My apologies for the lack of updates on this blog recently. My weak excuse is that I have been home to NZ for a couple of weeks much needed R&R and we have been busy adding a few improvements to the Beer Garden as well.
We are approaching our 1st year of operation and with that experience behind us looking at ways we can improve the services The Pattaya Beer Garden offers.
Probably the biggest problem I could see was that the main bar was so large that it was a little hard for people trying to meet the girl of her dreams. I wrote in February about the smaller, more intimate bar we were adding specially for those looking to meet someone. Well it has been operational for about a month and seems to be fulfilling its function. Freelancer numbers are up and most are choosing to sit at the small bar. Our afternoon promotion is having a slow but sure effect and the number of girls about in the afternoon is on the increase. We could still use much more and so the promotion will continue through April and probably May as well.
The new bar in operation.
No change to the bar would be complete without a picture of a crazy Thai workman. In this fine example, when the ladder was not high enough to reach the roof the simple and obvious solution is to tie two ladders together.
The tables around the inside of the bar annoyed me. The problem with them was that they were normal height tables so people sitting at the sort of disappeared and go a free view of the bums of people sitting at the nearby bar. (Sometimes not such a bad thing). We have now replaced all the inside tables near the bar with new models that are at standard bar height and they have comfy high backed chairs as well. We have also added fans above this internal seating as it could get quite hot sitting there.
These tables all have a near by power point as well and so make an excellent workplace for those who want to use the free wifi.
The final improvement finished last month was to the toilets. I made the classic mistake when we built the bar of letting the builders choose the toilets. Of course they chose cheap Thai made ones that are too small for many Farang bums and with a plastic mechanism so cheap it would break if you looked at it for too long. Having kept out maintenance man fully employed for the past year fixing them I finally bit the bullet and threw out the four units we had and purchased five brand new American made Farang friendly appliances. The fifth one will eventually be installed in the Ladies where we only have two stalls at the moment. ( a bit of a bottle neck at times).
It’s only a toilet but it is Farang friendly.
Having got all that out of the way we are no revisiting the menu. No drastic changes are planned but we will drop a few items that do not sell so well and add a few new things. I asked our Executive Chef about a Sausage based meal to add to our comfort food menu and she blew me away by preparing a gourmet delight Sausage and Mash spectacular. With the special sauce she adds it is actually one of my favorite meals now and even a few Thai’s who tried it out really loved it. It should be on the menu in a few days.
VEGETARIANS TAKE NOTE:
I’ve had a few vegies approach me in the last month asking if we could add some vegie food. We do a mixed vegetable Thai dish as well as Fried Rice with vegetables but we are now looking to add some Tofu dishes as well. As I am not a vegetarian any feedback from the Vegies out there as to what you would like to see on our menu would be welcome.
We get a lot of good comments on our steaks. This surprised me a little as I made a decision way back at the start that we would have to use local beef as the imported steaks would lift the price beyond the bracket we wanted to be in. As many of you will know local Thai beef does not make for great steaks but it seemed an unavoidable compromise.
While recently going through the prices of different suppliers with the Executive Chef we were looking at steak and she pointed out to me where our steaks come from and how much they cost. I was more than a little taken back when I realized she has been buying and serving imported New Zealand steak the whole time. No wonder they taste so good.
Although our profit margin is a bit low on these steaks I am pleasantly surprised that we can do them for the price we do. It must be the cheapest imported steak in Pattaya. We will continue serving these at the same price and I will stop telling everyone they are local beef.
In light of the world wide credit crunch and the tough economic situation we will not be raising any of our prices in the foreseeable future. Thailand is actually experiencing quite high inflation at the moment and our cost of goods have gone up around 10 percent in the past year. The volume that we are doing is much greater than I originally planned for though and good news about that, is that it will allow us to absorb the price increases and not pass them on to our customers.
See you in the Beer Garden.