Who would be a restaurateur?

Who would be a restaurateur? Everyone has very definite views on what they like and don’t like and pleasing all has to be nigh impossible. Then you have the night of horrors where everything goes wrong.

A month or two ago I watched one of the programmes where Gordon Ramsay was trying to transform an American diner which had slid downhill (metaphoricaly, not literally). He prepared a brand-new menu for them, carried out some refurbishment and they opened the doors. Faced with a new menu and new dishes, the service made a valliant start but within no time it descended into the first night to end all first nights. Complaints were coming from all tables.

I felt a bit of a flashback recently when visiting a local restaurant. It wasn’t anywhere near as desperate.

Indeed, our food was good. The service was good too, if a little slower than usual.

We got to the point where we should pay our bill and there seemed to be some sort of hold-up at the cashpoint. I then realised that the person in front was running through a roll-call of their complaints.

The Coca Cola was diet Coca Cola when it should have be “fat coke”, the service was slow and all sorts of other complaints. Just in case it was not obvious that some money off was the target, the customer started putting forward suggestions of what they wanted knocked off their bill.

After what seemed an eternity of bargaining we got to the front of the queue to find the restaurant owner looking frazzled and shell-shocked.

She apologised for the wait and explained that with holidays and staff calling in ill, she had only one chef and too few serving staff.

We couldn’t help it. We ladelled on quite heavily how our food had been good and (not being in a hurry) the service had been fine. The poor owner was in obvious need of encouragement.

Besides, we were afraid that day from hell doesn’t put them off and want it to stay around for a long time!
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