Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Payment / Restaurants

So I go to a client last Friday with an invoice. Come by Monday morning for payment, says he. I duly go. No payment. He has forgotten. Come back tomorrow, i.e. today. I go back. Girl in the office knows nothing about it. I call him. Ok, I’ll call her and she’ll pay. He calls. She wonders if I have a copy of the invoice. No, I’d left it here on Friday. She looks. Can’t find it. Can I come back with a copy later ... . And so it goes. Another client - the invoice was left and dated 5 September. Was due to be paid 15 September. It wasn’t. The partner (there’s always a partner) hasn’t left a cheque. Payments are always made 15th of the month. So I am back in October. Did I not give you the number of the partner, says client. No. Oh. I call the partner. Let me speak to the client. And so it goes.

It isn’t that they won’t pay, but they are indicative of an organisational malaise that sometimes makes me wonder how businesses here can ever function.

And this latter case was a restaurant. According to the latest load of figures, the number of clients going to Mallorcan restaurants this season has increased by 5% over last year, with those in Alcúdia at around 10%. Cheery news indeed, except that the amount spent has dropped, something we already knew, or at least had guessed at.

The heads of the Mallorcan Restaurant Association and PIMEM (the association of small to medium-sized businesses) say that this is evidence of a better year and of the positive effect of more weekend breaks (Alcúdia incidentally had the highest number of weekend stays in September in any Spanish tourist area). It is also pointed out that restaurants in tourist areas had been hit by all-inclusives, though this type of offer is “diminishing”. Is it really? I find that hard to believe.

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