First of all, happy new year to everybody and hopefully it was a great Christmas for you. But we know what follows now — back to the reality of the January blues.
The annual price hikes from suppliers is the first news to land on everyone’s desk. So another seven-plus pence to add to a pint of beer. Sustainable? I think not. This will take many people closer to the precipice and even push them over the edge.
A tough year is being forecast by the majority and personally I have to agree. Despite 8% like-for-likes for TLC in December and new sales adding a chunky 50% to sales overall, we are taking a cautious but optimistic approach to 2012.
After a hectic 18 months saw TLC double in size, we will be taking the next six to eight weeks to draw breath and refresh existing sites, ready for what we hope will be an exciting spring.
But the remaining winter period doesn’t need to be full of gloom: Valentine’s Day, St Patrick’s Day and Mother’s Day are all still to come before the end of March.
We’ve added some great Beatles swing and Motown nights to our calendar as a boost amid those winter blues — so all in all, there’s some great activity to keep the tills from needing a large dose of WD40.
But we must never forget those vitally important standards. So if you spot any drawing pins with tinsel still attached, take it down! Customers may be fewer, but every one of them is still looking for standards and service when parting with their pounds.
Keep everyone smiling and those dark nights will soon disappear as the daffodils begin to show their green shoots. It is likely to be hard but this is a resilient trade, with plenty of great people and operators. Drive your businesses onwards and upwards with positivity and maybe we can prove the economy wrong.
On a different note I’d like to welcome the next generation of Haslams to TLC Inns: my eldest daughter Paige has joined our head office team after a spell in the city and we hope that she enjoys her new role.
Best of British to everyone and have a great year — be inspirational!