustrious patrons are inclined to untie their purse-strings and spend, spend, spend!

The dark days are over, and especially so in our exceedingly seasonal, regional area – we look forward to hopefully months of healthy trade.

Indeed, it’s a few months of not being so nervous about the figures. And also, it’s a few months of being so incredibly flat out that if we wanted to, we virtually have no time for such contemplation.

Hence, the trepidation mentioned earlier. Much as we love the hoardes that grace us with their custom, we do ever-so-slightly dread the pressure, fatigue and stress associated with the approach of the silly season.

Situations involving over-indulgence of alcohol, food and high spirits are often fraught with emotion and margin for error. Things can and do go wrong … There’s always some broken glass, an embarrassing incident or two involving a colleague, a family disagreement here or there … Or just downright organisational disasters, unbelievable dietary requirements and even more unbelievable tantrums. You name it, we’ve seen it all.

Every year, the heat, the booze, the excitement of good times ahead leads to the same sort of human drama and mishap.

And just in case you think we’re blaming all the hazards of the hectic times on the punters, think again. Naturally, good old Murphy’s law would have it that everything can and does go horribly wrong on our end too. Broken ice machines and/or fridges on a 35°C day? You got it. Multiple staff calling in sick on New Year’s Eve – you betcha! Not a prawn to be purchased the entire month of December? It’s entirely possible.

In the restaurant game, in our neck of the woods it’s a feast or famine. For most of the year we kind of cruise along, although admittedly during the slow, winter months it’s much more difficult to predict when and if we’ll be busy. At least during the summertime rush we are always running at full tilt, and it can be easier to keep the momentum going at the same pace, rather than stopping and starting during the patchy times.

But for the most part we have learnt to approach the busy season with stoic determination and of course, a slightly perverse sense of humour helps us pull through the heat, stress and fatigue with a smile on our faces. A cold beer at the end of the working day always helps, as do happy customers and hopefully, a happier bank balance at the end of it all.

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