As a family, we are always looking for interesting and creative ways to share our passion for wine and food with our guests. Reinventing your offering is essential to keep up with consumer trends and expectations. We’ve done it more than once and I’ve come to know that more than the expected creativity and hard work, reinvention also takes honesty and bravery.
Honesty and bravery are rooted in the fact that you must change before you really have to. You need to measure your performance without sugar-coating, you have to benchmark against competitors and there’s no place for ego during this process. You must be honest about your performance and while a complete overhaul might not be necessary, making adjustments and improvements – whether it is the actual offering, the service or the facilities – might just keep your offering relevant and profitable for longer.
But honesty is just the start of the process. To interpret your performance and then actually call the architect or the consultant, to get those quotes on the table, to convince shareholders and management, to close doors to paying guests to make the changes you envision, that takes guts. It also takes money, but of course you would have done your calculations and know that your short-term loss will result in long term success.
But there’s one emotion that can make you honest and brave beyond what you ever expected of yourself – passion. When you love your industry, get excited by a new offering and enjoy change, then taking those first steps might just be a little easier.
Twelve years ago, we introduced La Motte Redefined, a process through which a historic and traditional wine estate, took a brave step into the world of tourism. We opened a restaurant, a farm shop, museum and hiking trail and braved late hours, big expenses and out-of-our-comfort-zone challenges. Of course, I am biased, but it’s been a wonderful success that brought us global awards, brilliant visitor figures and happy guests. Of course, Covid was a spanner in the wheel of all things tourism related, but even before that we were reconsidering our offering – what we do, how we do it.
The last two years were about survival and because of that, especially, we had to be very honest and very brave. We are still amidst a major renovation process at La Motte, but I am delighted that we can introduce a first step.
Just in time for the summer season, La Motte introduces JAN Franschhoek. This cooperation with South Africa’s first Michelin-starred chef, Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen, is surely a brave step. While associating with the creative expertise of Jan Hendrik is one of the highlights of my career, the culinary experience we’re opening on 1 December will be hosted in a little historic building with a seating capacity of only 16 guests and none of the services you’ll expect when planning a fine-dining establishment. Beautiful, but brave!
Jan Hendrik says: “I remember always seeing this small house in the middle of the Franschhoek Valley lavender fields at La Motte and wondering why it was not a super exclusive little eatery. Years later and JAN Franschhoek will be opening its doors to the culinary curious.”
Jan Hendrik spent his early years in the industry in the Winelands, honing his skills and discovering the beauty of the area. “My years in the Winelands formed such a big part of my culinary and design training that I have always wanted to come back for more.” And now he is back with an exceptional new seasonal food and wine experience presented from Veepos, the charming 19th-century little house with its thick stone walls and blue gum ceiling beams, surrounded by lavender.
We’ve been fans of Jan Hendrik’s dinner table storytelling since enjoying his Michelin-starred experience in Nice and we are honoured and excited to host him and his team in the Franschhoek Valley. It’s easier to be brave when you are not alone and together with Jan, we can’t wait to offer guests a delicious once-in-a-lifetime culinary experience.
JAN Franschhoek will be open for dinner bookings on select dates from 1 December with the first stint running for six months. Visit JAN Franschhoek or contact email@example.com for more information and reservations.
Featured image credit: Andrew Dunkin