Sunday, 16 December 2012

The Lack of Service Industry

I broke the law this weekend. Or to be more specific, the chef who cooked for me at Côte in Sloane Square broke the law. Apparently.

You see my wife and I were staying with friends nearby and had our hearts set on a breakfast of eggs benedict and other usual suspects. But after watching the last session of the test match in India, we were later out of the house than planned and arrived at a cafe on the Kings Road a whole six minutes after midday. The cafe in question was Blushes.

We sat down and were handed lunch menus. Wanting eggs and all that jazz, we asked if they were still serving brunch. Our (naturally) foreign waitress told us that they were not. What a shame, thought I. Nope, they finished serving breakfast at noon.

At this point I still had enough to be annoyed about to write this post. I found it bizarre that in a service industry, where repeat custom and tips are paramount, a little leeway over six minutes was not going to be possible to satisfy four customers who wanted to spend some money in their establishment buying brunch. Nope, there was no "I'll see if the kitchen can do that for you" that I expect and get in my local pub and anywhere that actually knows the value of proper service and that customers have very long memories that will keep them either away or keep them coming back again and again.

But the best was yet to come. You're going to love this. I nearly weed myself it was so good.

The response to my question of whether we could order instead from the breakfast menus she presumably was still in the process of clearing away…?

"It's illegal to serve from two different menus, so we cannot serve you breakfast during lunch"

Absolutely amazing. Illegal. I haven't looked it up. I already know, as do you, it is total and utter bullshit made up on the spot by a fucking moron with an issue with the truth ("Sorry, I can't be fucked to ask the chef"), no grasp of the concept of customer service and a tiny bit of power.

What did she get for her troubles? Well for starters I politely pointed out everything she was saying was pure unadulterated lies and she might want to not utter those words again lest every person in Chelsea come to realise she has the mental capacity of a slug. Then four paying customers got up, left her restaurant and spent their money 100 metres up the road. About £60 if I remember correctly. Nothing enormous, but we are in our early 30s, so in repeat custom I reckon that's going to add up over the next 50 or so years.

So the chef of the next cafe along, who were happy to serve us even after they were taking orders from their lunch menu must have broken the law. Or she was a dunce.

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