When the World brings you soup and there’s a fly in it

 

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I’m in the process of writing-well, actually, finishing a book about restaurant service entitled, Getting to Wow! First Class Restaurant Service

So, why wouldn’t my blog be the same title as my book?  Good question.  For one, I think it’s catchy-“Soupfly”.  But beyond that, since my book is about Service-and First Class Restaurant Service- I wanted a title that would be memorable.  Of course, I could call my blog-“Excellent Restaurant Service”.  But then you’d be compelled to remember-wait, was it “Restaurant Service Excellence”? or “Excellence in Restaurant Service”? or… you get the idea.

So… -yep, Soupfly, it is.  Yes, I’ve made it a compound noun.   That’s right-Soupfly.  No, it’s not in the dictionary.  But someday it may be.

Now to be forthright-I hate when people say-“to be honest with you”.  Well, what have you been until now?  Less than honest?  But I digest.  Digress.

Actually, in all my years of working in the service industry-I have never seen a fly in someone’s soup, ever.   We’ve all heard Alannis Morisette sing of “a black fly in your Chardonnay”.   And that may make more sense and be more realistic, perhaps, but it certainly is not  quick and easy to type.  Nor is it short and sweet and a great name for a blog.   A BLACK FLY IN YOUR CHARDONNAY.  More likely, it would be a fruitfly in your Chardonnay.  But this is my blog and I like my title so, hence it is now and ever shall be called SOUPFLY.  Unless I decide to change it.

Aside from all the above drivel, (or is it drivvel?), let’s be serious for a moment.  The concept of Soupfly is actually the antithesis of Excellent Restaurant Service and it presents an opportunity to respond in a way that allows you to provide exceptional customer service.  Now, granted, I am currently not working as a server today but if I were, I would not necessarily hope for but I am quite certain that I would welcome a Soupfly.  For such an event is rich with possibilities.

So, let’s consider: If there were a fly in my guest’s soup, how would I respond?

First, I believe it’s important to clarify-Is the fly floating visibly on top of the soup or does our diner discover it as he spoons a bit and is about to bring it to his mouth?

If indeed, the fly is floating on top of the soup as if it were enjoying a mid-afternoon summer day on an inflatable raft, sunning itself and enjoying an adult beverage while in the soup, then shame on me, the server, for not paying closer attention while picking up said bowl.  In this case the lesson of the Soupfly is: we must pay attention to details.  If you as a server walk into the kitchen, chef says order up and you grab the bowl of soup and don’t really look at it, inspect it before you leave the kitchen, then I would say you’re not really a very conscientious server.

There is a principle that states “You can’t expect what you don’t inspect.’”  You must be aware of and know what you are bringing to your guest.  Is it what they ordered?  Is it prepared correctly?-Any requested modifications, ie. sauce on the side, no bacon etc., done as ordered?  Do not blame the kitchen or your chef if a Soupfly is just floating comfortably on the surface of the soup and you don’t notice it until after you’ve served it to your guest.  If it’s visible, then you my friend are responsible.  You may have not placed it there but it’s on you if you bring it to your guest.

Next scenario-You serve your guest the soup, no visible Soupfly.  You’ve carefully perused the surface of the soup, nothing visible but the soup itself and steam coming off of it.  A few moments later, however, your guest flags you over to witness that indeed there is a fly in their soup, or a hair in their pasta or a fingernail in their gumbo or even a band-aid in their chili.

{Side note-in my opinion, none of the above are very catchy blog titles-“gumbo fingernail”, “pasta hair”,  etc.}

The difference, however, is that though a Soupfly would most likely be visible on top of soup, a hair in the pasta or the other two examples would not be.  So, if said foreign object is immersed, hidden, folded in or tossed together and not visible in the food, then of course you cannot be held responsible for unknowingly bringing it to your guest.  At this point, it really is irrelevant how it got there, the only thing that matters is how will you respond?

I have seen servers actually stand there and argue with the guest as to whether the foreign object came from the kitchen or whether it was planted there.  They say things like, “Sir, there was no fly in your soup when I brought it out to you. I know your type, always trying to get something for free.  Well, I’m not buying it.”

Others might say something to the effect of, “Look sir, I didn’t make your soup, I can’t control what goes on back in that kitchen. I’m just a server.  Do you want me to get you something else?”

Others will completely shirk any responsibility and simply say, “Do you want to talk to a manager?”

So, back to the title-“Soupfly” Soupfly brings out in a person whatever is already intrinsically there.  If I served a guest soup and they told me there was a Soupfly in it,  my response would be very different from any of the above.  Rather, I would first apologize profusely.  Second, I would ensure them that this Has Never Happened Before.  And if it were now clearly visible on the surface of the soup, I would say, “Shame on me.  I thought I looked.   It is absolutely my fault and I am so very sorry that I missed it.   We are going to remedy this situation immediately.”

Now, if what you ordered was your absolute favorite, say, an amazing bouillabaisse-if you are like most people, you probably don’t want a new, freshly made, clean bowl of the same sans  the Soupfly.  Just the sight of the same dish still conjures up repulsive memories and an emotional gut response that certainly doesn’t entice one to attempt it again.  You’ve lost your appetite (and your faith in humanity} Well, maybe not the latter.  If it were me  all I could think of doing is cringeing and saying

“G-r-r-o-s-s.”

 

WITH THAT I WELCOME YOU TO MY BLOG

To Be Continued…

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