Friday, June 5, 2009

LOST and Found: Management LOST!

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I had dinner at a restaurant that I really wasn’t too jazzed about going. The reviews were not very good and didn't seem that they had a signature dish that everyone was talking about. I usually take a new restaurant reviews with a grain of salt, but this company has 3 restaurants. I went with a couple of people who really wanted to go, still to this day I don’t know why.

We arrived to an empty restaurant, they spent a lot of money on the interior and the menu was really hard to figure out. Not that it was hard to read, it just didn’t make much sense and I didn’t get the feeling that our server felt confident in knowing the menu either. We ordered the sampler platter to try a few of the appetizers, everything was really salty. When the server asked how everything was, I mentioned that the potatoes were really salty. He told me that they’re supposed to be like that. OK, I like salt, but even for me to say this is salty. Our next couple of dishes came and were uneventful. I guess the server felt bad, so he had the kitchen make another order of the potatoes for us. They were still SALTY!

I saw that the manager had his cell phone stuck to his ear almost the entire time that we were there, STRIKE 1. If this was my restaurant, customers would not see any employee with their cell phones visible or on them during service hours. I overheard another server try to explain the menu to the table across from us and I would have done a better job reading the DMV handbook to them. I hate it when servers don’t know the menu or can make suggestions, STRIKE 2. After we somewhat finished the salty sampler platter and the below average dishes, we were pretty much done eating here. Since we only ate half of what we ordered, the server didn’t ask us if anything was wrong? I guess he didn’t want to hear it from me anymore, STRIKE 3.

I wrote a letter to the President of this company and told him about our evening at his restaurant. I mentioned that the food didn’t match this very nice restaurant setting, the menu didn't make sense, and the servers needed more training. I was offering my restaurant consulting services since the whole evening was a complete mess in my opinion. Maybe the manager was on the phone looking for another job? Yesterday I received a reply email. I guess my letter got passed around the executive staff and the CFO replied back to me. The CFO? No wonder things are all mixed up there if the CFO is replying to customers, does the Operations person handle the books? The reply was that the management was trying to workout the issues on their own and would contact me if my services are needed. My services were needed the day you signed the lease for this location! It’s like watching a dog chase it’s tail…

Attention Lost and Found: Management Lost!

I didn’t mention the name of this restaurant, as I might still have a chance to consult. I probably won't hear back from them since I damaged their egos. But stranger things have happened.

Epilogue: On the way home, we stopped at In-N-Out. Guess what? The French Fried Potatoes weren’t salty…

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