I've eavesdropped some particularly entertaining conversations this week.
Ive written before about the confusion over menus which regularly occurs.
Last Tuesday lunchtime as a couple in their forties were browsing our menus,I was just within earshot.
I overheard the wife pondering what came with the home baked ham and Pease pudding,then similarly the rump steak and fried onions.As they were reading from the sandwich menu I was mildly puzzled.I wondered what else they expected it to come with,though customers usually expect everything to come with something else thrown in gratis.
We used to have a bar snacks menu which included items such as Northumbria Rarebit toast. I'm afraid we sort of shot ourselves in the foot with that one as diners began to take up tables dining out at lunch-time for 1.95 each..sigh..then complaining that they were disappointed that 'it didn't come with anything' It was when they started to ask for a glass of tap water to accompany( can I have a slice of lemon in that please,and some ice just to give it a little 'something'..but obviously I wont be paying for it even though you buy the lemon,pay the member of staff to serve and wash the glass oh and don't forget the water its NOT ACTUALLY free,ever heard of a water meter and rates???) that we finally knocked that one on the head...
This is what the blackboard said:
Home baked ham with Pease pudding
Rump steak,fried onions Cos lettuce
Lake District Cheddar & Chutney
Local duck egg mayo
Locally cured bacon,lettuce and tomato
Chips and Aioli
I was just about to make my way over to explain that the sandwiches came with a salad garnish when I witnessed the following:
Husband:'I wonder if they do any sandwiches?'
Wife:'Oh yes they do,look at the top there it says 'sarnies',Ill just go and ask what fillings they have'
Husband:'Hang on its OK, they've got chips and ravioli look,at the bottom there, that's what I'm going to have'
Wife:'Yes me too...'
Sometimes you just have to lead people by the hand..
Last night a gentleman of Southern origin approached the bar.
'Excuse me,do you have any rums?'
Barmaid(helpfully):'Yes we have Lambs Navy and Bacardi'
The gent stood there momentarily mouth agape and in obvious confusion, no doubt wondering what the Hell she was on about.
At the time I was standing behind the bar pouring drinks for a table in the restaurant,I was immediately aware of the faux pas.
I managed to splutter out 'he's looking for a room' before exiting left to cellar in order to completely lose all semblance of composure.
Its a Northern thing you see we tend to accentuate the 'oooo' whereas people from other parts might read a 'buk' or ask for a 'rum'....
At the side of the bar next to the food till we have a blackboard which tells people where the days meats have originated,thus:
Now as a rule diners are VERY specific about what they want to order,going into great detail regarding the accompaniments to each dish,often interchanging menu items,making up their own accompaniments.Recently we had a diner who ordered a meal and was very insistent that no ingredient on the plate must come into contact with another ingredient(even though she was going to eat them all),needless to say the sauce to be served separately in a boat..
Similarly people can be very specific about which table they sit at to eat their meal,not being able to sit at the first choice of table can often result in a defamatory review on Tripadvisor.
Recently a couple came into the bar for lunch,they had been waiting outside for us to open for at least ten minutes.On gaining entry the wife frantically tried out at least six tables before other diners were able to sit down,then saying to the husband 'this is the one'.
The husband then asked to book the table as they were going for a walk and would return for lunch in 40 minutes time.We reserved the table for them,on their return they consumed one bowl of soup and a portion of chips...
On Thursday evening a chap who had reserved a large table(10 people) for Sunday lunch came in to 'view' which table he would be seated at on the Sunday.
Now as a pub if you're not fully booked on a Sunday lunchtime you must be doing something seriously wrong.So as a rule we don't allocate tables until the last minute in order to maximise available table space,therefore coming to view your table on a Thursday evening isn't necessarily a good plan.
However,being a big table there were only really two options,I showed him our largest table in the dining room.
'Hmmm,Im not sure that'll be big enough,some of us are quite large people...'
'Oh'I say 'well that is our largest table.. and it is for ten people...'
What the feck are we supposed to do?Buy in bigger tables for bigger people??Or start going all airline and charging for an extra seat?
Chef sighed 'I suppose they'll be wanting extra Yorkshire's,roasties and veg but paying the same price as the regular sized people..'
I made a mental note to furnish the table with the sturdiest chairs in the pub and primed meself for trouble..
Worryingly,I'm increasingly finding myself sizing up the larger diners that enter the pub and willing them towards the sturdy chairs.
Perhaps its time to purchase a new batch,some are quite creaky....its only a question of time before the inevitable happens..
In light of the above I was very surprised this week when a diner asked to order 'the pork'.
'Oh' I say,would you like the Pork and black pudding terrine or the pork sausages?'
'No Id like the pork,from that board there' (pointing at the meat board)
'Ah I say' smiling and nodding encouragingly 'that's our meat sourcing board, that's to let you know which local farms our meat products have been sourced from this week.So(in best schoolteacher voice) 'the pork' refers to the pork terrine and the sausages.Similarly,'the beef'denotes the origins of our steaks,rib of beef and also the beef in Brown ale'
'Ah!!!' says the diner 'I see'
Thank the Lord the penny has dropped.
Self:'So,what can I get for you?'
Diner:'I'll have'the beef' please...'
Excuse me whilst I just get the noose ready...