Please don't mention Tripadvisor.

There was a table of four diners booked in yesterday lunchtime.
When the order was checked on in the kitchen it was noted that only one of the four was having a starter.
This is rude on two levels:

1.our aim being to extract as much cash as possible from you in order to increase our average spend per head,thus ultimately improving our GP,we would consider it far more polite if the whole table were to partake of a starter.

2.It takes a certain type of person to sit and eat a starter whilst the rest of the table sit patiently and watch, waiting for them to finish.

Most diners placed in this position will cancel when they realise they are the only taker.
When the starter was cleared,news filtered back to the kitchen that Table 3 would like a 'break' before the main courses were sent,thus extending the remaining threes wait for food even longer.

Well.

This always goes down well in the kitchen.
The thing is when a starter is cleared,your main course isn't going to appear immediately anyway.So any request for a break generally signifies a longer wait then the kitchen wants you to have, i.e they will have put your main course on to cook to coincide with starters being finished,factoring in a short break. Any request for a longer *rest* and all may not be as jolly as usual in the kitchen.
Increasingly,it became obvious that the lone starter fellow was in fact self appointed spokesperson for the table.
As I walked past he nodded at me and curtly pronounced 'we'll have the main courses now'.
Will you indeed.
Note the absence of a small but particularly important pleasantry.

When the bill was presented,the four were asked if everything was OK for them.
Spokespersons wife made the 'Comme Ci, Comme Ca'(sorry about the lack of a cedilla,must find out how to do that)hand movement along with that screwed up face action that signifies all is not well.

'Oh' I say 'what was the problem?'
'Well,it was OK..but don't you think its a very limited menu?'

I wanted to ask them why they'd chosen the least adventurous items on the menu ie  3 fish and chips and 1 sausage and mash,instead I went into the standard response: local ingredients,small menu, freshly cooked etc,I wont bore you with the full details, I'm sure you get the gist.
Then I say:
'Out of interest,what sort of things would you have liked to see on the menu?'

Self appointed spokespersons wife stuttered briefly before spokesperson interjected:
'That's not for us to say its for YOUR CHEF to decide'
Exactly.
'To be honest' said spokesperson 'we were very UNDERWHELMED, especially after seeing all those glowing reviews on TRIPADVISOR'

This is why Tripadvisor is wrong on so many levels.

Get a bad review and it may well put customers off.
Get a couple of good reviews and attract a clutch of new customers with expectations of a fine dining gourmet extravaganza who may well go away disappointed and disgruntled.
There is no winning.
I'm increasingly falling into Chefs viewpoint that its much better to keep a low profile.


'Don't worry' said spokesperson 'we will *try*you again..'


'Just so you know..' I say.. 'if you do visit again,the menu we have on today is representative both in quantity and style of what you may find if you visit again...'

That should do it.

I was still within earshot as they discussed the Tip.

'Well what shall we do about the tip?'
'10% is usual'
Spokesperson: 'Well I always give 5% towards service and 5% for the food.I don't have any issue at all with the service so we should leave 5%'
'OK so that's 2.50 each couple?'
Spokesperson:'Yes certainly no more than that.I mean I have been known to leave as much as 20% on occasion, if I'm very impressed, but no not today.Service yes,food,no...'
'OK 2.50 per couple it is'
'Yes that's more than generous..'

Reader,I had to restrain myself from going back over to the table and telling them that we might well live to fight another day without the flaming tip.

Instead I smiled my best winning smile and waved them out of the door before hurrying over to bash my head repeatedly against the daily changing blackboard menu..








Comments

crumbs, I am glad I don’t have to deal with the public
The Jules said…
"Excuse me! Excuse me! My sausage just isnt sausagey enough! Get me a more sausagey sausage."

Kudos on your restraint.
Tripadvisor is evil. The open-ended nature of it means it's subject to the frequently irrational and idiotic whims of the public. It amazes me how many people will book at a restaurant based on Tripadvisor reviews yet don't use that same web-browsing skills to actually check out the sodding restaurant menu online.
Adrian -the public are indeed a menace..
Jules-someone once complained their lamb was beef:0
My whole hear-exactly why did they say they were coming back?Do they think we're going to change everything based on their opinions?? Grrrr.
Dom-thats what I said,followed by SCREAM.
How frustrating, people like that are part of the reason I no longer deal with the public. I do not use trip advisor for food as there are rarely any decent reviews on there. I much refer to use blogs
Perdita said…
Tripadvisor is incredibly misleading- it encourages OTT responses from positive and negative. A quick google gives a much more balanced range of reviews.

As for the starters- I don't think it's rude if one person wants a starter. It may be that some of the party aren't as hungry (in which case they might happily wait) or conform to that old stereotype of women liking desserts/men liking starters - I'm saying this as someone married to a person with a MUCH bigger appetite than myself! I have worked with the public and have worked in restaurants, and while it would be great if everyone spent all their cash and ordered in a lovely symmetrical way, it's hardly rude not to.
Clippy Mat said…
I'd have gone all Basil Fawlty on them. Cheeky sods. And I'm referring to their snooty comments and the fact that they discussed a tip within your earshot. :D
You have the patience of the proverbial saint!

Years ago my parents used to take us kids to a small Chinese restaurant in a very rundown and unfashionable part of east London. The food was incredible, as was the English wife of the chef who ran the place and acted as MD. She was an amply built and simply terrifying woman - we ate what she told us and loved her even more for it!

One day she told us that the day before a very famous restaurant critic had been in (as the guest of another customer), had motioned the MD over and imperiously suggested that critic might be doing them a favour by writing a review.

Our forthright MD said "no thanks, we don't need that kind of business!"
Oh you poor dear. I don't think I'd have the patience to work in hospitality/catering.

I never look at tripadvisor or menumaster or such. We use word-of-mouth and a pretty good reviewer in the national (local) newspaper. But I find that having a good look at the customers when we arrive tells quite a lot. Smiles = Good
Silence (while munching) = Good
Silence with arms crossed = Bad
Vomiting = + Bad

A good look at the menu also helps.

If it's a small cafe/bistro/pub I wouldn't expect a large menu, in fact I'd be a bit worried.

Keep going.
There's only another 240 days until Christmas.
Just think of all that Turkey and office packages of drunken teenage girls demanding another Pina Colada NOW.

Have fun.
Anonymous said…
Tipping for food? Seriously, you pay for your food as per the prices on the menu and tipping is for service... What an idiot.

Glad I don't work with the general public anymore, I'm sure they are getting dafter.
Young at Heart said…
and that is why I've always been sacked from waitressing jobs...you are a saint!!
fattmatt said…
How many starters, mains and puds do you have on your menu?
Vivianne said…
LOLOL aah, I don't miss it at all. I quite like TSB's scoring system, thank goodness I've never been anywhere where I saw the last one :-)
KP-Totally agree:)

Perdita-Really?Most people ask 'are we doing starters' before ordering,very unusual for one person alone to have a starter.Perhaps rude was too strong a word,inconsiderate would have been better:)

Clippy MAtt-My middle name is Sybil..

MS-Yes I quite like to be told what to eat.Im way too indecisive:)

TSB-I like your rating structure.Christmas-thanks for that..

YAT-Im nopt a saint,im quite often very angry.

FATTMATT-6-8 starters 6-8 mains and 5 or 6 pudds plus cheese.Never less than 6 of each.Oh and a sandwich/snack menu.

Viv-I like that rating system too.Must put into practice:)
KP-Totally agree:)

Perdita-Really?Most people ask 'are we doing starters' before ordering,very unusual for one person alone to have a starter.Perhaps rude was too strong a word,inconsiderate would have been better:)

Clippy MAtt-My middle name is Sybil..

MS-Yes I quite like to be told what to eat.Im way too indecisive:)

TSB-I like your rating structure.Christmas-thanks for that..

YAT-Im nopt a saint,im quite often very angry.

FATTMATT-6-8 starters 6-8 mains and 5 or 6 pudds plus cheese.Never less than 6 of each.Oh and a sandwich/snack menu.

Viv-I like that rating system too.Must put into practice:)
OH God there I go again,repeating myself....
Wally B said…
Maybe if you extended the menu to serve Pizza and chips they might have been satisfied. Feckin eejits

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