I love to travel around to different places. Travelling fills me with about as much joy as good food and good wine does, and travelling the vast and amazing country we call home is a favourite of mine. But what I find interesting is the standard of food and service in country areas of Australia can leave a lot to be desired. “Good old country service”… When it’s good, it’s good, but when it’s poor it can be very poor.
“Good old country service” can be an excuse for receiving poor service, and sub-par food when you visit restaurants and cafes in regional towns of Australia. A lot do it well and offer a consistent product and great country service, however there are also a lot of venues that don't. Their service is slow, staff are untrained, and they serve overpriced food that leaves you underwhelmed. It seems that it’s always been somewhat acceptable to have a lower standard of service in country towns. I don't really know why, but sometimes I think it’s used as an excuse that… well it’s the country and sometimes things just move slower around here.
But my question to you is; is that good enough? To pay more in country establishments and receive products that don’t stack up with inconsistent service?
People are more mobile than ever these days, travelling and working from wherever they can. High standards are expected in city establishments, so why should country dining be any different?
Is it time for some country areas to pull their socks up, to be more innovative, and to think creatively about what they put on their plates and how they present their venues.
Country Hospitality is great and unique, but it should not be at the expense of professionalism and quality of produce. Many country locations have a raft of incredible produce on their doorsteps, but sadly they often don’t source locally.
There are many great eating establishments in country towns that are lovingly run by passionate, hardworking owners and managers that go above and beyond to meet your needs, but more often than not it’s hit or miss. It could be the local pub that is still doing the same schnitzel, burger, and steak menu for the last 15years, or the local Chinese restaurant, but often they come up short and we are conditioned to expect that.
With the availability of produce and the ability to connect more easily than ever before, should there be a regional dining revolution? Lots of modern diners make a decision to dine from online recommendations on Instagram, Facebook and Trip Advisor, so can country pubs and restaurants afford to get bad reviews? Of course they can’t, just like their city counterparts they need to evolve and be part of the change in the game. They need to be creative, innovative, and always looking at ways to up their game. Good Old country service can no longer be the excuse it used to be.
What do you think.
Love to hear your thoughts.
Kate Bickford MD & Owner - BK AGENCY: