New chapter begins for everyone as we look to the future

Picture inside Michael Caines new venture on Exmouth seafront - Mikey's Beach Bar and Restaurant. Picture: Michael Caines

Picture inside Michael Caines new venture on Exmouth seafront - Mikey's Beach Bar and Restaurant. Picture: Michael Caines - Credit: Michael Caines

We’re fully back in business!

After what seems like an eternity, our respective teams reported back for duty this week and, despite it being a wet Monday morning, they were raring to go. 

I know our customers have missed socialising and seeing people in the flesh rather than on Zoom and the same goes for our staff. That’s human instinct.

We are in the hospitality business and we thrive on making sure other guests are happy and  having a good time.

It’s a big part of our lives and when that, and the camaraderie we share, is taken away it’s a big deal.

I know a lot of people have suffered with their mental health during the pandemic and found it a lonely experience.

Monday, May 17 could not have come soon enough for that reason and the sense of excitement was palpable.

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This return to some sort of normality will have far reaching effects both socially and economically.

Over the past couple of weeks we have been placing orders with our local suppliers for meat, fish and vegetables.

We’ve also been recruiting at Mickeys in Exmouth and bringing people out of furlough at Lympstone Manor and my Cornish restaurants.

That will have a huge impact on the local economy as well as lifting everyone’s spirits.

I’m in no doubt that we are in for a testing time and that it’s going to be relentlessly busy but we have an awful lot of catching up to do.

Like many other businesses we’ve lost a lot of money over the past 12 months or so and we need to do all we can to maximise the revenue opportunities at our disposal. The engine has been ticking over and now is the time to put our foot down.

And while I am on the subject of money, I’d like to say something about our cancellation policy at Mickeys.

There has been some criticism of the fact that we have introduced a £75 charge for no shows at dinner and £40 for lunch but I make no apology for that.

The last time we came out of lockdown people were multiple booking different restaurants and then deciding which one to frequent on the night.

As convenient as that might be for them, what they don’t seem to realise is that they are denying businesses, and therefore their staff, much needed cash and that’s not on.

Last summer I and several other chefs backed Tom Kerridge after he criticised “selfish” and “disgraceful” customers for failing to show up and honour their reservations.

Tom was furious after 27 people failed to turn up at the Corinthia Hotel in central London without letting the restaurant know.
No shows have always been a problem but we cannot tolerate this attitude any longer. Our businesses simply can’t afford it.
We could have sold that table several times over so not only are we missing out, fellow diners are missing out too.

If there is a valid reason for not turning up we’ll give you a voucher for another visit but otherwise a fee will be incurred… per person.

I’m sorry but that had to be said.

On a brighter note, we sampled the final blend of our Lympstone Manor sparkling wine last week and were blown away with how it tasted.

Over the next few months we will be working on the label design and marketing ideas which I’m really looking forward to.

So, after a hellish few months we have lots to be grateful for and happy about and I am counting my blessings.

I feel that after the storm some calm will come and there will be fresh opportunities for many of us.

When I first opened Lympstone Manor, someone sent me a proverb which read ‘The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago and the second best time is now’.

For me, this is the perfect time to plant a metaphorical tree whether that’s in business or your personal life.

We are all entering a new chapter and we have the power to shape our own futures.

Good luck and stay safe.

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