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Some days at the restaurant, things just don’t go right. It could be anything. There could be a rush of people sitting at the same time, I have to pick up the slack of a coworker or the internet will just not connect to the Ipad to make a reservation. On those days, it may seem like the universe is testing me in a way that I am TOTALLY prepared for, but why do things have to fall apart now?!? For me, working in this industry always provides me with countless stories of patron idiocy, catastrophic food mix ups and endless dirty dishes. The worst days are when I have to deal with customers who are just not having as good a time as my pretend-to-care smile wants them to have. Luckily, I have my generation’s reliance on the media to help me out of just these types of situation. This source of wisdom? TV. Specifically my favorite TV show, Bones.

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For all of you who are fans, enough said. For those who have lightly dabbled or never been introduced to the character of Bones, let me give you the briefest of synopsis. Bones, or Temperance Brennen, is astoundingly amazing. Period. She is the protagonist of a murder-crime TV series that is just finishing up its 9th season. Not only is she a genius forensic anthropologist, but her hyper-logical demeanor and literal perspective are deeply satisfying. She also is extremely knowledgeable, an obvious expert in her (and many other) field(s) as well as a caring friend who also happens to have a black belt. Clearly, a woman you don’t want to mess with. Her two female co-stars Angela and Cam are also savvy, super smart and sassy women who just add more woman power to a heavily woman empowered show. Angela is an artist who is also a computer programmer, who brings a creative and humanist eye to this science-centric cast of characters. Cam is the Director of the Jeffersonian Lab, where all the squints (or scientists) work. She is a strong, smart individual who is a brilliant leader who knows how to bring out the strengths in her team. She is also a woman of color, which makes Bones not only fem-fatale but also a show that advocates racial equality in a highly specialized atmosphere.

You go ladies!

- you go ladies!!

While I might believe a post or even an entire blog devoted to the awesomeness that is Bones is entirely reasonable, I will rein in my enthusiasm and talk about how watching Bones not only makes me ever so much smarter, but has come in useful in dealing with problems in my daily life.

Here are some common customer scenarios in which Bones logic have gotten me out of a few close calls.

Sushi or Sashimi... do you know the difference?

-Sushi or Sashimi… do you know the difference?*

1. Disgruntled customer due to food mix up
Mistakes happen in a restaurant, servers as well as the customers will either order wrong or say the wrong item while ordering. For example, a common misunderstanding at a sushi restaurant is the order for a sushi platter and a sashimi platter. They sound similar but there is a world of difference that for sushi people is a BIG deal. In this case, Bones would approach the problem with the first order of business is to assess the cause of confusion (our restaurant metaphor for cause of death). If the customer is to blame, through either questioning the other table mates or examining the sushi menu on which their order is listed, then that is a clear case in which the customer must be brought to justice and forced to pay. However, if upon investigation the culprit turns out to be a mistake by the server, then the conviction is clear, and so is your part in paying for that dish.

Evidence!

2. Customer turns away perfectly good food because they don’t like it
This happens and it sucks because not only is food wasted, but on a busy night, replacing that food with something else can backup the kitchen. If a customer complains that “they just can’t eat this”, this referring to their delicious food, then the following steps must ensue. First, question the suspect, I mean customer. What exactly is wrong with the food? Is there something we can do better to improve it? What else can we get you? Follow up with an autopsy. Is the customer being vindictive or is there truth behind their claim? Find out via sight, smell, touch and in some cases taste what exactly is wrong. If there is indeed something wrong with the food, than you can explain to the proper authorities (manager or chef) the problem and remedy it. If there is nothing wrong, exchange rude comments about how annoying their customer is with other servers and then get a new dish for said customer.

3.  And my favorite. The food never reaches the table.
It’s kinda awesome when you are sitting for dinner and the server puts on your table an amazing smelling dish…that you totally didn’t order and you get the sudden realization upon taking the first bite that it’s free. Well, as great as it is for the customer, it’s never free for the restaurant, because it means somewhere, probably as close as the table next to you, there is someone who DID pay for that food and is very hungry and probably a bit peeved that they are not eating it. And also somewhere close by is a server who is just as peeved because out of no where, they need to locate a missing food item and accept that it has been killed. In this case, Bones logic dictates the following protocol. Examine the trajectory of the food; is there a ticket or check that may show the table destination of the food? Next, question bystanders. Did servers or chefs see the food and where it may have gone? If this doesn’t work, create a simulation based on the evidence and determine the most logical outcome, that the food has been killed (or eaten). Quickly make a duplicate so that it can be given to the proper table. Careful observation of this food item can lead to the murderer, or the person who brought the food to the wrong table.

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Obviously, the information and crime skills accrued from Bones have been invaluable in my everyday life. Your life too can be changed!  Check out this awesome show and became a crime fighter in your own field.  As for me, watch out restaurant world, a new food-centric anthropologist is on the scene!

*the pic is of sushi or nigiri.  Sashimi means fish without rice.