Everyone makes mistakes. And there are very bad mistakes and there are some not so bad mistakes. Take the employee who delivers a customer, an extrememly disgruntled customer, a complimentary dessert “on the house” after the woman complained about how tough her steak was. Mistake or no mistake?
How about the bartender who buys the attractive couple in the corner a complimentary drink because they had reservations for a table by the fireplace but the table was MISTAKENLY given to another couple? Mistake, or no mistake.
That’s the strange thing about making a mistake. Often, the mistake becomes the catalyst for a professional well made decision that not only solves the problem, but creates good will.
Once, a chef was under pressure, cooking a lunch for a catering event. One saucepan had two cups of strawberries with a touch of sherry simmering in preparation for a dessert. The other pan, just to left of the sauce pan was on the heat getting ready for a handful of chopped garlic. The event was in less than an hour and the travel time to the event was 20 minutes. As the chef took the handful of garlic, quickly turned slightly to his right, he released the garlic in the pan- of simmering strawberries. He froze, momentarily realizing he was a moron who had just made a big mistake. His future in the business may be doomed, he thought. The event was a make up event for an event gone bad under the previous owner´s tutelage. Now, another mistake.
Our first reaction to a mistake, especially one made by others is to get upset and think of the money lost, or the inconvenience caused by the mistake. However, if we were to pause for amoment and think about what really happened to create the mistake – we may find that the mistake was a good move.
Was the waitress that bought the dessert for the disgruntled customer wrong for breaking the company policy? No Mistake.
Was the bartender who bought the complimentary drink for the fireplace friends out of line? No Mistake.
For a company to grow, and to become better, mistakes have to be made. They are a business expense. However, mistakes are tools that can be used to teach and develop better procedures for everyone to work with.
The next time someone makes a mistake, including yourself, spend a few minutes and think about how you can turn that mistake into an accolade for the future.
When I turned and dropped the garlic into the strawberries I immediately decided the Chicken Stuffed with Brie and Wild Rice that I was preparing for the Wayzata Garden Club’s luncheon would become Chicken Stuffed with Brie and Wild Rice with a Strawberry Garlic Sauce. Marny Hensel and the garden club ladies loved it.
The recipe had a long life on many a menu. It’s the first recipe in the Cottagewood Store Mistake Cookbook.