Wednesday, 22 October 2008

The "Tricky" customer episode...

This week in the restaurant there was so much going on it is hard to know what to tell you about. As well as the table of coeliacs we also had a table of ‘Rowdy customers’, they were rugby players - I think you didn’t see them as nothing went wrong. They only seem to be showing the bad bits of service on TV. The rugby players really liked there free recipes but did take the bow off before taking it home (I think the bow was a bit too feminine for them!)
The coeliacs did have a good night and were pleased to have so much choice and were pleased that I understood what coeliac meant but it was a real shame the wrong ‘amuse-bouche’ was taken to them - I should have made sure all the waiting staff understood what a coeliac was! our time is so tight to get everything done we didn’t always get to do all the training we wanted to and as we didn’t know what our special tables were going to be before they arrived I didn’t talk about celiac disease with staff. We knew we wouldn't get the vegetarians and vegan because I am a vegetarian and Russell cooks for me all the time so it wouldn't be very fair to give us something we are that used to.
When it came to staff training what we did always manage to do was tastings. Russell had dishes ready for staff to try before service so they knew what we were selling, we also did wine tasting with the food to start to train staff on matching wines. It was very difficult to do much of this due to the time constraints and the fact we were only open Fri and Sat for service.
It said on TV that it took me twenty minutes to take their order but it really wasn’t as bad as it looked - it was not a case of walking out to them then back to the kitchen and back again and again…I went through the whole menu with them and explained every dish which is why it took so long. I did check everything they asked just to make sure - I would rather do that than them being given the wrong food.
That bit when we are cherry picking was filmed on the Saturday when we would rather have been getting ready for service. The cherries were delicious though! We did not give the cocktails away we sold them, they were delicious and very popular. We made the most money again this week!
We are all in the challenge, which to be honest I think was always going to be the case as it would have been rubbish for anyone to miss the challenge this week as it was excellent. The Chefs go to Le Manoir while the FOH go to Peid a terre.


Gina said...

As per my previous comment, it is educational to discover just how much story-trimming is going on to deliver someone else's idea of what we want to watch.

It would be fascinating to know more about the budgets and who manages to make the most profit in a week: it's a shame that we don't learn more about that in the programme.

The challenge sounds like a fabulous opportunity for both the chefs and FOH: nobody would want to miss the experience of visiting either of those, far less working there and (seemingly) have some tuition.

Looking forward to Thursday's programme.

Anne said...

Hi Michelle

I was one of the coeliacs at the Cheerful Soul that night and as I recall it did take at least 20 mins to take our order. Though reassuring in your understanding of the gluten-free diet, in practical terms it all seemed to go wrong. After telling us that there was plenty on the menu that we could eat, you took our order. Then, it transpired that the goats cheese starter was not suitable as it was covered in breadcrumbs. We were offered whitebait as an alternative but after another trip to the kitchen and we learned that this too was not gluten-free.

If you know in advance that the challenge is going to be customers on special diets, then you should have been better prepared.

Surely it would not have been too difficult to come up with an amuse bouche that we could have eaten rather than for three of us to sit and watch the one non-coeliac tuck into his pea brochette.

At one point we were offered take-away brownies by a waitress. When asked whether they were gluten-free she went back to the kitchen to check (NOT) but it was clear she had no idea what gluten was.

Anonymous said...

I know that coeliacs have a really awful time BUT Michelle was trying her best. I think in this situation, there is a duty of responsibility from yourselves too, to inform and to understand that they are trying to make your evening good! :)

sugarpuff said...

i can't believe ann's attitude , you could see michelle went out of her way to be attentive and helpful to her table, nothing was to much trouble, whats wrong with double checking the food is ok for you, obviously there are going to be things you can't eat on the menu.. would that not be the case in any good retaurant?! i think she handled the situation very well but there are no pleasing some people!!