The Special Cheese Sarnie

We gazed out into the garden in the pre service calm before the storm, parasols gently fluttering in the pleasant sirroco blowing warmth into our faces,colourful blooms dancing in the sunlight.
At last a perfect summers day.
Despite this there was a feeling of impending doom.
'I think we're going to get arse-rodded today..'said the Blonde wistfully...
Which proved nothing if not an accurate prediction.
By the height of the lunchtime rush hour with only one remaining table free in the garden,a table of six eating inside decided they would 'go outside to eat their starters but would we keep their table reserved indoors in case they wanted to come back in'
This is a new phenomena.
People expecting to reserve multiple tables.
A similar thing happened on the following evening.I was approached by a lady whom Id noticed sitting near the bar area earlier on.
'Excuse me that couple have sat at MY table '(pointing at a table in the middle of the dining area)
This puzzled me somewhat,I could see that the lady's companion remained comfortably seated at the table near the bar area.
'But don't you already have a table?' I say
'Yes we're sitting at a table over there but when we have our food we want to move over to that table,I already asked the girl on the bar if that was ok and she said it was'
'Yes but at that time there was no one sitting at that table,now there is so unfortunately you wont be able to sit there'
'Cant you move them?? It is my Birthday and I WANT to sit there..'
She was very persistent,right up to my face, almost threatening.
As it happens the couple who were sitting at the table normally like to sit over near the bar area but because all tables were taken and the bar being exceptionally busy they had taken a table further away from the bar than they would normally have liked.
'I'm afraid I cant ask someone to stand just so you can enjoy the benefit of two tables'
(Obviously two tables of two = four bums on seats not two..sigh..its a no brainer isn't it?)
I might have to start wrapping up pressies for the ones who want to play musical chairs...

We've also experienced another strange phenomena recently which is occurring with increasing regularity.
People reserving tables but omitting to mention that are bringing along X amount of children.
Children are people too,they also require seats so if you don't book for them don't be disgruntled when we don't have any chairs left or a big enough table to sit you at.Unless you expect them to stand of course..
A large party experienced the repercussions of this error last Sunday when they had to sit out in the garden on a particularly blustery day after reserving a table for six then arriving with 5 additionals..

Please brace yourselves.We've had a serious complaint.Via e-mail no less:

My wife and I called in this evening for a drink and a sandwich having
> heard good things about your food.
(I bet your friends ordered a meal..)
> We ordered the Lake District cheddar and pickle sandwich each. I was told
> it came with a salad garnish.
(Please note the clue here is in the word garnish..)
> How disappointed we were when they arrived. Salad garnish consisted of a
> few very bitter leaves. No tomato, cucumber etc.
(Sorry about that,admittedly once outside the protection of the M25 one does expect to be provided with tomato,cucumber,red onion,grated carrot and perhaps even a segment of orange or two...)
> The main problem however, was the sandwich itself.
> The cheese and pickle did taste fine,(hoorah!) but the fact that the cheese was
> grated,(que??) and that it was served in a cheap white burger type bun was
> dreadful.
(oh dear,unforgivable..)
> All together it made it feel like we were in a roadside cafe, not
> somewhere we thought would provide us with a special experience.
(though the cheese and chutney sarnie is undoubtedly tasty, I'm struggling to come to terms with it being a special I missing something??..anyone??)
> Very disappointing indeed.

Here's my response:

I'm very sorry that you did not enjoy your experience.
Our sandwiches are all served with a simple salad garnish with french
dressing,our staff are advised to explain that the garnish consists of mixed
leaves only(Mache,curly endive,red chard and oak leaf lettuce).Im very sorry that
in your case this didnt happen.
The bread which we serve our sandwiches on is sourced from a Master baker,
 who delivers direct to us every morning.I can assure you this
bread is not cheap,the bun is a large Scotch Bap and not a burger bun.We did
trial two bakeries before deciding on this particular baker after canvassing
feedback from lunchtime diners.
Im not sure why the cheese being grated was a problem,this is more time
consuming for us,but we are of the opinion that this provides better
presentation than simply slicing the cheese.
We believe that at £4.50 our cheddar and chutney sandwich offers excellent
value for money,especially given the amount of good quality cheese and
homemade chutney.
We could buy cheaper but all the ingredients we use are carefully sourced,we
avoid mass produced products,most of our menu is sourced within
Northumberland as we are committed to supporting the local economy and
keeping food miles down.
Im really upset to think that you felt you were seated at a roadside cafe
this is really not the impression we strive to give,we spend a lot of time
and expense on creating what we hope is a pleasant environment both within
the pub and in the garden.
Had we known you were dissatisfied we would have been more than happy to
provide an alternative menu item which might have been more to your
taste.Perhaps a starter if you were looking for something light but a bit
more special than a simple sandwich?
If you would like to visit us again I would be happy to fulfil this offer.
Lastly I would like to thank you for taking time to write as we do
appreciate feedback from our customers,if you would like to discuss the cheese sandwich further
please dont hesitate to contact me.

I asked Chef to proof read the e-mail before I sent it.
He scratched his chin thoughtfully.
'Can I make a suggestion?'
Self:'Yes of course'
'Why don't you just send '---- off, you t---s'

That's why I'm in charge of PR and not him....

PS I haven't heard anything back yet. Perhaps my last paragraph may have got their backs up...


Matthew said…
I've gotta say, I'm a big fan of sliced cheese in a sandwich. It's a much better texture to bite into. Really. As far as I'm concerned cheese gets grated when you're going to melt it or muddle it up with mayo.

And I'm a southerner, and so automatically know better. : )

But seriously, your customers (and blogs) remain hilarious. Keep us fed with more!

UrsulaFletcher said…
Hahahahaha just love chef's comment, nearly fell off my chair laughing, think I would definitely have to have gone with his reply !!!!!
Sorry, I agree with Chef.

A nice brisk F*ck Off would have the desired effect of ensuring these tosspots never come back.

I've never heard of two tables being reserved by one party. Perhaps you should suggest that that is possible, but that they have to pay double for all the f*cking trouble they cause.

Keep sane. Keep calm. We all know you that you do the best you can.

BTW, Sorry to say this but I don't like grated cheese in a sandwich either.
But I also wouldn't order it in a country pub at lunchtime.

I do however love Scottish Baps (or Glesca Morning Rolls as we normally refer to them)
Hmm maybe we need to review the grating would certainly save time,its not a fine grate BTW ;large and sticky together,not crumbly.
TSB This was an evening not a lunchtime snack situation..
Liz said…
Having had a somewhat similar experience with a party of 4 who turned up 30 minutes early, demanded THEIR table and refused another in lieu of waiting - ultimately walking out - I too am waiting THAT e mail to arrive !!!
What a business to be in....... Oh ho when Iget THOSE contacts I so want to say Bu***r Off!!!
Liz x
fattmatt said…
Go for sliced cheese,Your passing trade might be thinking you are grating the cheese so that you can mix a very cheap cheese with the good quality one to bulk up the sandwich a bit.
I'm sure your cheese sarnies are fabulous. People get so used to those pre packed limp supermarket things they do not recognise quality when they get it. I do prefer sliced cheese though, as If I can not manage all the bread I can still nibble all the cheese up easily.
Young at Heart said…
I'm on the side of the cheese slice too....but I also think chef made a valid point!! You get A* for PR skills!!
Clippy Mat said…
anybody who emails a complaint about a bliddy cheese sarnie instead of mentioning it at the time is an idiot.
I agree with Chef.
Adam Garratt said…
This reminds me of me, I thought working in retail (which I hate)was bad enough, being spat at, physically attacked, called racist, swore at numerous times. I never thought you would get so many prime idiots in a resaurant. I'm sorry but I have to agree with the head chef I don't think I could have stopped myself, would have gone all gordon ramsay on them. pricks

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