Tales from the Restaurant

Tales from the Restaurant
Where you'll find all the restaurant dirt you'll ever need.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Allergies and the Chain of Blame

Are you allergic to something?

You may very well be. If you go out to a restaurant, you have an established routine, something which keeps you alive when someone else is preparing and cooking your food.

As a server, you tend to hate people with allergies. You hear three or four people throughout the course of a twelve-hour work day profess their allergies (or slight intolerances) to nuts, beans, legumes, shellfish, bacteria, animals, pieces of vegetables, concepts, sour cream derivatives, colors, actors who resemble Jude Law, and of course, specific types of pollen.

White people (who are the only kinds of people who have these debilitating susceptibilities) will often require you to take these human weaknesses up to the management level. From there, the kitchen will require you to make everyone else blatantly aware of every aspect of nutrition that may render the subject vulnerable, including those who may be within twenty-four feet of the entree in question.

A co-worker of mine was charged with the task of identifying the correct dessert for a lactose-intolerant guest who wanted an ice cream substitute for dessert. The menu (and the ordering terminal with which the server placed the order) assured her that the appropriate dessert was the "Lemon Sorbet" (which was understood to be dairy free) instead of the 'Raspberry Sherbet' (which was understood to be GLUTEN FREE ((BUT UTTERLY POISONOUS TO DAIRY-FREE GUESTS)).

Needless to say, the guest had an allergic reaction...

...to the idiot nature of the restaurant's hierarchy.

After cleansing the men's bathroom of gratuitous vomit, it became much clearer to the management of the restaurant that the menu's shortcomings had placed a lower-level employee at the mercy of whomever had legal right to file suit.

The flagrant error in the menu's edititation had escaped the awareness of the sous-chef, despite him being consulted before the dessert was served by the waiter who had brought the dessert to the table. The restaurant's management had glazed the order over after specific adaptation requested through the server's own mouth until the patron began 'calling RALPH on the porcelain phone.'

..yet the waiter was still reprimanded.

A $50 dollar entree was complimented on her guest's check (resulting in a significantly lower and possibly omitted gratuity) because of the allergic reaction. A week later, her 'mistake' was showcased for the restaurant to see as a part of the restaurant's 'focus' for the week, further embarrassing her in the eyes of her peers.

She had done her job perfectly until the her superiors gave a green light to a deadly dessert, but what could any one of them have done to repair this error before she was set up to take the fall?

I would respond, but I am 'allergic' to personal responsibility.

Someone else should have fixed this beforehand.

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