Alive and Well

A couple weeks ago I ran into a good buddy at the YMCA. He told me that he was making plans for an alternative Mother’s Day brunch because he had heard that Green Springs Inn was closed. The next day, we served a Mother’s Day buffet to a packed house.

This appears to be an example of how serial communications, i.e. rumors, can distort messages. It’s true that we have changed our familiar (for nearly 30 years) Green Springs Inn business model. It’s not true that we have closed our restaurant. Please tell your friends.

What’s different? Now, when you sit down, no waitperson will appear carrying a legal-size menu crammed with options, front and back. Instead, a pleasant member of our staff will invite you to order at the counter. The menus are short and sweet. We will bring your meal to your table.

What hasn’t changed is the quality of the food. Most of your favorite items, like the classic breakfast, the kale salad and the deluxe burger with the house-made bun, are still rolling out. The pie case is full and the craft beer selection continues to be robust. As far as ridiculously tempting baked items like maple bacon bars are concerned, we have actually expanded our repertoire.

Why the new format? The old one was so comfortable, like an old flannel shirt. Well, sometimes that old flannel shirt just falls apart. If the weather takes a turn for the worse, that can be fatal.

Summer smoke seasons over the past couple of years were part of the problem. Although we rarely had enough smoke at our elevation to bother us, lots of visitors stayed away from Southern Oregon during what should have been our busiest weeks. The cash that we would have squirreled away to survive the winter never flowed in.

But the truth is we were also struggling to manage growth. Our sales volume had been increasing 15 percent or more annually since we completed our first cabins in 2008. Wrangling the resulting operation was burning out mom and pop, not to mention son. In response, we added some salaried positions that turned out to generate very little incremental growth or increased efficiency. So between the smoke and the increased overhead, we ended up with less revenue and more expense. At Harvard Business School, they call this the delta of death.

Fortunately there is a happy ending. Spring has come. People still love our food. We have regained financial harmony. So come up and rediscover paradise. Find a place to sit outside. Breathe the fresh air, bask in the warm afternoon sunshine, listen to the whispering trees, bite that famous burger.

Our there in the big world, the wheels of change are still grinding. But, for now, forget about the fix-it list. Let’s choose bliss.