My team is trying to run a gourmet restaurant.
A business man walks in,
BUSINESS MAN: I’d like a house salad with dressing on the side, a fish entree (he’ll tell you exactly what kind of fish in Iteration 4), fries and a Coke.
The waiter writes down the order on seventeen different pieces of paper, making sure to document as little as possible.
In the kitchen, there is no head chef – just nine sous chefs who don’t talk to each other. There are another five people who want to taste the food before we give it to the customer and three general managers who, though responsible for the exact same thing, don’t really know how they can help.
The waiter asks about how long it will take to cook the salad. I explain that we don’t “cook” salad but it should take maybe 10 minutes. He looks at me puzzled for a second then asks if instead I could tell him how long it will take using unit-less Fibonacci numbers. I slap him in the face so hard the gum flies out of his mouth. You’re not supposed to chew gum while waiting tables. Everyone knows that.
Five people decided they will get the guy his Coke. It takes five people to use the fountain soda machine, apparently. One of the guys swore the customer asked for Mr Pibb and they have to argue a bit. Turns out we only have Pepsi but they decide he probably won’t know the difference.
I find out the house salad is pre-made and already has the dressing mixed in. The team decides to set up a meeting next week to figure out a way to scrape all the dressing off. They loop in the cooking tools team to see if they have a good scraping instrument. The guy wanted the salad first but it probably don’t matter if he gets that last.
Oh, the guy who made the dressing doesn’t work here anymore. No, he didn’t think to write down the recipe.
There is a lock on the refrigerator because company policy says it should be locked at all times. You can go to the website and open a ticket to get it unlocked – with management approval, of course. The managers have already gone home to pick up their kids.
The waiter asks if the food is ready and how good it tastes so far. Nobody says a damn thing. He walks off.
One guy starts frying up some cod, another one is putting a salmon in the oven. A third chef thought that “fish” meant Sushi – but she doesn’t know what kind of rice she’s supposed to use so she hasn’t really done anything, anyway.
We can’t use the stove because some other chef is taking his sweet ass time making spaghetti for another customer.
A taster comes over to me and tells me that the lamb is a little salty. I tell him “we don’t even serve lamb here”. He nods like he understands and then walks away. Five minutes later a G.M. walks over and asks me if I’ve desalted the lamb because “the taster wants to retaste“. How the fuck do you “desalt” something, anyways?
Concerned about the lack of progress, we get four new sous chefs who come into the back and ask, “So what are we doing here, guys?“.
The spaghetti chef broke the stove but went home before he knew it was broken or could get someone to fix it. A sous chef Googles, “how to fry stuff in the oven“.
All of the plates and silverware are dirty and nobody wants to clean them. We discuss it and decide we will clean the plates after the guy eats. It just makes more sense that way. Think about it.
I ask the waiter to go find out if the business man wants regular fries, garlic fries or sweet potato fries. He returns a few minutes later and tells me, “That should be okay.”
And that motherfucker is chewing gum, again.
Two chefs spend 40 minutes trying to hook up a $4000 potato slicer machine but can’t get it to cut. I suggest we just chop them up by hand, you know, with a knife, in 15 seconds. They tell me “that’s not how we do things here“.
The runner comes to the back and everything is on separate little bread plates. They tell him that this is “modular” and thus, far superior.
Two hours after he ordered, we bring out a caesar salad, an under-cooked salmon fillet and some jagged potato spears with garlic and bits of aluminum mixed in. Nobody brought out the Pepsi although he apparently got equipped with a straw and a pair of chopsticks.
Later that night the general managers buy ice cream for everyone and tell us how remarkable this team is.
I cry myself to sleep that night.