Yes, I feel lucky. Not lucky that my Easyjet flight back from North of the Wall was, yet again delayed … but that while I was there – we had a small fire.
I know what you’re thinking … how can the place catching fire be lucky ? Well, I feel lucky because all things considered, it could have been much, much worse.
As you probably know, one of my other business interests is a bar and restaurant in Scotland – and for the last year or so, I’ve enjoyed being very ‘hands on’ with everything that goes on there.
I was heavily involved throughout the development and extensive re-fit of what was a slightly seedy local treasure into a very popular (and extremely busy) bar and a la carte restaurant with an award-winning chef.
So, it would be fair to say my investment in this venture was much greater than a merely financial one.
Now, when you hear about a fire in a restaurant, the first thing that occurs is that it must have started in the kitchen, but this wasn’t the case at all.
Despite all of the things that can possibly catch fire in a kitchen – this all started with a tumble dryer that overheated and caught fire. I was amazed how quickly the damage happened and despite all efforts, the gents’ toilet did not survive (though some might take this as a blessing in disguise)
Luckily, all of this occurred while we were open and we managed to get everybody out safely and then get the fire put out relatively quickly – if it had happened when we were closed – I have absolutely no doubt the building would have been gone.
This experience, for me, only really underlines many of the things I’ve said previously here in the Lowedown…
Firstly, there’s the lesson that despite how much you prepare, things will still go wrong – and as illustrated here it’s not necessarily where you might expect it … and that things can go seriously wrong very quickly.
Secondly, when things do go wrong, it’s the strength of the relationships you’ve built that can help you get back on track in the fastest possible time.
Due to the relationships I had built with local businesses and tradesmen, we were open again on Wednesday (just a couple of days after the incident) and by the time you read this, it should all be as good as new.
Before that, there were members of staff in to help with the clean-up, some roping their families in as additional labour. This was after they spent ages contacting all of the people who had booked so there were no wasted journeys, and disappointment was kept to a minimum.
So I feel grateful and lucky, not lucky that we had a fire, or that we lost a large amount of revenue on a weekend that was full of Mother’s Day bookings … but very lucky that nobody was hurt or that the building wasn’t reduced to a heap of smoking rubble … and extremely grateful to the staff and tradesmen who did an amazing job helping to sort everything out.
Until Next Time,
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down