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Which type of CON artist are you?

Yes indeed, quite a CONtroversial headline, and one that I came up with recently as a discussion topic for my daily heads of departments’ e-break in response to our collective failure to deliver the Avari Service Promise to one of our regular guests, and because the coffee delivered to my office every morning at 8 sometimes tastes a little different from the previous day.  

Yes, I know many readers will say, “Wow, he gets his coffee delivered,” but I will tell you a secret — I don’t actually CONsume it (I prefer Japanese green tea), I just want to taste it to check the CONsistency of strength and flavor and the temperature, as it’s the same coffee we brew for our early morning meeting guests (we give complimentary tea and coffee to all meetings and events guests on arrival). So I always try to make sure that it’s up to the mark, and I am glad to say that most days it is. But, when there is an occasional quality deviation, I become CONcerned, and want to know why.

And so it was with our disappointed guest who had ordered a chicken dish from our private dining menu, which he said was completely different from the previous times he had ordered it. In fact, he informed me that it was his favorite Pakistani dish, which was why he was so disappointed and disCONtented on this particular occasion. 

As soon as I heard about the problem, sent directly by the guest to my email address, I called him up immediately to apologize, and assured him that I would look into the matter personally, and then offered him that same dish free of charge during future stays, until such time as he declared it to be perfect.

Then I set about investigating why it had happened, and after a little digging, discovered that a young apprentice chef had prepared the order on his own, for the first time, with no access to the recipe manual, as his shift leader had called in sick that evening, and no other qualified section chef de partie had replaced him.    

This all-too-frequent occurrence in a city that is often shut down by sudden transport strikes and security CONcerns caused me to gather my heads of departments the next morning, to ask the shocking question to each and every one of them: Which type of CON artist are you? It was a question that left them all shell-shocked, dumbfounded and very CONcerned, as I am not usually so openly CONfrontational.   

After letting them stew over the question for a few minutes, I told them the chicken story, and with the aid of my iPad and multimedia projector, punched the following words up on the screen to illustrate why this had happened and to remind everyone that CON has many meanings and applications in the English language.

First off, I typed in “CONfusion” as the main reason this boy had failed to deliver what the guest expected — not because he had no CONfidence in himself, but because he just did not know how to do it, and had no one around to ask for help.

Then I typed in CONsistency of quality as the major casualty, and went on to discuss the need for every employee — from the top down — to maintain CONsistently high standards of excellent product and service delivery.

Then I typed in CONtroller, as the person who also failed — in other words, the boy’s quality CONtroller, being the executive chef, who is of course also the executive kitchen training CONsultant. 

I then typed in CONfront, and explained that the guest had every right to CONfront us when asked to pay for a dish that was not up to the previously CONsistently high standard, which he had enjoyed so much in the past.

The meeting ended with me typing in CONtrary and CONflicting standards, which was not what I wanted from our trainers or from our front-line people. In fact, what I wanted was CONfirmation that we would launch an all-out war on inCONsistency, and that we would CONdemn and not CONdone such service failures in the future whenever they occurred, and at the same time do our utmost to ensure adherence to our quality CONtrol standards, and thereby achieve a satisfactory CONclusion for all CONcerned. We don’t ever want to be called CON artists by our guests, as that would make me and our CONvivial owners rather CONcerned about the CONtent and CONdition of our team.

I will find out soon if I am to be CONgratulated for my actions.

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