Is it possible to be as tired as you ever will be? And to know that this is the absolute peak (or trough?) of tiredness?
When our children (we have four in case you didn’t know!) were young I seem to recall tiredness being a permanent feature of our existence. Broken nights, early mornings and endless cycles of laundry plus – in my case – studying for a degree!
Post graduation, working in London for an International Development Charity was also pretty tiring. Commuting, long days, travelling and managing a large team were without a doubt exhausting.
But nothing prepared me for the past couple of weeks!
After fourteen months in lockdown/reopening for takeaway/opening in a limited way/locking down again (whilst reopening for takeaway) and finally reopening for sit ins we are almost back to normal – whatever that means. And it has been wonderful to welcome so many of you back to sit in for coffee and cake, lunch or Afternoon Tea – thank you!
We always said that our aim was to survive and to still have a business on the “other side” of the pandemic. At times we doubted that would be possible as ingredients and other costs soared. We looked again at what our customers wanted and needed and to use a fashionable term we “pivoted” our business.
I’m not sure what it is that has caused this phenomenal and overwhelming sense of tiredness. Perhaps it’s the mental exhaustion of constantly checking government and industry websites and emails to see the latest information, guidelines and warnings. Maybe it’s the physical exhaustion of moving things around, cleaning, sanitising, cleaning again. Or perhaps the emotional impact of seeing customers who have become friends sitting back in the shop, of hearing the lovely comments on our new look and the reviews of our updated menus and cakes.
If I am honest however I suspect that this feeling of tiredness/exhaustion comes down to something else which is much harder to put into words. As the owners of a small business we put our heart and soul into everything we do. We spend hours working and talking about work because it has become our life. Our aim is to offer every customer the perfect experience but tonight I am asking myself do we aim too high?
We welcome feedback and since reopening I have absolutely and genuinely welcomed the notes/calls/messages from everyone of you which have encouraged, inspired and helped me. Of course we haven’t got everything right first time – regulars will notice we are working with several new team members, and our staffing has also been reduced due to exams and other issues (such as practice for the semi final of the young pastry chef of the year award!)
If your cake portion seems a little smaller than usual, if you are inadvertently overcharged, if your coffee isn’t quite hot enough or if you have to wait a little longer than ideal for your Panini please tell me (and thank you to those of you who have done so!) Our staff all want the same as me – to make you happy – but some of them are still learning.
But please allow me to try and put things right before posting a negative review on Google or elsewhere. These reviews massively impact us as they influence whether people will choose to spend their hard earned money with us.
And perhaps that is why I am so tired? The disappointment of reading a disappointing review on top of all the hard work is just too much at times. I will be updating our FAQ with details of why our prices have had to increase but until then please believe me that we really do try to be fair, and let’s be honest – if we were overcharging then I wouldn’t be working eighty hours or more a week!
Thank you for reading this rather over-long blog post. I just felt like it needed to be said and thank you for understanding.
Linda (aka Mrs Kitchen)