By Maurie Cashman
Lasagna. The staple of many restaurants and the advertised specialty of many. So how could you run out of lasagna if you are an Italian Restaurant?!
I was in an Italian restaurant in Iowa City well before midnight on the night before the Iowa-Illinois game. We went there specifically because they promoted that they had the best lasagna in the state. We took our family from Los Angeles who were in town for the weekend. It is a tradition for us to go there once a year for lasagna.
We order lasagna. Guess what, no lasagna! When we questioned the waiter on how they could have no lasagna he threw a napkin on the table and said, â€œHere is something for your tears.â€ Half of us have University of Iowa shirts on! You canâ€™t make this stuff up.
Now, it was late. Admittedly we had had a few beverages. This should have made things easier not harder. All this muttonhead had to do was walk across the street to the Quick Trip and buy some crap lasagna, garnish it with some parsley, serve it with a little flair and buy us a round for being late with the lasagna. We would never have known the difference and probably would have raved about it on TripAdvisor.
But nooooâ€¦this guy decides to try his hand at stand-up in Iowa City. The only things funny ever to come out of Iowa City are Tom Arnold and the intersection of Interstates 80 and 380. I ended up trying to mediate a major incident into a minor one. Turns out this guy is getting a double major in psychology and theater. So he basically likes to mess with people.
Now he was not a bad guy Iâ€™m sure. And Iâ€™m sure you have employees who are not â€œbad guysâ€. But they get put into situations every day in which they have to deal with a customer who wants lasagna when you have none.
So what are you going to do about that?
First of all, if you advertise yourself as an Italian restaurant, even a bad Italian restaurant, you had darn well better not run out of lasagna. Câ€™MON! This is management 101. We ended up spending up $300 in this place (a lot for Iowa) and we still donâ€™t have the lasagna!
Second, youâ€™d better have a plan for what you are going to do if you run out of lasagna. Are you going to make some more? (Duh) Are you going to get some more? Are you going to give away an alternative? Is the manager going to come out rather than hanging some poor schmuck out to dry?
Third, what are you going to learn from the problem so that the situation never recurs? I can guarantee that this incident will go down in the long list of hilarious stories that we love to recount when we get together. I can almost guaranty that we no longer care that they may or may not have great lasagna â€“ we probably wonâ€™t be going back. Maybe weâ€™ll see if the guys with the best pancakes are open.
YOU make lasagnaâ€¦donâ€™t you?