I posted a picture of a souvenir token from the Pilot House on Instagram. A drink token given out years ago by the owners to “regulars”, who are now cashing in their chips. This landmark watering hole is changing hands to the Peter Shield’s Inn team. The comments posted on the picture covered the full range from wanting no change to desiring complete change.
There seems to be a lot of change, or better yet, transition on the restaurant scene this year in Cape May. Change never comes easy when it affects both regular customers and long-term employees. Yet people survive. They adapt or they move on, which ever the case may be.
I’ve been on both sides of the desk or counter in a few business transactions. Some were easier than others to cope with. In my teens I poured my heart and soul into a delicatessen for a few years while in high school, only to see it be sold to a new operator. I survived, stayed on and moved up.
I might not be writing this today, if Trammel Crow had not purchased the Franklin Plaza Hotel from Canadian Pacific Hotels. In the mid-eighties, I was a department head at what was then the largest hotel in Philadelphia. Even though there was a lot of monogrammed silverware to throw out, I survived, stayed on and moved up. As a bonus, the newly hired General Manager hired a new tour and travel director, who brought along her assistant, who is still my wife of 28 years ( a different story.)
My journey to Cape May was in part a result of selling of my own restaurant business, where I had to be the giver of the news instead of the receiver. Some took it well others did not. Ten years later, I’m happy to report that regular customers and employees stay in touch.
“Locals” need a place where they feel they belong. One thing is certain, change will happen, we will survive, stay on and either move up with the new owner or move down the street.