Monday, 30 June 2008

Beach Blanket Babylon

On Friday myself and Lea, practised what she preaches in a tour of all the independent shops in the whole of East London (or at least that's how it felt). We were looking for a particular outfit, and when we finally found it, celebration with a glass of champagne was the only way to go.

So we headed to the very beautiful Beach Blanket Babylon in Shoreditch. Having arrived and settled ourselves into a couple of rather imposing thrones, we realised that not only did we need Kir Royales immediately, but we were also going to require some olives... and maybe cashew nuts too. Imagine our dismay then, when the waiter told us that they weren't allowed to serve bar snacks on Fridays and Saturdays.

"Really?" we asked, "but why?"

"Um. I don't actually know" said the waiter, very embarrassed.

"So if today was Thursday we could have some olives?"

"Yes. I'm really sorry. You can have a side dish from the dinner menu if you like - how about broccoli with almonds?"

Eurgh. We politely declined. Having had this otherwise perfectly pleasant experience, I looked up Beach Blanket online and had a look at some reviews. They're pretty harsh. Almost every post on the site I looked at, awards the restaurant just 1 star. And what's the first thing they slate? The service.

Now we didn't find any of the staff to be rude on our visit, but if they keep being put in situations like this, I can see why that would happen. Embarrassment quickly turns to defensiveness, and from there to surliness. If I were the manager, I'd try a couple of things to turn around the reputation BBB currently has for "surly, inattentive, slapdash" staff.

1) Inform - Explain to your employees what you're trying to do and why.

2) Involve - Even better, consult them on policy. See what the people who talk to the customers every day think would be best.

3) Keep your promises - If you say you're going to do something, do it. Create a trusting environment.

4) Let Sam have olives!

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