Bustling in Big Sky
Gauging the holiday influx via pizza production
While many companies are inclined to shut down for the holidays due to paying a premium for workers: from time-and-a-half to double-time or overtime wages, according to a study by the Society of Human Resource Management, Big Sky and resort communities in general operate differently.
Big Sky was bustling for what is kindly called “the busy holiday week” or sometimes called “Hell week” by some service industry professionals. Regardless of the moniker, the time between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day kept Big Sky locals busy: shops and restaurants were open for business and bursting at the seams. What is also interesting about this year is that over a week into the new year, there is no sign of the rush slowing down.
Three friends who meet out west every winter: Bill Coates and Dave Poillucci from New Jersey and Miles Pietsch from Idaho, could hardly get a table in Big Sky one week after the holiday. One night they were squeezed into a corner of Lotus Pad, which reported higher numbers than last year. The following night they resorted to pizza to-go from Ousel & Spur. Co-owner of the restaurant, Jen Ketteridge, said they were busy, but prepared for it.
“We’re used to it,” Ousel & Spur co-owner Josh Kone said. “All we are is tired now. What I’ve learned this year is we can do about 135 pounds of dough a night to make pizza.”
Angel Zamora, general manager at Montana Supply said staff and management spent a few months preparing for the busy week. This year was nuts, she said, but the timing was a little different than last year, possibly because of Christmas falling on Monday/Tuesday. Last Christmas Eve was the busiest day as far as numbers of people.
“Our highest numbers [for sales] this year was Christmas Eve and New Year’s was the busiest human-wise. Compass Café had a line,” said Zamora. “I also think it helped that they stayed open [later]. They ran out of food.”
Martin Spagat, bartender at Alberto’s Mexican Cuisine said numbers were about the same as last year with a steady 30-minute wait for tables the duration of the week. “We haven’t stopped yet,” he said. “We’re still getting crushed.”
Van Burton, owner of Milkies Pizza & Pub said this year felt pretty typical. A busy night outside of the holiday week equals about 40-45 pizzas. The week around the holidays nearly doubles that number.
“There were a couple nights around Christmas that we did nearly 100 pizzas a night,” he said.