Fewer trees may be dying because of the shift to digitized communications, but Gmail, iPhones and the e-like haven’t spared restaurant C-suites from paper-based problems, as this week attests. Here’s a sampling of how dead-tree technology continues to vex the industry.
Employee nightmare of the week: ‘Just use a name’
One of the worst technological advances for the business has to be the ability to print a physical descriptor on a guest’s tab. The rationale is sound: When runners are distributing orders to seated guests, their hunt for the right patron can be quickened if they know what he or she looks like.
The reality, however, has been a different matter, as the Casa Mexicana restaurant in Sherwood, Ark., was reminded this week. The problem, as always, was the physical attribute chosen by the service team. The tab of a frequent customer was tagged with the shorthand descriptor “X Gordo,” or “extra fat” in Spanish.
Whatever positive impact the description had on serving time was more than offset by the publicity fallout, including a mention on Eater.com. The lapse was particularly offensive because the customer attributed her weight to a thyroid problem.
The mishap cost one member of the team his job.
Management nightmare of the week: Oops—bad edit
A James Beard Foundation award can be a powerful boon to the business of an independent restaurant. Three up-and-coming chefs in Seattle are unlikely to learn that for themselves, at least not this year, because they were inadvertently stripped off the list of nominees.
The Foundation acknowledged that Rachel Yang, Seif Chirchi and Dustin Ronspies were semifinalists for the Best Chef-Northwest, but were somehow left off the ballot that was sent last week to the elite voting group that will pick the winner.
The Foundation raced to right its wrong. Members of the selection group who had not yet cast their votes were instructed to use a replacement ballot that included the trio’s names. Balloters who had already submitted their choices were given the option of re-voting with the corrected form.
As rising stars of the Seattle dining scene, Ronspies (of Art of the Table) and Yang and Chirchi (Joule) will likely be on the Beard ballot for years to come.
Customer nightmare of the week: ‘Did you not hear me?’
An incident at a Pizza Hut in Florida ended with a smashed POS system, food and pizza boxes strewn inside the unit, and four people in jail. The flashpoint: cheese.
A customer didn’t want it on her garlic knots, but got it anyway. It remains unclear whether or not the no-cheese request was printed as part of her order. The staff accepted responsibility and refunded what Jessica Conti had paid for the knots.
But she read their attitude as being disrespectful. An argument erupted over the way the money was returned, and three acquaintances kept the conflict going by returning later in the evening to trash the place.
They and Conti were later arrested in their homes, where police say they also found drugs. And presumably, cheese-free bread products.