09 Oct High Mountain Hospitality
By Rhiannon Csordas.
Fall in the mountains, a transitional period of change. The days become shorter, daily relentless showers replacing blue sunny skies. Vibrant colours of red, orange and yellow begin to form on trees. A trace of snow is just visible at the highest peak, while the smell of wet leaves and damp earth looms throughout the air. It is a time in Whistler where locals bid a farewell to their mountain bikes and eagerly await the use of winter toys.
However, this fall, it is not only the leaves and daily athletic hobbies that are changing throughout this West coast resort. As the Covid-19 pandemic continues its surge around the globe, it leaves our beautiful industry of food and beverage completely rocked. For months, we have dealt with countless uncertainties, pivoting our focus and daily operations to keep up with the revolving door of new rules.
The most recent of these rules: service must stop at 10 pm. So, what does this latest verbal order announced by Dr. Henry mean for the late-night beer, wine and cocktail establishments throughout the Sea to Sky corridor? With BC’s restaurant industry already in a fragile state, the news is most certainly devastating.
As an employee of Whistler’s craft cocktail bar, “The Raven Room” (an establishment that normally operates from 5 pm- 1 am), I can tell you firsthand the dramatic effect this order has had on most industry workers/ restaurant owners. This order has led to an almost 50% decline in revenue, with most late-night establishments generating the majority of their sales between 11 pm and 1 am.
Restaurants are once again being forced to pivot in order to survive. Late-night happy hour programs are being replaced with early morning brunch specials. Establishments are moving away from their most thriving hours into unknown territories of morning service, breakfast programs and a lot of uncertainty; Using time, money and energy towards completely rebranding and restructuring their business model. No longer are we encouraging other hospitality employees to swing by for their post-shift unwind, but rather for their pre-shift pick me up.
Aside from the trials of this from a business standpoint, I am also personally witnessing a massive decrease in our ability to connect with one another. In our line of work, being able to finish a shift and unwind with a beverage of choice is a cherished ritual. It is how we remove ourselves from whatever shift we may have had and enjoy our place of work as a patron rather than an employee. In Whistler, it is an opportunity to connect with other hospitality workers in various restaurants by choosing a seat at their bar for our post-shift unwind. It is how we keep each other up to date with the snow report, who is in town, personal creations we’re mixing and gives us a chance to connect on a deeper level.
So how do we personally “pivot” from one of our most valued post-shift rituals being derailed? Perhaps we learn how to build or elevate our home bars? Maybe it is through online connectivity within the restaurant community. It is no secret that as industry professionals, we love to talk about what we do. We already see a rising trend in online forums, blogs and groups that allow us to stay connected.
With the days becoming shorter and greyer, it is imperative that we investigate other ways to support one another not only from a business standpoint but mentally and emotionally as well. A disconnect in our community can fuel a sense of loneliness. This is a time where we should reach out to one another through messages of love and support.
The fall may change our weather, Covid-19 may change our operations, but nothing can change our passion for what we do in this industry. That is how we stay together, move forward and use our creative skills to survive this temporary reality.
Rhiannon Csordas lives in the beautiful mountain community of Whistler, British Columbia and works as a Hospitality Consultant and Bittered Sling brand ambassador.
2oz (60mL) Baron Samedi Spiced rum
1oz (30mL) Cinnamon, Clove, Vanilla infused Cold Brew
.5oz (15mL) Licor 43 Orochata
.25oz (10mL) Licor 43
2 dash (2 mL ) Bittered Sling Kensington Aromatic Bitters
Charred half Cinnamon stick garnish
Shake all ingredients with ice. Double strain into a chilled Nick and Nora glass. Place a lightly smoldering cinnamon stick on the edge of the glass to serve.