At the restaurant

I sit at a restaurant. The waiter comes over and I order a steak with baked potato on the side. The waiter answers “Good choice Sir, I’ll be right back”. About two hours later the waiter shows up again with a plate in his hand and says: “As ordered: your fine chicken with rice”. He puts the plate in front of me and vanishes. I look at the plate and see a garden salat with tomatoes and no dressing at all.

I once was a waiter. And I know, if the kitchen struggles, if you are polite and charming, you could compensate and serve the not up to expectation dish even without upsetting the customer. Sometimes you even get extra tip for being open and friendly even if the kitchen screwed up completely. I quit that job because it was annoying to serve dishes not up to customer expectations. I wanted to become a chef and do better.

So, I also once was a chef. And I know that sometimes the steak is not up to expectations. The guest ordered medium rare and it was probably medium well or even well done and you have so many orders that you put it out there like this because the time to do it again would probably annoy the guest even more. So you depend on the waiter and with the right person you probably get through with it. I quit this job because at one point I got so overworked that I didn’t get even half of the dishes right any more. That was a real low point in my life.

Now I’m a guest. And I ordered steak. I now send him back multiple times because I did not want salad or even chicken. But I never got steak nor did the waiter seem to remember that I ordered steak. He simply tells me something as it was most obvious to expect that and then serves something completely different. I simply have no clue what the chef is doing or why the waiter behaves that way.

I already asked the waiter to get the chef and we talked quite a while about what went wrong and how it could be done. The chef was very understanding and excused himself for all that salad without giving me any idea why he did that anyway. The waiter just looked seemingly annoyed without saying anything. We repeated the exercise. I ordered steak, the waiter announced chicken and I got salad.

This is the moment I have no clue what to do any more. If this was really a story about a restaurant and not my career in telecommunications, I would probably cook for myself at home by now. But that’s not how this industry works.

By the way, I know colleagues which will complain and talk to the supervisor and then to the manager and the chef and the argument gets really heated until they are ordered to stay away or even worse. I know colleagues which will simply eat that salat without saying anything over and over again. And I even know colleagues which did not even bother to stay until the dish was served but will tell everyone that this was the best fish they every had in their life.