Jorge Milanes Despaigne
HAVANA TIMES — The restaurant menu behind the counter listed a number of dishes with good prices. Nevertheless I went up to the manager and asked, “That’s the only one you have as a main dish?”
“Yep,” he replied.
I was a little hesitant because it wasn’t what I really wanted, but there wasn’t any alternative.
“Three servings of fried chicken to go, with nothing on the side, please,” I asked the waiter and sat down at a table.
“Sorry, but I can’t sell chicken without side orders,” he said. “It comes with rice, salad and fries or soup.”
For a few seconds I looked into his eyes, wondering why he was being so difficult.
I figured I needed to talk to someone who was running the “business” for them to explain to me why I had to order what I didn’t want.
I asked the waiter if I could see the shift manager or owner. “Sure, why not? I’m the owner,” he replied.
“Good! I want two servings of chicken to go, but I don’t want any sides because I already have some at home. I don’t think that’ll do too much damage to your bottom line – on the contrary,” I said.
“I already explained how the menu works at this restaurant, if you don’t agree with it then, well, we’re sorry,” he said.
“As a customer, I’m telling you that this is a problem this cafeteria-restaurant still has. Although there are other places that also maintain rigid selections on their menus, it’s possible to reach an agreement. Can’t you make combinations of dishes according to the tastes of the customers in order to satisfy them?”
“Yes, you’re right, but at the moment I can’t.”
I explained that for someone starting up in the restaurant and cafe business world, such rigidity isn’t pleasing for customers; on the contrary, any success will remain off in the distant.
Then I turned and walked out to go look for what I wanted.