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Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Reality Check

I'm beginning to worry that this blog is becoming a bit one dimensional,the thing is the majority of customers are actually very nice people and are beautifully behaved,but whichever way you dress it up, the story of a satisfied customer isn't exactly riveting reading:
'A very nice couple came for dinner,thoroughly enjoyed their meal and left us a generous tip'.
Its just not happening is it??
So,continuing synchronistically with the usual theme, last Tuesday we welcomed yet another difficult diner.
It was only as the plates were cleared that we became aware of a problem.
'The food was OK but I didn't get my Dijon mustard'
I was a tad confused by this statement.
'Did you request Dijon??'I say
'Yes I asked for French mustard but they brought me Mr Colmans English impersonation of a French mustard not actual Dijon'(glaring whilst continuing to dip the remnant chips into the pot of French mustard)..*gag*
Mr Colman the English imposter

'Just to let you know,had you asked for Dijon mustard we could have brought some for you...'I say...lamely.
'Its OK it doesn't matter,anyway its too late now'
As I walk away to deposit said plates in the kitchen I just catch the following:
'I've got some more feedback for her as well if she bothers to come back'
On my return to the table this:
'Whilst your Merlot is not off 'per se',the amount of sediment present in the glass,especially with a Chilean wine,is indicative that its been sitting on your shelf for some time..'
This statement is inherently wrong.Either the wine was off or it wasn't.By his own admission it wasn't actually off so what in fact was the complaint??
Resisting my initial overwhelming urge to say why don't you just STFU,

Tourettes on toast

(Chef is increasingly concerned I'm beginning to show signs of late onset Tourettes),instead I say :
'Oh,I'm very surprised to hear that,given that the Merlot is one of our best selling wines by the glass therefore the turnover of that particular wine is in fact very healthy,however if you were dissatisfied with the wine I would have been more than happy to provide you with an alternative' Big smile.
As I walked away I just caught the aside:
'Well if that's your attitude..'
We need to get tougher with people,if someone makes a completely unfounded accusation within earshot of other customers surely we are entitled to defend our reputation? I also always worry that it inspires further complaints.People do tend to have a flock instinct.
Needless to say,there was no gratuity.
I can already sense the tone of another furiously composed mobile Tripadvisor entry,truly Im constantly amazed by the high standard of peoples manual dexterity these days.
As I cleared the empty glasses from the table an unexpected incident made my day.

Reader,I've been waiting for months for something like this to happen,something mildly amusing but in keeping with the tone of m'blog.
*Klaxon* nice customer alert.
The gent on the table sited directly next to the complainer gestured me over.
'May we have one of those crappy bottles of Merlot that you've had sitting on the shelf for months please,if we may??'
Me faith in human natured restored and the unpleasant earlier exchanges hastily forgotten me feet barely touched the ground for the remainder of the lunchtime and the warm glow lastly fairly through to evening service...
Crappy Merlot

Now listen up you lot. This is important.We need to have a wee reality check.
One of you made a very sweet girl cry last week.This is completely unacceptable.
Ive been spending most of my time in the kitchen this week covering holiday leave.
On Thursday night we were very busy.
During the mayhem a couple of 'walk-ins' chanced by.
As checks were backed up in the kitchen we told the the very sweet waitress to let the couple know that they could eat but we were very busy and there would be a wait,but we would feed them as soon as we could.
They were served drinks and took a seat in the bar.
A short while later they called the waitress in question over and asked to order,at which point she came and checked with us in the kitchen to see how long the wait would be.
The couple were duly informed that we had a table x 15 to plate up ,followed by a 7,a couple of 3's and 2's.
All booked.
At this point the wife commenced an aggressive and relentless verbal onslaught culminating in the phrase
 'It will be a long time before we return here again'
The poor girl was reduced to tears.
Two things worry me  about this statement, they are the words 'long time' which invokes the proposition of the actual possibility that she might consider returning *at some point*and I DON'T KNOW WHAT THE FARK SHE LOOKS LIKE.
Why do people think that food can magically be produced on demand no matter how many people are waiting?
Do they think that we have a boatload of food cooked off ready to serve just on the off chance that the whole of the Royal Battalion the Scots dragoon guards might drop by for an impromptu supper?
Oddly, we don't cook anything until you actually order it,our aim is to serve you decent food and to make a PROFIT.
Here is the most surprising fact.
We don't actually want to inconvenience you or make you wait around until you get annoyed and fractious,because surprisingly we want your cash..

Helpful hint:The point of a bookings system is to stagger bookings,therefore avoiding delays,which is beneficial for both the kitchen and customer,so if having to wait a while is a major inconvenience why not ring ahead and book a time instead of taking out your frustrations on some poor unsuspecting girl who both deserves better and isn't paid enough to field your abusive and uncalled for verbal diarrhoea.

Over and out.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Excuse me whilst I get the noose ready..

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...


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