If I ever hit the wall that every writer faces on a regular basis I just go out for a meal. Whether breakfast, lunch or dinner, if I pay attention to the staff and surroundings I can usually spot something to write about. Now this definitely makes it difficult to deal with when dining out for a social occasion. Or, when I am having a business meeting the distraction of missteps is daunting to my guests. However, I can’t help but notice everything going on around me. It always makes for interesting topics. Most of the time, though, I question what possesses restaurant owners, managers, or staff to commit the sins they commit.
Take the incident that occurred at Flavor, an American Bistro, in
My dining partner, a business associate and I both decided to meet to discuss a possible business contract. I chose the eatery because the food is consistent, the atmosphere lively and the room is spacious as are the tables.
After looking at the menu my guest ordered her meal and I ordered a bowl of the Potato Leek Soup. Although I have never had it at Flavors, it is one of my favorite. My guest’s meal was served and the waitress walked away. Moments later food began arriving at other tables and eventually our waitress informed me the chef had 86’d the soup but had substituted it with Lentil soup, another of my favorites. I agreed to a bowl of that.
After fifteen minutes passed, a cup of lukewarm soup was delivered to the table. It had the characteristics of vegetable, the beans of Navy, and the broth of something between weak tea and boiled chicken. I said nothing, until the manager on duty; Gregg Thompson was near my table. I politely called him over and explained that this was rather disappointing. I also explained that I had a few years in the restaurant business. He apologized and told me the chef had made the soup on the fly because they had run out of the daily soup. I was astonished at his attitude. However, I did offer a few tips to young Gregg and I will share them. By the way, the reason I am such an expert on daily soup creation, I did it once. It didn’t work then, wither.
Here are ten tips on what to do if you 86 a menu item.
1). Make sure you always have enough of an entr?e item to get through the day part.
2). If you have to 86 an item, make sure your chef, or whoever is running the kitchen give advance warning by letting the staff know how many orders are left.
3). Chef’s should always have a back up plan. If they are running out of something as simple as soup, there should be a second daily soup on the stove before the shift begins.
4). If you find out the item was 86’d do not, under any circumstances bring any food to the table until you have replaced the order that isn’t available,
5). If food was delivered on the fly and the item the customer ordered not available let the customer know immediately.
6). When suggesting another item, suggest something that is ready, quick and available.
7). If everything else fails and the table is in complete chaos, send the manager over immediately. Escalate the problem to the powers that be.
8). Make sure your manager has been trained in problem solving and that he does more than apologize for the chef’s inefficiencies.
9). Do not make excuses. Customers only want to get what they came in for – an enjoyable time.
10). If you completely mess up a table do more than just take the entr?e or soup off the menu. In most cases, a mistake doesn’t ruin a portion of someone’s meal, it ruins all of it and the flavor of the incident leaves a very bad taste in one’s mouth.