As well as being a trailblazing accountant, I’m also a part-time restaurateur. An Interesting combination I’m sure you’ll agree. I quite enjoy the change of pace between the two professions. My accountancy work needs to be exacting and methodical to ensure my clients get a proactive service that maximises the finances in their business.
The hospitality industry is very different. No matter how much you prepare, you never know what’s going to happen. On any given evening, any or all of humankind can turn up to your eatery and put you through your paces. And there are no spreadsheets or Xero databases to hide you from their requests.
Indeed, look at this list of funny, bizarre or downright outrageous things a restaurant customer might spring on you.
One of the first things you are offered when you visit any restaurant is a menu. An enticing document that should get your juices flowing and your wallet ready. A well-written menu will list the food on offer, its preparation and crucially how much each item costs. It provides all the info’ a hungry customer needs to work out what they can afford on their eating-out budget.
Yet, it’s common for people to request a discount when presented with the final bill. It makes my accountant blood boil. It’s almost as if they’re asking for a tip for choosing your establishment. One can’t blame anyone for trying to get a few quid off, especially in these straitened times. However, this is one time where the phrase ‘don’t ask for a discount as a refusal often offends’ is always appropriate.
When Is A Burger Not A Burger?
We serve epic burgers at our restaurant — a range of delicious, meaty treats designed to tickle the taste buds of just about everyone. Served with fries, it’s a restaurant classic. Occasionally we get requests like ‘can I get a burger without the bun please?’ Or, ‘just the bun and the burger, nothing else’.
I understand that some people don’t like the pickle, or tomato, or cheese but I’m not sure some of these requests actually count as burgers. Where’s the cut-off? Who knows? But as they say, the customer is always right.
The Kid’s Menu
This is always a minefield. Kids are notoriously fussy eaters even from the menu designed especially for them. Requests like, ‘can you remove the breadcrumbs from the fish fingers’, ‘he prefers baked beans to peas’ or ‘she’d like a pizza without the cheese’ are all very common. Then there are the adults who want to order from the children’s menu because they’re ‘not very hungry’. Why do they come to a restaurant if they don’t have an appetite?
You have to hand it to the serving staff for diplomatically dealing with these issues with great dignity and patience.
I’m Allergic To…
This is shaky ground. As restaurateurs, we have to be very careful about our ingredients and food labelling because, for some, an allergic reaction can be life-threatening. However, it seems having a mild food allergy is quite fashionable these days.
How many times have we seen a client ask if a menu item is gluten free while nibbling on a complimentary breadstick? Or the person with a supposed ‘dairy intolerance’ who asks if the mousse is dairy-free, only to order ice cream instead. You couldn’t make it up.
Do Drop By
Having said all that, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love my involvement with the restaurant. It’s a welcome contrast to my daily work helping my clients with their accounting challenges. So if you want a good meal do consider visiting us at www.sweetdiner.co.uk/.
And if you’d like to discuss your business accounts and taxes, setting up Xero for your business, or managing your VAT, call my team today on 0161 509 2152 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s talk about your company, maybe over lunch?