A series of anecdotes with or without any connection to the running of a restaurant.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Tis a season to be well organised...

Party bookings are good and we expect these next three weeks to fly over.
No time to breathe or think. It's a question of how many turkeys, ducks, steaks, sea bass, puddings, etc...

Over the years we have become very well organised and everything is usually like clockwork.
Most parties order their meals beforehand from a wide choice of starters, main-courses and desserts. Many organisers choose to settle their bills well in advance so that they can enjoy their party in peace. (I'm sure that quite a few businesses would kill for such a set-up.)

We make it easy on ourselves too with a simple system whereby diners are labelled by their position on the table. And this avoids things like: "Who's the turkey?"
We came up with it after a visit to this posh hotel, The Sharrow Bay on Lake Ullswater in 1986.

The waiter came to the table and without asking, he placed the correct dishes in front of us. This happened over the three courses so I surmised that it couldn't possibly have been guesswork.
And after a great deal of cogitation, we came up with a simple plan. If we placed an "L" next to the lady's order and a "G" next to the gentleman's then we would know who was having what.
It couldn't have been easier!
Within days we extended that bright idea to larger parties with the numbering system.
Being served the correct dish without being asked what they have ordered never ceases to amaze our customers.

If any of you have friends in the catering business, please feel free to pass this on to them.
Call it a Christmas present, after all...

"Tis the season to be jolly"...

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Blogger Mary said...

We used to do this when I was a waitress. We started at a certain point on the table and went around clockwise.

5/12/07 1:52 PM  
Blogger la bellina mammina said...

In Singapore that's how it's done - Mary's way:-)

5/12/07 2:47 PM  
Blogger homo escapeons said...

Bucking Frilliant!

The clip of that poor bastard scraping his car windows is happening right outside my window.

It's a good thing that the "most wonderful time of the year" happens when it is cold enough to freeze the nutz off of a robot.

My stomach is growling just thinking about all of the yummy meals that you will be serving for the next couple of weeks...MMMMMM.

5/12/07 3:06 PM  
Blogger Cream said...

Wow, Mary and Bella. I am impressed. I really thought I had invented the wheel.
We are definitely well behind you here.

HE, from my friends in Montreal, I know the temperature is dipping quite low in Canada.
Yes, it also happens to be the time when outdoor lights have to be hung!!!

5/12/07 7:43 PM  
Blogger Merisi said...

I wished I had know that system when my kids were smaller and used to mistake their mom's kitchen for a diner. ;-)

No ice here, couldn't be nicer. Any warmer, and I'd have to dig for other clothes.

5/12/07 8:50 PM  
Blogger andrea said...

Brilliant. And thanks for reminding me how the stress we mere mortals feel at this time of year doubles for those in any sector of the service industry. You are heroes.

6/12/07 12:38 AM  
Blogger kj said...

this is the time of year i miss my short lived career as a restaurant owner. enjoy the exhilerating buzz, cream. and the profits that follow close behind.


6/12/07 2:51 AM  
Blogger Hayden said...

I figure that a restaurant that can correctly serve the courses to the folks that ordered them is always a cut above - regardless of how they manage it!

Nothing worse than being in the middle of a great, lively conversation and have it all screatch to a halt with "who has the broiled salmon?"

6/12/07 6:54 AM  
Blogger la bellina mammina said...

LOL! There are some things we can teach you;-)

6/12/07 8:05 AM  
Blogger Daphne Wayne-Bough said...

But I hope you still shout "who wants stuffing?" at Christmas lunch! In Poland the car lived in the garage, otherwise we'd never have got to work. But one morning we couldn't get out because the front gate was frozen shut!

6/12/07 8:48 AM  
Blogger Cream said...

Merisi, all kids are the same. They do think that mom is their personal chef.
No snow here, just drizzle and greyness.

Andrea, it is quite stressful and thank you for your concern.
Heroes? Naaa....

KJ, it is indeed a great buzz but I just hope the profits counterbalance the stress and background work which starts in July.

6/12/07 1:12 PM  
Blogger Cream said...

Hayden, it happens all the time. Not many restaurants use this simple yet customer-friendly system.
It does enrage me when a server comes to the table, looks at the dish he/she is carrying and then shout the name.

Daphnee, with our open-minded Northern ladies, I think a waiter asking that question would get many offers. Just last week I was asked by a birthday party whether I was the stripper!!
I promised to show them my wallpaper scraper later.
Weatherwise we've been lucky so far.

6/12/07 1:18 PM  
Blogger Cream said...

And what else can you teach us, Bella?

6/12/07 1:19 PM  
Blogger la bellina mammina said...

Ha ha! Ask, and you shall receive...

6/12/07 1:38 PM  
Blogger Queenie said...

Laugh I almost peed myself that is so funny. I don't know what they do at my sons place but I will pass on your advice.

Now I have a big favour to ask of you. Would you please (begging now), vote for my local forest "SHERWOOD", the details are on my blog, its very close to my home & heart, thank you. Understand if you don't want to.

6/12/07 4:03 PM  
Blogger Akelamalu said...

I'm always impressed when this happens in a restaurant, even though I know how they do it. It's called great service, so well done for adopting the idea in your places.

PS I've posted the second Christmas Carols Quiz today.

6/12/07 4:18 PM  
Blogger Crabtree said...

Les puddings au beurre de cognac !

La trêve de Noël appelée aussis la trêve des confiseurs ,Tu as parfaitement raison "Tis the season to be jolly"
Je n'aurai pas la joie de gratouiller mon carrosse pour cause, de la neige à Royan c'est extrêmement rare comme dans le Sahara !
J'ai eu ce bonheur lorsque je vivais sur Paris où je faisais des figures non imposées des acrobaties plus que douteuses provoquant des rires et applaudissements pour des prouesses involontaires ...

Bravos pour l'organisation !

6/12/07 4:31 PM  
Blogger Cream said...

Bella, the mind boggles!
I'm stumped. Can't think of anything...

Q, I have voted. Please let me know if your son thinks it's a good idea.

Akela, it doesn't much to give good service but people can tell the difference and remember.
I will have to check the quiz out.

Et il y a aussi des puddings à la sauce au Cognac, Crabtree.
C'est une sauce blanche douce avec de la vanille, crème et Cognac. Un délice, mais un seule fois par an!
Vous avez de la chance de ne pas passer les dix premières minutes de la journée à décaper votre voiture.

6/12/07 6:11 PM  
Blogger Guyana-Gyal said...

Bright and sunny here again, Cream. It'd better stay this way, we're having guests over tomorrow evening and on Sunday, going for lunch at friends who have big [very large] swimming pool.

7/12/07 2:29 PM  
Blogger Cream said...

Gigi, I think the forecast is rain in Guyana on Sunday.
But if you're swimming, doesn't matter if you get wet.
I'm planning a sunny getaway for mid-Jan...

7/12/07 3:19 PM  
Blogger d. chedwick bryant said...

This is a great blog--nice music too!

7/12/07 6:18 PM  
Blogger Cream said...

Thanks for visiting and your comment, Chedwick.

7/12/07 7:21 PM  
Blogger PI said...

Much better than the waitress in ' the Valiant Soldier' last night who yelled 'Duck?' and we all ducked:)

12/12/07 5:03 PM  
Blogger Cream said...


12/12/07 7:23 PM  
Blogger Christine said...

I love that commercial!

15/12/07 4:14 PM  

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