The public decided this week to go where no restaurant customer or employee has gone before, proving once again there’s no limit to the complications that can be thrown management’s way. If only that ingenuity could be channeled in a positive direction.
But, as you’ll see, it most definitely was not.
Employee nightmare of the week #1: ‘Did we hire movers?’
Even the keenest staff member may not make the connection between a patron who’s clanking as he leaves and the disappearance of a place setting. And why would a teammate even suspect the woman entering the ladies’ room would exit with a swiped roll of toilet paper hidden in her purse?
But the theft of 12 chairs from Avenue Kitchen in Glen Mills, Pa., sounds more noticeable than a polka-dotted elephant dancing through the place. It happened in broad daylight, on Mother’s Day, and was caught on video.
In defense of the staff: The chairs were outside the restaurant’s back door, where they’d been stashed to be used as the place filled up. The place expected a Mother’s Day rush, and had rented the extra seats to handle the crowd.
By the time the staff needed those additional accommodations, the chairs were gone. The state police have asked for the public’s help in locating them.
You can witness the theft here.
Employee nightmare of the week #2: ‘Tell me you didn’t press Send’
Some observers contend the blunder acknowledged by Krispy Kreme this week was actually one of the most brilliant marketing ploys the industry has seen this year. According to the official story, someone working for the doughnut chain’s United Kingdom operations inadvertently sent an internal memo about a new product to thousands of consumers instead of store managers.
The communication revealed that a new premium doughnut made with Nutella, the chocolate and hazelnut spread, was about to be introduced. It explained that the new item would be offered for a limited times in pop-up type displays.
Forty-five minutes after the memo was broadcast, Krispy Kreme U.K. sent a follow-up request that it be ignored and apologized for the error.
But it apparently did no harm. The Brit media agree that the doughnut, priced at the equivalent of $2.80 in U.S. dollars, has been a sensation.
Customer nightmare of the week: ‘You smiling at me?’
What better way to celebrate Mom on her special day than by turning her Mother’s Day meal into a saloon brawl right out of a 1940s western? That, according to the videos, was exactly what happened at Kiku, a Japanese restaurant in East Point, Ga., on Sunday. The flashpoint: A waiter smiled at a patron after smoothing over a dispute about the check.
The guest, who has not yet been identified nor apprehended, apparently took the smile as a dash of condescension and punched the server. The rest of the staff (minus the chef, who kept cooking) raced to their co-worker’s defense, prompting four other people at the offended customer’s table to counterattack.
Soon, tables, chairs, food and carts were flying—causing $5,000 worth of damage, according to Kiku. The party of five at the center of the melee slipped out and ran. The police are still trying to locate them.
This week's head-spinning restaurant moments included a suggestion in court that the "b" in IHOb stood for "bad news for Applebee's." That's just one of the long-shot gambles that came to light as oddsmakers considered the likelihood of restaurants charging into sports betting and who'll win the chain vs. independent bout.