When I was younger, my dad and his siblings ran a restaurant. It wasn’t anything fancy — a step above fast food but not fine dining. When it was busy on week-ends, my sister and I would help out with serving tables, packing delivery orders, and basic kitchen tasks.
The other day, while I was eating lunch at work, a random memory emerged for contemplation. It’s one of those things that seem insignificant, but has nonetheless been locked in my memory for some unknown reason.
This memory was just one particular moment — an instruction I had received. I think it was one of my uncles who said this, but it could have been my auntie. But the source of this wisdom is not exactly as important as the wisdom itself. (I’m sure they all shared the same wisdom anyway.)
Early one evening, preparing for the rush of orders, I was helping to spoon out dipping sauces into those little take-away containers so that they were ready to go once the food was ready. I wasn’t really sure how full to make each container, but I was told that I should fill each little container quite generously. However, if it was for a dine-in customer (for whom the sauce would be served in a little dish), I can be a bit more sparing with the sauce.
The logic was that there’s no real opportunity for a take-away customer to request more sauce (well, I guess they could, but that seems rather absurd because the sauce wouldn’t be worth the delivery cost). On the other hand, if a customer is dining-in, they can easily ask for more sauce, and it’s no trouble at all to refill it for them.
This simple logic was easily absorbed and understood by my young mind, but until the other day, I hadn’t thought about it having any application beyond serving sauces. The thing that I was marvelling at was that this highlights the universal “customer first” mentality, while also reconciling it with the “minimise costs and wastage for the business” mentality. It’s sort of like a lesson in creating win-win situations (or at least a good compromise for all involved).
Ok, I’m not actually sure that this will have any great impact on any part of my life, but it’s one of those things that I felt needed to be written down somewhere. Mostly I’m just impressed with the simplicity of the lesson.