Italian top flop

What would you think if you order a service and get something else than you order? Becoming brunette instead of blond, being brought to the wrong place by the taxi driver (I am not talking about countries where taking tourists to the wrong place to exploit them is business as usual) or ordering fish and being served with meat? The latter happened to me yesterday. We googled for an Italian restaurant (where the quality of the food is better than the quality of their politicians) in our city - which is at least the 5th biggest city in the Netherlands. We landed in googles top-hit in the city centre, expecting a decent, but not outstanding dish.
I was quite astonished how apathetic the waitress reacted when I told her she had brought the wrong dish. She rather tried to made the meat appear dishy and nice and completely disregarded the fact that the fail was with them. I expected an apology and already prepared to have to wait again for that they change my meal to the right one, or -at least offer some dessert or an espresso for compensation. But I seemed to have been terribly mistaken and obviously suffering from a misleading thought of professionalism in the Dutch hospitality sector: Maybe not. It became to dawn on me when I took a closer look around us. Old interiour, not to talk about design here - simply old furniture. Music annoyingly loud and fake grapes everywhere. With a layer of dust of course. In the background sat the owner family and busy with their small children running around in the restaurant, and sometimes catching one of them back from underneath a table. And no, there where no other guests. And no, they did not change the meal, just asking me if I not possibly want to eat it. Still not in favour of meat (if I'd fancied meat I would have ordered it) and small little bit stubborn as I am, I refused the food and found that at least it goes in sync with my eat-less-diet. My darling ate some oversalted pasta and has a belly ache now, btw.
Still being flabbergasted my mind was back to business. I find it such a pity that there are Chinese, Indoneasian and Japanese restaurants everywhere (You make great food, guys) but that one sometimes also just fancies something simple, unfancy, familiar. Given the fact that there are 4 Italian restaurants in the city of Eindhoven listed in google I assumed that those four at least take their business seriosly and harvest what's out there. A lot, that is to say. With giants like Philips and ASML and a considerable amount of all kind of other companies this area is the most productive area of the Netherlands (Rotterdam has a harbour, that comparison is not fair (-:and Amsterdam only has banking, which doesn't count). This simply is a wealthy area with a lot of people working hard, work long or travel for business and go out for dinner anyways.
What we found out later when we paid was that this restaurant was just recently taken over by a family from the middle east. They were extremely friendly and had no intention of delivering bad food or bad service. Instead of being angry I just felt sorry. They perhaps left their country for good to make a new start over here in Europe. Will they be aware of the fact that a few minor investments could turn this place into a gold mine? Decent menu cards, leaving out 90 % of whats offered now (basicly everything an Italian restaurant could possibly offer), the use of good quality and fresh products, hiring highly committed and motivated personnel (students usually long for small jobs they could do to finance extra pairs of shoes, new laptops or travelling) who know what 'service' is and make us come back. Replace cook for one who actually can cook (and not just throw everything into one pan) as good food makes us come back. And make the place look nice - modern? Stylish? Cosy? Whatever it takes for a public place what makes us stay longer than necessary - and makes us come back.
I might not be or let alone call myself an expert on advising businesses, but out of compassion and a little bit of selfishness I might go back tomorrow and tell them how great everything could be great for them. And for us. Or leave it and cook myself.

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