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The meaning of a customer

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I was filling out a job application today and there was a question on it that was rather intersting. I was wondering how fellow cooks and chefs would answer this question. "Describe what a customer means to you"?
post #2 of 17

We all tie our shoe laces the same way

Even though you are a chef, you have been and will be a customer too. What do you want as a customer? As a cook, I want to please. As a customer, I want to be pleased. But not all customers are fellow cooks. On the surface it may seem like a "twinkle ding dong" question (I got that from my conservative republican husband LOL) but realistically it is a very good question in a service industry. Who do we cook for, and why do we cook? Personally, I admit it is because I feel good when my dish is devoured and loved by the individual eating it -- along with the fact that it is my creative outlet, but that is another subject.

I am curious what you wrote on the application in answer to the question.

Cheers!
Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death! Auntie Mame
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Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death! Auntie Mame
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post #3 of 17
It depends upon what time of day it is...for instance:

During the noon rush....that idiot who asked you to hold the lettuce and tomato...then asks the waitress if she could "please" have some lettuce and tomato....

In the afternoon....it's that "bird person" as my husband calls them...cheap! You know the one who rushes in right before dinner to get the lunch price for the buffet.

In the evening....the one who asks for a medium rare steak...but doesn't want any pink in it....

Then finally at night.....it's God Bless My customers and Business Lord.

"THE BEST IS YET TO COME"

      JUST US BUFFET

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"THE BEST IS YET TO COME"

      JUST US BUFFET

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post #4 of 17

One night

I was so exhausted -- we were cooking for a wedding -- all I could do was remind myself of the love I have for cooking and my husband, and I tell you I prayed to God! The wedding party was overjoyed. At the end of the night, I was spent but it all made sense. Call me sick, but I got great sleep that night. I made them happy.
Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death! Auntie Mame
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Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death! Auntie Mame
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post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
On the application I wrote " a customer is anyone who purchases good and services with the expectation of quality and satisfaction".
It's a cheesy...textbook kinda answer but it was the first thing that came to my mind
post #6 of 17
A "customer" in my mind as I see it... is a stranger, sometimes in a good mood... sometimes in a bad one... that is trying to verbally translate his palate's desires... sometime confused... sometimes on a very direct path of thoughts... or at least they think so... and I like to read into all this info and produce a meal that clicks with their expectations and actually surpasses them... giving them a "memorable" meal and satisfying, and I am sorry but I hope we all have one, my "humble ego", you know... when you hair stand up as you are called into the dining room and all stand up to applaude... when, just about the same time, the adrenaline rush is exiting your body and your legs have the feel of cotton!... it sure is not the $'s!!!
Be well...
Ara
Personal Chef Ara
www.PersonalChefAra.com
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Personal Chef Ara
www.PersonalChefAra.com
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post #7 of 17
From the owners POV
The customer is the only aspect of the business you don't have control over. You can fix everything in your operation except the customer. This is why the customer should be put on a different and higher plane. It has to be looked at as a completely different entity. You have your everyday yadda yadda and then there is the customer.
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #8 of 17
a customer is the pain i feel in my knees everymorning when i get out of bed, the pounding in my head in the afternoon and the stiffness in my back on my way home
a customer is the joy i get when a little old lady leaves me a .50 cent tip cuz i made here the best rueben ever,the little kids eyes that light up over the huge piece of chocolate cake you made, and the laughter that comes from the dinning room after a 20 top full of family memebers that havent seen each other for ever are so happy because the food you made for them and the service they recived will be a lasting memory....

gotta love this job with your whole heart taking the aches and the pains the good and the bad and turning it all in to love!!!!!
post #9 of 17
I learned years ago.
Back in in the days of nouvelle junk.
You can make him eat "stuff" and hate him for his lack of taste.
Or feed him nicely and let him thank you.
Elephant tounge.
Stuffed with un-fertilized gopher embryo.
Poached in wild squid ink.

If you have to do mescalum salad.
(This is summer).
Top with a very thick gazpacho.
Topped with cerviche and a cillantro crerma.
post #10 of 17
I second Panini's opinion, that you can control everything but the customer! There's no question about it!

The customer is the lifetime value of your establishment. Without them, you are nobody. With lot's of them, you are successful.

In my point of view, I generally state that "Customers are always hungry people, that's why they're here!"

........ and hungry people are not always "happy people." It's your job to change that for them!

Eric

RestaurantEdge.com
post #11 of 17
Each customer is different tracing all the way to the essence of it's iris, the soul of it's eyes, gaze, walk, demeanor, outlook, way of life. And so to please the thousands, down to the very individual. You must understand everything. Your environment, surroudings, color, light, temperature, aroma, and mold it all into one evolving story.

Where has the flow, sequence, experience, and seduction all gone? It all seems choppy, fast-paced, bland, and normalized. And so I had to escape,
business was linear, numbers, left sided of the brain.

A customer is in search of nourishment, flavor, nutrition, experience, value, a haven, a refresher. A kind word, prompt service, cleanliness all-around, a touch of Disney magic and dazzlement.

It remains, the remains.
post #12 of 17
i'm a customer-and a fairly informed one- and this is what i want from the kitchen.

1. i have come to your establishment to pay you for a beautiful plate full of great food.
1a. high-end dining establishments- don't dress the dog in mink. things like mom's meatloaf or frito pie can be called 'trendy retro food!' but they don't belong in a white linen setting with a white linen price attached. it's insulting.
2. you'd better be able to cook better than me and show me that you can. i can tell the difference.
post #13 of 17
But I have to ask... so when a place does a 'take-off' on a 'classic,' would you a) try it? b)appreciate it for its reinvention value? c) dismiss it?

The reason I ask is this: I will never be able to re-create Mom's meatloaf - we all know that! As a matter of fact, I (meaning any chef/cook/restaurant operator) would probably never be able to serve any version of pot pie, chicken 'n dumplings, southern fried chicken, etc that is typical 'comfort food.' So, with that said, should we not try?

I am not asking in any type of 'tone;' I am just curious as I, too, do not opt for the Veal Meatloaf with black truffles and fois gras gravy.

Invention, my dear friends, is ninety-three percent perspiration, six percent electricity, four percent evaporation, and two percent butterscotch ripple

My Author Page

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Invention, my dear friends, is ninety-three percent perspiration, six percent electricity, four percent evaporation, and two percent butterscotch ripple

My Author Page

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post #14 of 17
i would try the reinvention if i trust the chefs work. in other words, i wouldn't roll into a swanky place i'd never been before and order the tuna casserole. in any case the waitstaff should have tried it and liked it, too, because i'll ask them.
post #15 of 17
isnt the customer the person who pays our way in life and gives what we do a meaning?.

Also it would be prudent to note that despite the fact that the customer may well know what they want, they dont always eloquently convey that fact to the chef.

all things being equal, it then becomes the chef's job to interpret that.
"Nothing quite like the feeling of something newl"
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"Nothing quite like the feeling of something newl"
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post #16 of 17
I agree. Customers do give our jobs meaning. They also continue to give value to gracious service and the inherent need to be pampered, just as royalty and the noble families of the past were.

In the days of Escoffier -father of the modern restaurant- wealthy patrons could dine as kings and queens, and notable socialites often had dishes named after them. Todays restaurants have come a long way since then. But I sense that even Freddie the Freeloader wouldn't mind having a plate of flapjacks named after him.
post #17 of 17
nick.shu brings up an interesting point-the broken communication between the kitchen and the customer. servers, bussers and restaurant critics are lousy intermediaries and its a health code violation for me to come back to the kitchen-not to mention hazardous during full bore service! this is a subject for starting a forum of its own but i'll leave that for someone more eloquent.
p.s. can you imagine going in ANYWHERE and ordering the tuna casserole? much less one that was 'reinvented'? what if they left out the PEAS? :eek:
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