DIARY OF A RESTAURATEUR

There is a well-known maxim in retailing that ‘The Customer Is Always Right’. I have applied it to the best of my ability in my fifteen years or so of running my Northfield Farm Shop and Markets business.

I discovered recently that this is not necessarily the case in the restaurant trade.

Our chef had been through a very busy evening service, followed by baking almost through the night and then an early but busy lunchtime trade. We now take last lunch orders at 2-30, but then we normally kept the kitchen open until 3. At 2-55, the chef, having had no customers, shut the kitchen and went for a snooze to be on form for the evening’s work yet to come. I went through to my office to work. I had barely sat down when my phone started to ring and one of my colleagues asked me to come out to the restaurant immediately as two customers were bullying our waitress.

I went out straight away to find two people talking at my colleague, demanding to be fed. At the same time as making their demands, they were informing her, and now me, how much they disliked the improvements and renovations I had made to the building and the restaurant itself. I enquired for details of the problem and they repeated their points, claiming a right to be fed and adding that they did not like the menu either, but still wanted a meal.

Ever the mug, I considered their request, for at least a nano-second (however long that might be), and asked them politely to leave.

Outraged, they argued that I was taking an aggressive tone with them and repeated their insistence at being fed.

I would like to say that I took no pleasure in repeating my request for them to leave and explaining that I could not possibly feed someone who felt that it was appropriate behaviour to bully my colleagues while ‘dissing’ my life’s work. I would be lying though.

Last week my daughter came home for the first time from University. She granted me the honour of taking her out to lunch and we headed over to The Red Lion at Stathern. When we got there I found that we were too late for lunch. I begged, cajoled and pleaded in the neediest manner I could muster. Being incredibly kind people, they sat us down and cooked us a wonderful meal, served with smiles and skill.

I hope never to have to ‘throw’ anyone out of my restaurant again, but I do feel that eating out is something of a joint venture between the establishment and its customers. If you want a meal that is always the same, never deviating from a pre-set concept, go to KFC or MacDonald’s. If you want a little difference, something created with you in mind, come to us, or one of this area’s other great small eateries such as the Red Lion.

Our Restaurant is a great place for a party, whether private or work. We do set menus at very competitive prices.

Northfield’s Christmas Fair was on Saturday 19th November 2011. Christmas is upon us and so is our Christmas list, so get your orders in soon.

Northfield Farm Shop & Restaurant

Open for Lunch & Dinner Thurs, Fri & Sat & Sunday Lunch

www.northfieldfarm.com

jan@northfieldfarm.com

 

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Author: janmccourt

Farmer, owner of Northfield Farm known for his & its pioneering role as a champion of local food, rare breeds, Borough & Broadway Markets.

One thought on “DIARY OF A RESTAURATEUR”

  1. Well said my friend…. Give and take in daily life isn’t just determined by our social relationships with people. It sometimes extends to circumstances where we are spending money and think we deserve to be treated like kings and queens. All it takes sometimes is a little civility to get beyond an impasse, especially where services are concerned. Alas it seems that in societies the world over, civility is becoming less valued. Kudos to you and as always I wish you continued success.

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