What the hell, I hear you utter, is that picture all about? The quite obvious grey prawns being the alarming feature. These raw offerings were presented to me at one of the chain restaurants by a nonchalant waiter.
Two obvious questions – who could possibly let these go out of the kitchen like this and what on earth was the waiter thinking in NOT saying anything to the cook?
Worse was yet to come. The answer from the kitchen was startling. No point in giving me another dish of these prawns as that was the way the dish was supposed to look like. I see. Conniptions. Exit left.
Luckily that wasn’t quite the reaction from head office when I sent them the photo. You can imagine the suits running for the hills or the valium, can’t you?
What this scenario demonstrated, however, is how lack of control and supervision in a chain scenario can easily lead to a loss of bums on seats and ultimately, closure.
It’s all very well having two or three outlets: you have much more control over the day to day happenings. Once this has gone, however, the all important asset that is ‘ process’ is in grave danger of disappearing and your troubles can begin in earnest.
Anyone in the feeding business will know that it takes five seconds to ruin a dish. The concentration required to focus on the job in hand is everything in the competitive world of food and when you take a huge risk by expanding too quickly (as the venture capitalists are realising) you expose a brand to potential ruin.
Look at Jamie’s, Carluccio’s, Byron burgers and over fifty percent of chains losing money hand over fist.
From what my customers tell me, the main reason they come to The Lounge Cafe in Wembley comes as a result of going the extra mile and creating a welcoming and warm environment.
Going off piste where the menu is concerned and treating each and every person with the same care and courtesy is at the top of my list of our priorities.
We know about sixty five percent of our customers by their first name, we listen to their wants and needs and communicate with them regularly.
Social media helps us do this effectively and to this end we have now reached the number one spot on trip advisor out of 18 thousand establishments.
I think folk are fed up of over priced, uninspiring food and quite aghast at the prices of alcohol. Location might start out as a winner, but it’s not a sure fire winner if you’re complacent and willing to use the formula created by the bean counters of this world who know little about minding people’s bellies well.