Tours are back! A tale of seagulls, parking tickets, power cuts & wasp stings.04 August 2020 | Taste and Tour
Tours are Back!
So... we resumed tours again at the start of August. Instead of groups of 20, we had groups of 6 and 8. We have changed what we do, the venues have changed what they do, some venues we can no longer visit, but we got there. We are delighted to be touring again, don’t get me wrong, but as with so many businesses right now, we’ve never worked harder for less.
The guests were awesome, as always, and despite the risk assessments, our tour guides had to put up with a few curveballs…
On the Belfast Food Tour a gust of wind took Meave’s (local, obvs) charcuterie into the middle of the road, where some hungry seagulls, with great taste, snarffled it up.
Ali found out the one negative to a rooftop bar... like when a power cut hits and there are 22 flights of stairs to traverse after guests have enjoyed a gin martini on the Belfast Gin Jaunt.
Aisling had a wasp fly up and into her shiny new visor and sting her on the ear at the start of her 5 Stop Brunch Tour!
Oh, and Caroline got a parking ticket because the app (which is absolutely useless) failed to start properly! There may have been tears, but it’s been one of those weeks... more like months.
Last weekend was a lot more straight forward, we are already getting into our groove and the weather really made the difference. We have just ordered new branded umbrellas so, hopefully, we don’t need to use them this ‘summer’!
Firstly, this is not a pity party - we know the gravity of the situation and that people have lost loved ones, friends and family. There are just a few things that, as a small business, we thought it may be worth sharing.
The fact is Taste and Tour has never been a mega profitable business, no matter how it may look from the outside. We have absorbed rising costs across the board without increasing ticket costs, the recent tourism and hospitality VAT change is actually detrimental to us, and Caroline and I both fall through the cracks of government support. We love food and drink, and we love sharing our love of food and drink with other people. That’s why we do this, day in day out. Yes that’s a lot of loves. The last 5 months has been tough to say the least, and we both feel like we need a holiday as we haven’t stopped for a moment.
My dad was in the world of estate agency during the financial crisis of 2008 and I, as an immature selfish 20-year-old student, never once asked how he was doing through it all. I now know what it’s like seeing your business go from flourishing to struggling to stay afloat through no fault of your own and it’s impossible to not let it get to you.
To the 99% of our awesome guests who have been so patient, supportive and understanding regarding this situation - thank you so much, you’ve made the last 5 months a lot more bearable.
To the other 1%... no comment ?
This ongoing situation will not stop Taste and Tour, we will struggle on and hope to bounce back even higher on the other side. We are both determined that we will.
Words by Phil Ervine.