When Things Go Wrong…. by M. Kuehn

Today a customer of mine complained rather vociferously about his meal. He’s on the spectrum and so there were no holes barred. It hurt like hell as it would do. No cook likes to think of their food being trashed by anyone. His next visit will be free and he was very pleased with this outcome.

Let me take a step back though. 99% of customers go away happy and for that I’m grateful. Rare times like this serve a purpose to boot. It stops you getting complacent, you pull your socks up and realise that you’re a bad meal away from losing a string of customers. Not that I thought it a bad meal. He just didn’t like it.

At any rate, if anyone thinks this business is romantic or great fun, you need to see a shrink. Five seconds over can ruin a dish, after all. 100% concentration is required in the kitchen and a constant happy face for your customers is vital,  however you may feel inside.

We all make mistakes and for the most part, when I’ve had good reason to complain myself, I’m usually offered, with good grace, a replacement meal or a free return visit when things go wrong.  So I was rather gobsmacked to hear a waiter tell me that the RAW PRAWNS that I had sent back, served on a taco and buried under some guacamole could not be replaced because THAT WAS THE WAY THEY COME, so said the cook. I left with evidence on the phone camera and sent the picture to head office with a few choice words attached.

I can only imagine the looks on the faces on opening the email, grey prawns blaring at ashen suits
with eyes the size of teacups and gobs wide open.

The response? An immediate investigation at the restaurant in question and swift action to make sure this could never happen again. Waiters being intimidated by the chef rather than being trained to actually make their own decisions, especially when an error that glaring has been made, would, I was assured, be a priority in eradicating such a scenario in the future.

Would I consider going back with a friend for a complimentary meal and drinks? Of course I would!
Everyone deserves a second chance and luckily for that eejit of a chef he has his superiors to thank for their prompt response and actions.

One thing for sure, if you don’t put your bloody hand up and admit that you’ve’ been a doughnut, sloppy, irresponsible (and less polite adjectives) you may as well go and work for the Tories. At least you’ll never have to say you’re sorry.

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