“Is everything OK?”
“No sir, the pico de gallo is a little old.”
“Oh. Is it mushy?”
“Yeah, it’s actually a lot mushy.”
And off he went. All I could do was watch him carry on with his business of wiping down tables and refilling glasses of tea. What the hell?
I was having lunch at a local Tex-Mex restaurant that I enjoy. Their food is above-average, their offerings are much more interesting than the frozen and canned offerings served by the numerous $5.99 lunch special “Mexican” factories, and their prices are fair. I had ordered a side of black beans with my taco basket, and the beans come topped with pico de gallo. Tooth of the rooster, that’s the translation, pico is usually diced tomatoes, onions, cilantro with salt and pepper. As I lifted a fork of the beans to my mouth, I smelled something daunting, a strong aroma that was out of place. I took a small taste and as I rolled the beans and pico around, I took a good look at the tomatoes. They were covered in a pasty gray film. I discreetly used my napkin to remove said tomatoes then looked for a staff member, and waited.
The young man that had delivered my food walked past and that’s when the conversation ensued. And he shrugged his shoulders and carried on.
Why? Was he not used to someone complaining about the pico or the food? Had he not been trained in problem solving? Did he not care?
I was trying to be discreet because there were other people seated near me and I didn’t need to blurt out, “Hey pal, this is spoiled!” As I said, I like this place and I’ve had many enjoyable meals there.
A minute later my waitress walked past so I smiled and asked for a hand.
“This pico de gallo is very old.”
“Oh, sorry about that.” And she kept on about her business.
Oh come on people! Make it right. Ask the customer, “how can I make you happy?” There was twenty five cents worth of pico de gallo on my $9.00 lunch and these two kids are about to blow this restaurant’s reputation. For Pete’s sake, will someone make a decision here.
A minute later she walked past and I stopped her.
“I was trying to be discreet earlier because this pico de gallo is spoiled. Please throw it out and bring me some fresh black beans with fresh pico de gallo.”
Well that got her attention. She quickly returned with what I asked for. And I also had my next blog post.
It doesn’t matter what business you’re in, your front line people should be trained in conflict management and problem solving. If your promises are not being delivered, find out why, ask questions, and train your people to take care of business, right now. Give them permission to solve the problem right then and there. We don’t need to go get the manager, we can solve this right now. How can I make you happy? Let me go get you some fresh beans and pico and how about a cold Thomas Creek to go with those beans?
Don’t let a twenty five cent serving of anything derail years of hard work.
Now that that’s off my chest, how may I help you?