You're only as good as the last meal you served
Sad, but true
A family of 4 waiting for their food at our Fulham restaurant on a very busy evening,
England V Denmark on the TV screen outside and every table full.
The parents are getting agitated, the food is taking ages to arrive.
The kitchen is under pressure, we are one pasta chef down and of course, they have ordered pasta.
The dishes arrive late and the man sends his food back as he said it was tepid it's quickly remade, not good after waiting so long, my heart sinks. It feels like a battlefield, if you have worked in hospitality you will know the feeling. At this point despite the waiter apologising and explaining, they are clearly not happy.
I see this unfolding from inside the restaurant and go out and talk to them when they have finished their meal. The man's dish has been removed from the bill and so has the service charge, I apologise several times.
The woman explains that they have been customers for over 20 years and had moved away from Fulham but were looking forward to the evening and meal very much.
Now, this is the important bit!
The woman who seemed more chilled than the man then said
"Based on this evenings experience I really don't think we'll be coming back"
Now that hit me hard and I paused for a second to digest the blow.
To lighten the moment I then asked the children how was their pasta. "It was amazing, the best meatballs ever"
Thank goodness I thought, everyone smiled.
Ok, so my next question was,
"Have you always had a good experience with us over all these years"?
"Oh yes," she replied, "really happy, always a family favourite."
The man agreed and also seemed less upset at this point.
I rest my case.
You can provide great food and service for years and yet only be remembered for the last meal you served.
So the purpose of this post is to say
We don't want sympathy, we know we are lucky to be one of the few places that have survived this devastating virus.
But what we do want is some understanding and for our customers to consider the following,
Months of closures, staff shortages, supply shortages and much more...
We are tired, our team is tired, everyone needs a break but can't take it.
Customers expectations are high due to months of staying in but we simply can't work miracles even though we feel like we do every day!
Will we see them again? who knows