Operational Consultancy? A 5* F*** Up?

When a 5 Star Hotel serves up an operational disaster in its restaurant, it doesn't go down well with our Creative Director


Michelle Allmark-West
Concept Director

I experienced a communication breakdown on a massive scale this week, leaving both myself and the restaurant manager speechless.

The following took place in a 5* hotel in park lane. I was dining with a friend for lunch and we chose the 3 course set menu. The menu only comprised of a total of nine dishes, 3 starters, 3 mains and 3 desserts – not a lot can go wrong surely?

We asked our waitress what a dish was on the dessert menu she had no idea at all, ‘would you mind asking someone for us’ we asked, off she went and we never heard about the dessert again – no biggy. She did return however to tell us that the soup starter had now changed from sweet potato to tomato and our main dish would now change from tempura vegetables with giant couscous and spicy yoghurt to what we could understand as rocket and asparagus pasta – so our meal had now changed apart from my salad starter but we were cool with that as the pasta dish sounded good.

Starters came, soup good and my salad lovely, however I failed to find the cucumber and other ingredients as described on the menu, no probs all tasted good. Looking forward to our pasta dish we were a bit confused when our main arrived, which was a plate of just tempura vegetables sans the spicy yoghurt and giant couscous as described on the menu. We tried to communicate to our waitress that this was neither the dish we had been promised or the dish on the menu – no good, she did not understand a word.

We spoke to the manager who apologised (a lot) and said she would sort out our promised pasta dish. So we waited, finally it arrived, just about to dig in I felt a massive feeling of Déjà vu it was the same dish as my starter! Again we spoke to the manager and she said she just couldn’t understand what was happening and would I like the starter I should have been given for my main. Time was not on our side at this point so I ate the same dish again – luckily it still tasted good and tasted even better knowing I would not be paying for anything including the dessert that the manager was able to describe to us which tasted fab.

How could a restaurant in a 5* hotel get it so wrong? What a loss in revenue, we were not the only people having trouble, I noticed a couple there for afternoon tea were having to chat to the manager too. Imagine how much revenue is lost through lack of communication, training and teamwork. Worth investing in I reckon!

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