I’m writing this from a very wet Cowes… in comparison to last year’s sunny July; this is quite a different picture! This is the problem with catering in the UK… the weather seriously affects everything! If it’s too hot, people would rather drink than eat, if it’s too cold; you’ll find your customers snuggled up inside. However, unless you’re at a festival, where people expect it anyway, rain is the all-time killer. So… I’ve decided to close whilst it decides to chuck it down; so here I am!
I’ve had one of my best years to date. It took some time, but I forced myself to be a little more selective with my bookings. I told myself to say no to festivals and any events with a high upfront pitch fee. So, no more worrying that the weather might lose me thousands of pounds! Instead we’ve catered at events which ask for a percentage of your takings. These have included Henley Regatta, Stone Henge Summer Solstice Festival (where we actually got to touch the stones!), Barbury International Horse Trials and point to points. We’ve recently agreed to cater at this year’s Revival Festival at Goodwood too. Private events have filled a lot of our year; we’ve provided a sit down service for weddings and hen parties and have fed the hundreds at some corporate events and weddings.
I still have the horse box at Long Buckby Train Station; run by Alice, who was one of my best finds! We’re open from 6am – 10am, Monday – Friday; keeping the locals and commuters happy with hot drinks, sweet treats and breakfast items. It’s not going to make me rich; but it’s a nice little thing to keep going, and it makes everyone happy!
Because of the slightly calmer year; I feel so much happier and have been able to deal with the stresses 100x times better than last year. This may be helped by the fact that the vans have been playing ball – I’ve been trying hard to be proactive, rather than reactive. So, as soon as I have the slightest worry that something might go wrong; I take them into the garage. I’m also taking them for more regular services. Whatever I’ve been doing – it seems to be working so please vans, keep on going – you’ve only got a couple of busy months left!
Reinforced by another trip to Italy this summer; my idea of ‘British Aperitivo’ has grown ever stronger. I’ve been toying with the idea of a third van for a while; and despite my ever-growing problem with staff and horrors from last year’s accident with Bella, I can’t say no anymore! So, watch this space – I’m hoping I’ll have another Estafette on the road by early 2018! If anyone has any ideas for names; let me know by commenting on this blog! We’ll be serving the best of British wines, beers, ciders and spirits, paired with a delicious sample of food sourced from the UK. I’ve always been proud of British produce, and I don’t think enough has been done to truly glorify what we have on offer. I’ll obviously have Prosecco and Champagne on standby, but if I can show off how great the UK is; then I’ll feel so proud.
I’ve also started a new little venture called ‘Just Dough’ (www.just-dough.co.uk) This stemmed from me finding the demand for pizza bases too high during our busiest seasons. I began contacting numerous bakeries, asking if they could create my recipe and stretch my bases for me. However, this proved astronomically expensive, so I decided to seek a stone-baked pizza supplier. I soon found an Italian supplier; so ordered £500 worth of bases (This was the minimum order) and was horribly disappointed. This may sound super arrogant; but they weren’t a patch on mine! So…. I noticed a gap in the market and thought; why not become a supplier! I have no idea how it’ll go but I’ve only just launched the website and have already had numerous requests. I’m looking forward to the street food season finishing; so that I can invest some time in Just Dough. Who knows; it might be a waste of time. Or, it might be the solution for what to do during my quieter months!
That brings me to the end of my update! Sorry if it was a little factual today! On a non-work related note; I’M GETTING A PUPPY! I am so excited… It’s a little barbet (French water dog) and we’re calling it Tarka. I think I mentioned in a previous blog that I was re-locating to Northamptonshire; well – it’s happened now. I’m currently commuting back and forth to Salisbury as a lot of MYO’s work is further down South. However, I am so happy with our new cottage. I feel unbelievably lucky and I can’t wait to see what opportunities it’ll bring for MYO. I’m equally excited about starting a new life up there; not many people get the opportunity I’ve been granted with!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this update; and if you’ve read this and thought ‘wow, that sounds interesting’ or ‘that’s something I’d love to get involved with’, please get in touch – as I’m still looking for someone full time to join me J