Sunday, December 7, 2008

I know what you mean

Over on Stonch’s Beer Blog, Jeff has posted a piece on the seasonal crowd who only frequent pubs at this special time of the year and some of the challenges that they pose to the year round regulars and the staff of the pubs they visit.

I am experiencing the same sort of thing in the restaurant as the corporate party crowd descends and brings with it many ‘fresh heads’ who may never have even thought to visit a restaurant like ours. This is not always a bad thing and it can even be a great opportunity to snaffle a few loyal regulars from other places around who may have been taking them for granted.

It can be frustrating when a new guest complains about the fact that you don’t have his favourite spirit or beer, but these blokes are thankfully rare. It does bring up the point that Jeff made and that is; to what extent do you ‘gear up’ for the Christmas crowd and how far do you go to accommodate their whishes or whims? I see the chance to expose them to something they may not have had and might just find themselves liking. I will sometimes pick my mark carefully and offer him or her a ‘beer back guarantee’ – try the beer, if you really don’t like it, I’ll buy you another. We both win in the end.

It can also be a good opportunity to talk beer with people who are accustomed to being offered just the standard big brewery fare whenever they go out and these guys really appreciate the extra attention to their beer drinking needs.

You will always get the few who can’t, or just won’t, be swayed from their favourite brew and that’s fine too. Spend your time and experience on those who you might ‘convert’ and the Beer World gains another to its population. They are the ones you may see back again – it’s pointless wasting too much time and energy on peanuts that you really don’t want in the place again anyway.

A pub is certainly a different beast to a restaurant in that my people have usually come in as a guest of someone else and not made the decision themselves whereas, as Jeff points out, his ‘Once a year Regulars’ come in as a result of some vague concept that they should visit a proper pub at Christmas time even if they wouldn’t do it any other time.

I like using this time of the year as an opportunity to make a few new friends and to move some stock that might normally sit around the fridge or the cellar. If we all get a ‘win’ then I don’t feel too bad. Merry Christmas.

Prof. Pilsner


Anonymous said...

you hospitality types.

complain when we don't want to try new beers and then you talk about offloading your dregs on us when we consider trying something different.

i,for one, look forward to sampling a nice anchor porter this festive season.

Beer Blokes said...

I tell you what, Ari, (nice one Centurion, like it, like it!)if you come in for dinner and try something different and let the moths out of your wallet, I'll find an Anchor Porter for you!