Its not often I have a sit down restaurant lunch during the working day, however it was cold, rainy and miserable in Melbourne and the warmth of a restaurant meal appealed more than sushi or a sandwich then back to the office. When you choose an unfamiliar restaurant you don't always know the details of what the food will be like.
On this occasion the company was good so there were no real issues with the 45 minute wait for our food to arrive. It wasn't until about the 35th minute that we noticed the length of time we had been building out appetite. The size of the establishment wasn't massive, we weren't in a school food hall. The little cafe of choice sat a mere 10-12 people tops.
I chose the burger, salad and chips and Bids ordered a chicken salad. In terms of expected cooking time, it immediately screams a 10-15 minute to turn around and serve. That would be a solid effort when you consider that the local fish and chip shop on a Friday night manages to do a burger amongst 30 other orders in about 10 minutes.
As Australians continue to learn on Mastershef night after night, preparation is the key. Considering that the only "cooking" of our order as such was the chicken for the salad, the burger meat and my chips this should have been a piece of cake.
Let's just jump forward to the meal arriving, as whilst I had 45 minutes to wait for the food I am sure you don't have that time to waste on reading cooking tips when you have your 30 minutes of George, Matt and Gary to watch this evening.
Utter disappointment is the most appropriate word to describe my feelings when finally, my meal of burger, salad and crisps arrived. I had obviously misread the menu and believed I would be getting hot chips as a side. Instead I got a handful - barely half a packet of the smallest packet.The kind of small packet from one of those mega packs that Mum's get to throw in the school lunch over the course of the week.
There is no real lesson here other than read the menu properly before ordering, or just stick to the Fish n' Chip shop burgers where you know your minimum serve chips with your burger will be on its way to your stomach within 15 minutes of ordering.
And another thing....
Ordering coffee at many of Melbourne's cafe's is a key part of many people's day. Finding a barista that you like, has good banter, knows your name and your order and or course most importantly makes good coffee is high in determining if your work location is a good one or not.
So for the baristas out there that often only get one opportunity to make it happen for a customer, consider the following as a guide to winning a chance at repeat business in the future. So here are a couple of early tips - there will no doubt be more to come.
1. If making a coffee to go - make it that little bit hotter - as often you are moving somewhere before sitting down to drink. I know there are anal people out there that are worried about burning the milk, but if all you do most of the day is make coffee, then you should be able to make it hot enough to not burn, but to be warmer than room temperature five minutes later.
2. When I have my coffee to dine in and order before someone else orders a coffee to go - then do as a queue was designed for - serve people in order, or in English give me my coffee first. Too many baristas obviously don't love the pressure of people standing around the till waiting for their coffee. Bad luck, why should I wait just because I am choosing to sit down. When I do order take away I am more than happy to wait - just make sure the coffee is the right temperature.