Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Dine out with an open mind.

We own a couple of restaurants and I suppose try to offer something other restaurants do not.
To survive and prosper, our cuisine needs to be a little different, meet a ‘wow’ factor and perhaps by virtue of supplying a menu, not offer too many over the top surprises. People hopefully come to us to enjoy what we offer and enjoy the experience. For example,you can go to a thousand places to get poached eggs but how many have poached eggs with truffle oil, poached cauliflower and ‘soldiers’ from house made ciabatta style bread?
Not many me thinks.
You may just want the generic poached eggs on white toast and you would be right in going to one of the thousand cafes who cook that style of egg. But, you would not be within your rights to come to our place and demand poached eggs your way, when we offer a different experience.
In reverse, it would be like going to a cheap and cheerful and demanding caviar - totally inappropriate.
Last weekend we had a gentleman who ordered a seafood risotto. This dish was mentioned on our ‘A’ board and was detailed within the menu.
Our ‘A’ board and menu version consisted of cured salmon, crayfish bisque and schnapper.
This customer was unhappy because he had expected something else; perhaps from one of the thousand cafes he frequented. He even demanded that he see the chef to tell him that he was concerned ‘others’ would be offended by the errant risotto because it didn’t contain what he thought it should.
Well, the chef [me] did confront the customer and tried to explain all of the above but the customer was well past listening because he was concentrating on himself and his opinions as well as even going to the absurd by justifying his position by exclaiming he was in the hospitality industry.
I feel sorry for this person because he misses the fun of dining out. He wanted the same seafood risotto as he had had at the thousand.
But when you come to our place expect to get the product we offer. It may be the same or it may be different but it is ours and we serve it our way. Hopefully it is always good.
In this way we remain differentiated from the thousand.
Telling me how to do my job is irritating and unfortunately I did tell him. Semi-politely.