Man. Last night killed me.
Saturday was insane. At one point, we had so many tickets on the rail that they wouldn’t all fit. We just left them on the printer. Every so often one of the front gals would point out that a ticket on the printer had “only a slice” and to bump it to the front. It sounds easy, except that the ovens were full. Shuffling full pies, sandwiches, etc. is a crazy task just to fit a slice.
I know that I have mentioned before being only 20-seconds from crying…. well, last night, even one of our front gals said she was about to cry. That’s busy, my friends. When a 19-year-old girl is exhausted after working just three hours.
We were quoting two hours for delivery, and in-house orders were taking about 45-minutes. Everyone in the dining room was sending back props on their meals, though, which kept us pumped with enthusiasm.
argh. A problem.
“Where is number thirteen?” asked a front gal.
“Thirteen?” I asked.
“Yeah,” she replied. “They’ve been waiting for awhile.”
We searched through our tickets, and couldn’t find 13.
Here’s what happened.
The family ordered an XL pie with Sausage, Mushrooms & Black Olives, and were given #13. Then just minutes later, the same family came up and ordered another pie… with exactly the same toppings. The front gal figured they already had a number, she just used that number again when sending the order to the printer in the kitchen.
We made the pie, gave the ticket to our ovens guy (which is what you do once the item is in the oven), and moved on to the next ticket. Ovens guy figured that the second #13 ticket with exactly the same toppings was a duplicate, and he grabbed it off the make line (thinking it was already in the oven).
When the first pie was finished, sliced and sent out, its ticket was tossed into the trash. Minutes later, in the heat of the dinner rush, someone saw the second ticket and thought “Oh, that just went out!” and tossed that second ticket. It was never made.
So when front gal says that the customer is getting impatient, we have to stop, evaluate the situation, figure it out, and then smack ourselves on the forehead.
Front gal told me that they were starting to complain pretty loudly in a packed dining room, so I tore off my kitchen jacket and went out in the dining room to apologize, and to figure out how to remedy the situation.
Turns out that the table missing their pie were regular customers. They come in about once a week, usually on Sundays. I can even tell you what they order: BBQ wings and an XL or Giant Lumberjack pizza, pitcher of Coke, and sometimes a dessert. Two weeks ago, the dad had his surprise birthday at our place. He had a great time eating lunch with his family and friends, and we delivered a spumoni ice cream with a candle while I serenaded him with my voice of an angel sang Happy Birthday.
Last night, all of those happy memories were a distant memory. They were upset. I apologized, briefly let them know that we had inadvertently thrown out the second ticket, and let them know it would be about five more minutes until their second pie was out of the oven. The wife was nodding, and said that they had figured that was what had happened.
I ran back to the kitchen and yelled to get their pie out NOW. My kitchen jacket was back on, and I was back on the line in full-force.
As I was scrubbing the make line two-hours later, a front gal told me that she overheard that same table say that they would never be back.
What a bummer bummer bummer. We’ve waited on them over two-dozen times and they’ve always been happy with their food and service.
Just one mistake.
They’ll never be back.
As I went to sleep last night, it wasn’t the happy customers that I thought about. No. It wasn’t the couple that said how awesome their meals were, or how stoked the other group said that they were to try a certain gourmet pie for the first time, or how impressed the out-of-towners were with their pizza crust….
it was this table. The disappointed table.
I know that we can’t please all of the people all of the time. But I try.