If you tuned into the BBC 2 series The Hidden World of Hospitality with Tom Kerridge this year then you will have seen our ice cream parlour featured in episode 6.
We were thrilled to give audiences a hidden glimpse of behind the scenes at Glaslyn and shine a light on Beddgelert, our beautiful village in the heart of Eryri (Snowdonia), that is blooming once again despite the impact of the pandemic and cost-of-living crisis.
Navigating seasonal challenges in hospitality
The episode highlighted how the changeable UK weather can bring sharp peaks and troughs in footfall and revenue for hospitality businesses. Ice cream is a prime example; who wants to eat ice cream in winter? - Other than our Bernese Mountain Dog and a few die-hard fans!
Fluctuating seasonal demand is the biggest challenge for the Beddgelert business community. Our Café and Pizzeria also sees a steep drop-off in customers between October and March. To operate a sustainable ‘all-year round’ business and protect permanent jobs for local people, we must generate enough income in six months so that we have enough cashflow to support fixed costs in winter, including nine salaried employees.
How do we, and other businesses in Beddgelert survive? Well, for the best part of 50 years my family closed the business down in winter to save costs, but this meant they were unable to offer permanent year-round jobs. However, times have changed, and retaining employees has never been so important given the UK wide recruitment crisis in hospitality that Tom Kerridge highlighted throughout the series.
So, what’s the answer to surviving, or dare we say it – thriving, in the toughest economic times the industry has ever seen? We can’t control the weather or the population of residents in our small village. We can’t control our proximity from more populated nearby towns, and we can’t control the cost of living!
Ultimately, we need visitors to keep returning to enjoy our special village, we need locals from the village and wider area to support our businesses when they can, and the business community must continue to work together to keep the Beddgelert experience alive and relevant for all.
Adapting and innovating for future success
As individual businesses we cannot afford to stand still. Next year, our Café – Pizzeria will have to operate differently if we are to be profitable. We aim to be a seven-day operation from Easter until the end of September, but to do this we must reduce our hours at quieter times. We will also be streamlining our pizza offer with our new focaccia pizza slices taking front and centre stage.
One thing that won’t be changing, however, is our commitment to staying true to our values, and that includes sourcing quality ingredients from local and Welsh suppliers where possible and producing fresh, delicious food and drink on site. This is despite the squeeze in margins due to food inflation and the
rise in energy and labour costs.
We will continue to innovate with new ice cream flavours and possibly even invest in a cart that we will allow us to add an events arm to the business. We also promise to continue placing sustainability at the heart of everything we do, and we hope that other businesses follow our lead.
We are evolving our team with the appointment of two Heads of Departments. Our plan is to invest time and resources into their training along with the rest of our team, so that our core team are empowered to drive the business forward – without me always interfering!
And finally, for those of you who don’t me - I’m Bonnie - third generation of my family to own and manage the business for the past five years - and far more comfortable behind the scenes in all honesty! My short-term goals are to prioritise trying to start a family so that we might have a fourth-generation
owner one day!
The BBC 2 series The Hidden World of Hospitality with Tom Kerridge is available on BBC iPlayer: