On a recent family road trip we discovered a disturbing truth: if you’re not in a major city, your café options will be really limited over the Christmas/New Year break.
Take Armidale for instance. Positioned inland from Grafton, it’s a cracker of a town and a popular pit stop for those journeying between Sydney and Brisbane. Accordingly, it’s got heaps of accommodation options and a healthy tourist trade.
But can you buy a coffee there between Christmas and New Year? It’s a mission, I tellsya! And sadly, these things matter to people like me, a dullard who Can’t Function Without Coffee.
Luckily, after 15 minutes of stupefied wandering, we found an open café and got our fix. Unsurprisingly, the place was teeming (so much so, I half expected to find Taylor Swift behind the counter). I was impressed by how well the staff handled the extra trade and was very happy to give them my money.
Which is why I couldn’t help but feel all the places with ‘We are closed for our Christmas break’ signs in the windows were missing a trick. With so many people on the move, cafés in every town, large and small, could expect to make a decent profit over the Christmas holidays.
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Then again, I get that catering is a seriously taxing game. And I certainly understand that when Christmas rolls around, those business owners are very ready for a break. I also respect that they’ve most likely assessed the opportunity and decided to let it go through to the keeper because the break is more valuable to them than the increased trade.
And if I’m honest, the kinds of places that stay open year round tend to be the generic monoliths who aren’t bothered about whether their staff get to hang out with their friends and family during the festive season.
So while I was initially surprised (and dismayed!) that the so many cafés were closed (and it wasn’t just the cafés either, most shops were shut tighter than a fish’s bum), on reflection, it’s refreshing.
Holidaying caterers, I salute you and trust you enjoyed your break. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to research mobile coffee vans in preparation for next Christmas.
Is your business one that would be very busy if you stayed open during the holiday break? Do you choose to close anyway? I’d love to hear the thoughts behind that in the comments below.