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Food Delight in a Covid World

Updated: Apr 20, 2021

Remember your favourite restaurant??

That sublime dish?... a glass of wine in hand??

Diana Spellman discusses the opportunity to make your hotel the go-to setting for gastronomic delights post-Covid!

Are you one of the lucky comfortable regional Hotels which have been enjoying your locals visiting (pre-lockdown) for a spontaneous cheeky overnight stay? Have you noticed a generosity and uncharacteristic splurging from some faintly familiar neighbours who have been letting off steam in your bars from the tedium of lockdowns?

If so, congratulations! Not only are you feeling the warmth of your community, it feels wonderful to share that pent up hospitality so frustrated by the dip in trade.

Eighty regional Hotels have been fortunate to attract some publicity during the Summer from The Sunday Times ‘Top Best Hotels of the Year’ Awards.

Spurred by my keen curiosity into the beautiful pockets of our UK landscape, I browsed many of these properties for a prospective release from endless WFH (Work From Home) Zooms; a fantasy “Escapation”!

Swiping Images of delicious Jevington Banoffee Pie, Whitstable Oysters, Colston Bassett,

Helmsley Parkin, and Blackpool Milk Roll. I didn’t stop there… Nantwich Cheshire Cheese! Melton Mowbray Pie! Ross on Wye Cider & Perry! And Cornish Hevva Cake took me around the length and breadth of the British Isles. I start scrolling through 15 or so websites of the most attractive. Confused now as I browse around, flicking back and forth to those with the most enticing offers. Which shall I book??

Local sourcing, Farm to Fork, Field to Fork, Gate to Plate, whichever term we use in supply chain is not the first phrase on customer’s lips. But this underestimates the fact that taste and sense of location can restore our recently scattered sense of order. Of being. Reminders of evocative tastes long forgotten, digs up a source of deep satisfaction and contentment visceral within our ribcage.

This tangibility of place appeals to our necessity of attachment, our sense of belonging, our purpose and meaningful place in the world. We seek to attribute these spontaneous and unqualified emotions to a beautiful view, a pretty cushion, a smile from the hotel staff. But fundamentally on our staycation, we are seeking to reboot our recent pandemic displacement, to restore a sense of stability and order so we can refresh and restore.

Your Restaurant provides the occasion to arouse these emotions. Offering a smorgasbord of delicious and evocative fayre where your local fishermen can exhibit their freshest catch, the depth of meatiest flavour, colour and aroma from local grassfed pastures or a cheese board with its display of perky temptations is the stage for your culinary theatre.

The menu doesn’t need to be packed full of laboured descriptions of ingredients. The delicious dishes and the passion of the chef extolled by the menu descriptions and specials by the staff, offer the key to the magic box. The imagery in the retelling of the stories; the exalting of your local growers, the attentiveness of their husbandry, the excellence of their craftsmanship, the dedication of their preparations, all served up in a pinnacle of your hostelry for you the customer is the clincher to a sated guest.

If the above scenario seems second nature to you and you are already convinced you are optimising this opportunity to satisfy your most valued loyal guests, don’t be complacent. Double check all is as you imagine and gift an anonymous meal to a trusted friend or acquaintance to confirm your trusted standards are still flying high.

If not, it could be your Chef and kitchen team have been compromised by the inevitable cutbacks and adjustments from national foodservice wholesalers. Catalogues have been cut back and product ranges are out of stock. Reduced deliveries are likely, making stock availability more difficult to forecast and store.

This is the moment to be back in touch with your local wholesalers or any new ones which are likely to have sprung up. They will be delighted to pick up your shortfall, however, prepare for personal warrantees to substantiate credit applications for new accounts.

Alternatively supplies in small quantities might be more practical from online retailers such as Ocado and Farmdrop. Increasing the credit limit on the credit card might need flexed, have sympathy with the team opening more packaging. Patience in adapting any customary recipes could take some experimentation.

So when those local goods arrive, The Chef and kitchen team are revved up to knock the tastebud socks of your guests with delicious, tasty locally sourced products!

If you’d like some tips, guiders or a refresher as to how to remind your locals and staycationers to come and eat with you and awaken their familiarity of local delicacies, Click here:

Find out how to leapfrog your locals tedium of ‘Rona to increase your sales and reputation, capturing that flashpoint to success.

While you are here, take a look around at what has to offer!

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