Mobi’s has now been open now for over a week, and while there were times mid-week when I started to wonder if I had made the biggest mistake of my life; but at week’s end, I can report that things seem to be going pretty well – all things considered.
It will clearly take time to extract customer from other watering holes and start to build up a regular clientele, and right now is the worst possible time to try to do this as the afternoon heat is nigh on unbearable.
For the past few days the temperatures have been in the low 40’s and if this wasn’t bad enough the high humidity has been a killer. Five minutes exposed to the elements is enough to bathe you in sweat, so as you might imagine, it’s not at all easy to persuade any – save the most hardy souls – from leaving the air-conditioned comfort of their homes.
In spite of this, we have had a slow, but steady stream of customers come by and give us a try, and what is even more encouraging is that almost all of these customers have paid us a return visit, some of them two or three times.
I would also say that nearly all of these customers have come as a result of my blog and plugging the bar on Thai visa forum, which is very gratifying.
I have received no serious complaints, and most people have been very complimentary on what we are trying to achieve. Some have offered me the benefit of their experience or have made suggestions that will help to improve our service, and this has all been good. I want to build up and maintain a two-way dialogue, where hopefully customers feel free to complain and offer tips.
We are still a little low on staffing, but have plans in place to increase our numbers over the next week or so; in the meantime, my little ‘gang of four’ (Noo, her aunt and two girls) seem to be managing quite well.
The guy who I wrote about in this blog a few weeks ago and I ended up banning, has been taking verbal ‘pot shots’ at meevery day from the adjacent bar – telling anyone who will listen what a SOB I am. (And much more besides). Little Noo is becoming very angry about his antics as it will inevitably have an effect on potential customers, so if I was him – and if he is reading this blog, I give him good notice – he had better watch out.
Anything I might be tempted to do to him do will pale into insignificance when compared to what Noo may do, once she is sufficiently riled – and I can tell you she is getting very, very riled….
Without a shadow of doubt, apart from the enjoying the er… um… charming repartee of ‘mine host’…. the unexpected ‘hit’ of the bar so far is our humble offerings of hot dogs and French Fries. We have been shifting them by the bag load, and everyone seems to love them.
I hadn’t realised it when we opened, but at the present time it is quite difficult to find any food in the bars that run along the lakeside, even though many of them have signs that offer “ Food & Drink.”
The punters tell me that when they ask in these bars for food, the standard riposte is “No have.”
On top of this, the large restaurant that is attached to a resort/bar just along the road from Mobi’s has closed, due to some in-house dispute, and I have already had a couple of starving residents from the resort, come by and beg some food from us late at night.
So I am now seriously considering how we can easily increase the menu, but it is a bit difficult to do without a proper cook. Hot Dogs and French Fries are one thing, but ‘meat and two veg’ is something else again.
Somebody has contacted me about selling pies and I will consider this, although I will need a proper oven to eat them up.
Others have suggested burgers, and subway type sandwiches, which are all good ideas, but I really couldn’t envisage even that without a proper cook, and I couldn’t train anyone to do it as I am the world’s worst cook!
As it is they threw me out of the kitchen when I tried to teach them how to cook pop-corn – and they were quite right, as their pop-corn is delicious and the lot I tried to cook ended up burnt!
Last Friday we had our first emergency. I arrived at the bar around 1 p.m. only to discover that the lone customer was drinking a warm beer with ice in it to cool it down. He proceeded to tell me that one thing he hates is ice in his beer!
Upon investigation I established that for some strange reason the beer cooler had been turned off and was now showing 27 degrees!. The beers were all warm so it had clearly been off since the previous evening.
We immediately plunged as many beers etc as possible in our large ice box and we waited for the drinks cooler to cool down again. Two hours later the temperature was still 26 degrees, and the realisation dawned that the bloody thing was kaput.
Somehow Noo magicked up a engineer by 5.30 who told us the compressor was screwed and even if we replaced it, he couldn’t guarantee it would work. In any case would only give us 3 months guarantee. I then discovered that although the cooler was only 10 months old, it had been bought second hand and only had a six month guarantee – which had conveniently expired.
Noo rushed down town to buy a second, 200 litre ice box to assist with emergency cooling, and yesterday, (Saturday), I bit the bullet and bought a new drinks cooler.
So by late Saturday afternoon we were back to normal in the drinks cooling department, but in the meantime nobody – except the guy with ice in his beer – suffered, as submerging bottles in ice works even better than keeping them in the cooler.
I am hoping for good things today, (Sunday), as we will be showing the Spanish Grand Prix live (7.p.m local time) followed by the final football matches in the EPL which start at 9 p.m. Unfortunately Liverpool did us no favours last week when they flopped to a draw with Crystal Palace, thus robbing the last day of the season of much of its excitement. Excitement equals punters, but alas it is not to be.
But I am still hopeful. I will report back next week.