We rather missed out on the Boris Bounce/Rishi Restorer deal, as it happens. We’ve been taken out for meals by family who did take advantage of the offer, but we haven’t had the discount ourselves. Today was a case in point. We decided to have lunch out but, it not being Monday to Wednesday, it wasn’t eligible. That was okay, we have always aimed to support local food suppliers by lunching out every week and we don’t care about the discount as a result.
The only disadvantage of the lovely local farm restaurant that we like is that the staff aren’t necessarily prompt to take one’s order. Being reluctant to waste paper, they chalk up the menu on a board (sandwich board, hahaha) rather than print on disposable sheets. But in the past, they haven’t instantly brought you the board so, when someone comes to take your order and you say you haven’t seen the menu yet, they fetch it and then disappear.
Twenty minutes, last time. At least the drinks were brought, but actually it was a bit much.
This time, we’d learned. We went and checked the board and chose what we wanted. They’ve learned too, because when I smiled at the waiter he came straight over for our order, which was a delicious Baron Bigod brie and leek quiche with a leafy salad, tomato salad and new potatoes. So delicious was it all that we nearly cleared our plates, only leaving a potato or two. Anyway, all was lovely and tasty and, afterwards, we went to the farm shop and bought stuff there and then I had a longish conversation with Pippa, who I’ve become friends with since chatting to online in the Friday Takeaway days. Tim probably wondered why I was taking so long, but we were being sociable. That’s a treat nowadays.
I’m getting to the point of this post, as I do in the end. We chatted over dinner and I warned Tim every time when I was digressing, but always returned to my main point afterwards. I think it’s quite hard to keep up with me unless your wits are sharp, but Tim copes without demur, which says a lot for him.
My point, in case you need a pointer – heh – is that I’m especially aware of restaurant service. My parents owned and ran a sizeable hotel in the late 1940s to late 1950s and my mother, at any rate, was always on the alert for the business end of the catering trade. She used, unobtrusively, to turn over a side plate to check the make of the china, check out the cutlery and always drank from the ‘wrong’ side of a cup unless she was really sure of the establishment. She’d been there, she knew.
I’m not so much into those details as in the service end. I notice the awareness of the waiting staff. I see when a waiter is so busy that he or she is ‘wearing blinkers’ and doesn’t ‘see’ the people trying to catch his/her eye – and when a walk through the restaurant, though focussed primarily on one table, also takes in every other with sideways glances, so that anyone whose plate or glass is empty, or who’s hoping to put in an order is noticed and the order in which they need attention.
I would have been brilliant in that environment. C’est mon metier. But thank goodness I never went there. Too much stress and too much Customer Is Always Right syndrome, even when Customer clearly isn’t.
Pippa said that Rebecca and Ian, who own the farm, haven’t taken a day off for months. Everyone else has had their holidays but they literally haven’t left the farm for more than a month, not to the Yagnub to Norwich road at the end of the farm track. We agreed that they must. Now that things are less stressful (Lord knows about the future but there’s a respite right now), they should switch off sometimes. You’re fine, until you aren’t. And, the longer you’ve gone without rest, the harder you hit the wall. Lots of us have done it and, if we’re wise, we avoid it in future.