Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Closed for Vacation

We've just closed the restaurant for a week as we do every year on the week before labor day. Ironically, but not uncommonly of course, we had our busiest 3 days of the summer before we closed - go figure!

The reasons for closing are mixed. It forces us all to take a break from each other which is well needed especially after the summer doldrums. It allows us to make repairs and repaint the restaurant. It gives us the chance to take a step back and think more about the bigger picture and less about the day to day challenges (hence the blogging!!) and at the end of the day it might even save money - Now how can that be?

Summers in New York are notoriously dead - many of our customers in the West Village have or know someone who has a house in the country so weekends, usually our busiest times, become very slow - good thing to know if you've been looking for that hard to get reservation all year. Weekdays can pick up a bit and Thursday definitely becomes the new Friday and Sundays get a little crazy, but that's not enough to make up for the weekend drop off.

Overheads on the other hand go soaring! Even without the utility companies' efforts to double our bills, the summer is a killer - air-conditioning costs are huge, refrigeration is tested to its limit (this is the time of year when everything breaks down if it's going to) and the crew still need to be paid even if you have less customers.

So instead of watching your dollars fly out of the air conditioning unit and straight out the door whenever the stray customer comes in (or the front of house go out to pace the sidewalk in frustration!), why not give everyone 1 week of their vacation allowance now and have a refreshed team ready for the fall and the busy holidays? - sounds good to me - I just wish we could do it the European way and take the whole month!

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