Murky donuts

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WHAT a great combination, World Cup football matches up to three times a day, the sun is shining and importantly supermarkets are doing beer promotions. The Cayeula Supermarket in Zurgena is selling litre bottles of decent branded beers for a Euro. Murky Donuts are selling packs of Amstel cans also for only a Euro a litre.

Murkys now stock a great range of inexpensive frozen meats ideal for all barbecue aficionados. Shoulder of lamb costs about six/seven Euros and is delicious smothered with fresh garlic, rosemary, wrapped in foil and slow roasted over hot embers. Restaurants often charge a small fortune whenever lamb is involved so this is a bargain for all the carnivores out there. Trout is easy to cook en papilote on a barbecue and Murkys are selling those at two fish for three Euros.

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Another recession buster idea is the meal deal available seven days/nights a week at the imaginatively named Bar La Cinta in La Cinta Arboleas. Six Euros buys a huge plate of lamb chops, proper home made chips, roasted green peppers and a fried egg for luck. They throw in the first drink as well and the obligatory basket of bread (ask for some alioli). A Bobby bargain and a large sunny terrace to enjoy it on as well.

Bar Empalme in Bedar also has a cracking offer, eight Euros for eight of their splendid tapas and a litre of beer. The bar shows the World Cup matches too so cheap food, beer and football are all under one roof.

In these straightened times its refreshing to see businesses being proactive to attract the punters in. Back in the UK I worked in hospitality management for years and have fond memories of the industry. All too often businesses over here fail to adapt to changing markets and quite frankly struggle to survive. Innovation, quality and consistency are paramount when trying to succeed in attracting and retaining custom. Some places seem more interested in rules being adhered to rather than adapting to get more customers through the door.

Many places offer a Menu del Dia but some people can’t face three courses so why not offer a lighter two course option. Instead of just offering it at lunchtimes serve it in the evenings too as the last thing any owner needs is for customers to leave if they find a meal deal was only available earlier. Quality is always better than quantity so just because it’s a Menu del Dia don’t serve people lower quality food. All too often what’s on offer via a Menu del Dia does not exactly inspire the palate.

Wow the customer and they will return and tell others about their good find. According to a marketing statistic a happy customer tells 3 people yet an unhappy customer tells 19.2 people on average about a bad experience. Who the point two is I don’t know maybe a random midget.

Up selling is a superb way to offer clients better value and to get more money in the till. Restaurant El Mar La Mar in Villaricos suggests customers pay three Euros per couple to upgrade from a basic wine to a better quality house wine when eating from the Menu del Dia. The restaurant could go even further and allow people to upgrade to whatever bottle of wine they want off the list by paying an agreed supplement. Paying guests would then experience great value. That to me is a better and more pro active option than simply not allowing a guest the wine they want because of a rule. Good for stock rotation too.

Entering most Spanish owned establishments there’s normally no need to pick up a menu unless it’s to read hilarious translations or to compare prices. I have a theory that when soon to be restaurant owners graduate from Spanish catering college they are given a badly photocopied standard menu and told they must only ever serve from that list

That’s why it’s always lomo, tortilla, chorizo, calamares, chuletas and the ever popular Russian Salad. Fresh vegetables should never be used as the tinned and canned varieties are obviously superior and much healthier. The salad training must be hard as students must build up their muscles to open all those cans. Perfecting the use of tinned tuna and learning the art of placing delicious canned white soggy asparagus on top of a salad must take years of practice.

To save on costs instead of wiping a table clean paper tablecloths must be used and then thrown in the bin never recycled. Students are trained only to hand customers one pair of knife and fork which they will need for both courses. If bread is served then try to avoid giving anything to go with it and NEVER offer a side plate. If the bread can be at least a day old and stale then use it as this saves giving it to the dog.

When the condiment tray is put on the table it must contain two caked up salt cellars covered in grease and no pepper. The obligatory paper napkin dispenser must be timed to run out just when the customer needs more. A grumpy look should be copied every day in front of the mirror. Above all make sure the telly is on and loud.

Of course these are generalisations and not all places are guilty of these crimes against the plate but I am sure we have all experienced sloppy service in one form or another.

Raise the game offer great food at affordable prices and above all serve it with a smile and the customers will come.

By Stephen Amore

www.findmeahome.es

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