A timeless lesson on how consultants can make a difference for an organization…
Last week, we took some friends out to a new restaurant, and noticed that the waiter who took our order carried a spoon in his shirt pocket. It seemed a little strange. When the busboy brought our water and utensils, I noticed he also had a spoon in his shirt pocket. Then I looked around and saw that all the staff had spoons in their pockets. When the waiter came back to serve our soup I asked, ‘Why the spoon?’
‘Well,’ he explained, ‘the restaurant’s owners hired Andersen Consulting to revamp all our processes. After several months of analysis, they concluded that the spoon was the most frequently dropped utensil. It represents a drop frequency of approximately 3 spoons per table per hour. If our personnel are better prepared, we can reduce the number of trips back to the kitchen and save 15 man-hours per shift.’
As luck would have it, I dropped my spoon and he was able to replace it with his spare. ‘I’ll get another spoon next time I go to the kitchen instead of making an extra trip to get it right now.’ I was impressed. I also noticed that there was a string hanging out of the waiter’s fly. Looking around, I noticed that all the waiters had the same string hanging from their flies. So before he walked off, I asked the waiter, ‘Excuse me, but can you tell me why you have that string right there?’
‘Oh, certainly!’ Then he lowered his voice. ‘Not everyone is so observant. That consulting firm I mentioned also found out that we can save time in the restroom. By tying this string to the tip of you know what, we can pull it out without touching it and eliminate the need to wash our hands, shortening the time spent in the restroom by 76.39 percent.’
‘After you get it out, how do you put it back?’
‘Well,’ he whispered, ‘I don’t know about the others, but I use the spoon.’
I worked at restaurants and fast food joints before and you do not want to know what sort of things happening, ‘horror stories’ in the kitchen. My first working experience in the ‘food and beverage’ industry was in 1997. I was 14 at that time and during the long school holiday, I worked at this one Chinese coffee shop in Sarikei where I did things like washing the cups and glasses, take orders and deliver the food. Before I worked there I was very thin. I weighed 42-45kg and I was quite tall so I looked like ‘jerangkung’ at that time. You don’t believe me?
Taken when I was in Form 4 – 16 years old. This time I already gained some weight hahaha!
Yes, I gained a lot of weight during that time working at the coffee shop. Just imagine, morning 7am breakfast with roti kahwin or half boiled eggs, then 10am the Malay makcik would ask me whether I want to eat ‘kway teow’ goreng or mee goreng that day hahahaha! Her mee goreng and kway teow goreng kick ass!! (yes in Sarawak you can see plenty of coffee shops where you have Muslim and Non Muslim food served together. Muslim food stalls on one side, and Non Muslim food on one side, in one coffee shop and the customers can order from any of the stalls.)
Then lunch time, around 12pm I would have my lunch and man, I had plenty of choices to pick from. Sarawak Laksa, Chicken Rice, Nasi Lemak, Kam Pua you name it! At 4pm another ‘tea break’ – normally roti kahwin. The coffeeshop is famous for their roti kahwin, go figure. I am not sure whether the coffee shop still there, I never go there for more than 10 years… hahahaha! Lastly, dinner time I went back home, like usual my mom would prepare food that I can’t resist 😛 When I went back to school, my friends and teachers asked me ‘Wah! What happened to you??’
Back to the ‘horror stories’ in the kitchen, I didn’t have any when I worked at Chinese coffeeshop. Wait I do have one, I accidentally shaved my one of eyebrow and end up shaving both and looking like an alien. Sorry no photo. That’s another story to tell haha! I again worked behind the kitchen, this time at one fast food joint in Bintulu.
Ehem.. the tasty finger licking fried chicken that you eat, the oil that they use to fry the chicken, some of it probably are ‘recycled’. Well, you see, during closing time, the kitchen staffs would filter the oil and remove the impurities using this special machine and ta daaa! it’s good as new for tomorrow’s use! I can’t say whether they do that the time at any kitchen at other places, but I think yes – to save cost.
Well, it is not that bad if the oil still fairly ‘new’ and not already used or being ‘filtered’ many times but sometimes ehem.. they used the same oil for many times before replacing it, and usually done when the oil ‘stinks’. You could smell some nasty smell and the colour of the oil turned blackish brown. Yucks!!
I skip fast food for quite some time after working there, one is because I had fried chicken everyday for the period I worked there and after seeing some not very appetising acts ‘behind the scene’ Anyway, those are the risks when we eat outside food.
Since I found my old photos ‘hidden’ somewhere in the internet, I may as well put up more for you guys to laugh at. It’s Friday people! Have fun and enjoy your weekends! 🙂
This was taken probably during 2nd semester in uni around 2001.
Ehem.. that ‘skema’ ‘kotak’ looking guy is me..
At a BBQ party
pss: Song for today: Linkin Park- Leave out the all the rest