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BUSINESS OPERATIONS UPDATE: Connie Nyholm & Kerrigan Smith

 April, 2021


While we are excited to begin to reopen VIR to the public, we must remind people that, just as it was before Covid, access into VIR is granted through a process and is not just open access. You are either a registered Participant, a declared guest of that Participant, a ticket holder or you have purchased a Facility Access ticket. Everyone that enters the Facility will have to sign a general liability waiver and also now a Covid waiver. If you have any questions or concerns then please feel free to call us or check our website to learn what restrictions or changes may be in place before making the trip out to see us.

As we all know, COVID-19 has given this world a lot of change. For some of us, there has been change that we are forced to embrace…change requiring the use of technology, change correcting bad financial habits, and change that we may have never had reason to consider or have been too lazy or scared to consider before. 

The Oak Tree Tavern and Pagoda business, as well as karting, were business models based on the success of Participants at the track showing up, without us being able to forecast how many people would come and when. Most weekend events that business model worked ok, most weekdays it did not. We were staffing and preparing food and karts for customers who chose not to come, and that put VIR as a whole in financial jeopardy. One good thing about COVID-19; it made us acutely aware that this model has to change going forward. 

We had to make some big changes and we had to make them quickly or risk losing that employee, business or offering that our customers expect. The trick was how to not make a knee jerk reaction based on the bad times, but instead to make sensible changes for VIR that would keep the company on solid footing and serve our customers as we go back into better times. 

As we went through 2020, it became increasingly evident that our greatest risk was in F&B as losses started to pick up speed threatening to sink the whole ship. Taylor Hospitality, our F&B management company, offered to step up and take over as our sole caterer and F&B supplier, using their experience and buying power with vendors to right this ship. 

For Taylor Hospitality to make that change, VIR had to be willing to experiment with schedules and menus at the Pagoda and Oak Tree Tavern to see what would work and what would not. To keep these offerings alive, we would have to change our culture as we have known it for the last 20 years. We had to look at what it costs to open up for breakfast, lunch and dinner versus what was the demand. 

Taylor Hospitality was proactive and offered solutions like rotating limited menus, limited hours based off demand, directly contacting each Renter to customize the experience, offering take out service through a QR code, adding pizza at the Pagoda for dinner and to proactively focus on catering to the customer’s, renter’s and their Participants’ needs. 

We need you to be proactive with us as well and be part of the solution. We need to hear from you if you plan to eat with us. If the demand is there through QR codes and reservations, then we will be there for the demand. If the demand isn’t there, we can’t afford to open on speculation. 

Sorry for such a lengthy note but we hope that, by being complete and transparent in our reasoning, you will get on board with the changes we need to make and support your renters to help them help us to provide services, products, and hours that you will use. 

Thank you!