How Not To Run A Cafe

I always talk about how it’s my dream to run a small cafe or B&B serving freshly prepared rustic food.  Well, today after a very long lunch at an Italian Cafe near my office (that was supposed to be short) I learned a valuable lesson in how NOT to run a cafe.

Here’s what not to do:

  • Don’t ask people if they want wine three times (after they say no the first time). We’re not drinking OK!
  • Don’t sell people on a special that you’re almost out of. The vegetarian lasagna, ohhhh, that sounds fantastic!
  • Don’t change someone’s order (when said special has in fact run out) without checking to confirm what they want instead.  Oh, yeah the vegetarian lasagna, we’re out of that, so we’re bringing you some ravioli…
  • Don’t tell people their food will be ready in 1 minute (after they’ve already waited 45) and then turn it out 10 minutes later. No problem, it’s coming right up…NOT.
  • Don’t try to pawn off a random plate of meat lasagna on people who didn’t order it (especially the vegetarian) in place of what they wanted. Oh, you didn’t order this?!?
  • When you write down people’s orders, don’t go and ask them what they ordered when you clearly don’t have their food in your hands.  Go look at your damn notepad and see what you wrote down!
  • And lastly, when you f’ up everything else do not, I REPEAT DO NOT, bring people’s food out one dish at a time, 5 minutes apart!

So there’s your valuable lesson for the day.  If you’re going to run a cafe in the business district, expect it to be busy at lunch and understand that people will want to eat and go back to work.  Don’t seat to capacity if you can’t manage the service.

I know literally nothing about the restaurant business, but I know that there are a 10 commandments of sorts and the place I ate lunch at today broke all of them in just over an hour.


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