Change: An Absolute
Friday, June 23, 2017
Written by Gerry Nooney
There are few absolutes in life. Change is one of them. Change is good, change is bad, change is easy, or change is hard: we've all muttered some variation of this mantra depending on our point of view on the topic. As a rule, I like change. Mix things up and find out if you're right or wrong. If you ask my wife, she will tell you I avoid change. My personal preferences in our domestic life are fine-tuned to a tee. Why would I upset what I've worked so long at perfecting? I like drinking my morning coffee in this chair, facing this way with this radio station on. Change is good and change is bad.
At times change can be fast (Walt's at the Glen House) or change can be slow (Rumble's Kitchen). Both work for me. I often use Beckhard's Change Equation to help me through the change process. Part of the formula is about having a "vision for the future" and asking what's the "first step"? Let's focus on how these pertain to our new restaurant, Rumble's Kitchen, which has replaced Timbers Restaurant.
Our other mountain outlets provide a good look into what our guests want: the fun atmosphere of the Wunderbar, the quick service and casual menu at Castlerock Pub, or the fresh, quality Vermont ingredients of Walt's. Rumble's Kitchen now has a solid foundation based on what you, the guest, want. You want a fun atmosphere, fresh ingredients and efficient service. This is the future of Rumble's Kitchen. All of our decisions are based off of those three ideals: fun, fresh and efficient.
Next, we looked at what's the first step in moving us towards our goal. We all know the first step is the hardest. The first step was bringing Margo Nugent and her unstoppable energy into the role of General Manager. She is the Pied Piper of Sugarbush and has a way of pulling the best out of everyone. You'll recognize Margo from the Wunderbar, though she also worked as our Food and Beverage Administrator for a number of years. With a clear focus, she took steps to improve efficiencies with a few simple remodeling ideas. Then came the fun, not just for guests, but for employees as well. You'll notice that her nametag says "Champion of All Games". You'll find board games and outdoor games for children of all ages, as well as games she plays with staff. They serve a dual purpose of helping staff improve themselves while also making work fun. Chef Patrick embraced the first step, as well, and put together one of the best casual menus I've seen. He still has quality Vermont ingredients in spades, but with an eye on efficiency, as well. I love his chickpea fries. He and Margo are a great combination; Pat's a little more country; Margo's a bit more rock n' roll.
Long story short, we've been working on changing up the old Timbers model for over two years. We kept asking the questions, doing the research and working on the problems. The restaurant industry is notoriously fickle; you're a champion one day and on the chopping block the next. Rumble's Kitchen should be able to stand the test of time by following its vision of a fun atmosphere, fresh ingredients and efficient service. Top all that off with one of the most beautiful locations in Vermont and we have a place you and your family can visit again and again.
Local Food Culture by Julia
The move from Hawaii - where I spent the last year and a half of my life - to Warren, Vermont, - where I live and work now - elicits the same response from every person I talk to: "What craziness made you leave a tropical island and come here?" Like Gerry says, change is an absolute in life - it's good to mix things up. Surfboards become snowboards, salt water becomes river water, and island aloha becomes Green Mountain aloha. More importantly, as a self-described foodie and food blogger, fresh poke and pineapple become maple syrup, Vermont brews, local cheese and seasonal produce.
Part of what makes Vermont so unique is the abundance of local product, our neighbors who are farmers, and gardeners, and cheese-mongers, and the pride that so many take in keeping it local. I look forward to exploring and sharing with you the excitement and pride that Sugarbush takes in supporting local farmers and products in our kitchens and restaurants. Stay tuned for our next Food For Thought, when I begin to explore our local food industry.