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‘Imagine’, a simple word and one that evokes memories of a song written by John Lennon and released in 1971. In that song we are asked to think about ideas that would perhaps lead us into notions of utopia, if only the ideas were true. Though, often what we see as a simple solution proves to be far from simple and in each solution, lies a paradox that gives lie to the fact that our solution was a solution at all. If we imagine a solution or a scenario we should also ask ourselves ‘what if’. ‘What if’ that were true, what would it look like and what would the consequences be? I like the idea of ‘what if’. ‘What if’ allows me to jump ahead, ‘what if’ allows me to see whether a solution would work, ‘what if’ allows me to play out various scenarios in my mind and ‘what if’ causes me more trouble than imagine. In imagine I can dream, in ‘what if’, I tear those dreams apart, dissecting each bit into practical reality. A reality that has its basis in science and my limited knowledge of human nature. And so, I’d like to begin my journey of ‘imagine’ and ‘what if’.
I suppose my thinking behind this short piece was to set the scene for a number of other pieces without trying to explain the background and rationale of each piece. ‘Imagine’ and ‘What if’ are the rationale. Perhaps the idea might provide a spark for other bloggers, I hope so. And so, I begin….
Imagine a chain of nice restaurants (not the greasy spoon type but perhaps not the Michelin star type either), each restaurant with its own chef. Imagine the work that goes into running a restaurant*, for those of you that watch MasterChef, ‘it isn’t hard to do’. Let’s start with the basics.
Well of course there is the food. Decent food, requires decent ingredients. So, sourcing the ingredients is important, a fair amount of research required to do this and then of course there is the logistics of purchasing the food at the right time in the right quantities and ensuring the quality at the same time.
Then there is the menu, what is put onto the menu is carefully planned around what ingredients are available, what the chef wants to produce and what the customer might want. If the theme of the restaurant is Vegetarian cuisine, there is little point in putting a chicken Balti on the menu. The actual menu needs to be produced, not some scrap of paper, it needs to be carefully planned, printed and delivered. The food then needs to be cooked and served. There is a lot of planning and careful consideration that goes into this. Dishes are tried and tried again until they are right and are aesthetically pleasing on the plate. The customers need to be looked after in the restaurant, shown to their tables, their orders taken, and drinks served.
Imagine how the restaurant is advertised, perhaps on Facebook, maybe its own website and imagine what the advertising would promise. Perhaps a congenial atmosphere, good food and fine service. Imagine you can book online. Imagine the amount of work that goes into building that website or Facebook page. Imagine the work that goes into servicing the bookings. Imagine the organisation of running a restaurant. So, what if…
The chef was responsible for:
- The design and implementation of the website or Facebook page
- The planning, sourcing and cooking of the food
- The design and printing of the menu
- The taking of the orders and the delivery of the food to the customers
- In fact, the chef was responsible for delivering just about everything.
The customers that came to the restaurant decided they don’t like Vegetarian cuisine and are more at home with burgers and chips, but somebody told them it was a good idea to try the restaurant, or maybe they didn’t have anything better to do on the day.
The restaurant chain managers decided that more customers were better for business and they crammed in as many as they could each day, whilst berating the chef for not servicing the website bookings in line with published timelines.
The restaurant managers decided that the chef could run it all on their own as it is better for the bottom line.
The feedback from customers is filled with complaints about the untimely service, the crammed conditions and the fact they don’t like Vegetarian food and couldn’t understand why burgers and chips weren’t on the menu as well.
The management scrutinise the restaurant Facebook page or website looking for inaccuracies or areas that don’t fit the restaurant chain’s USP and appear to have little interest in the food produced or the service given to customers.
The management introduce new policies to ‘ensure better customer service and a better customer experience’. The policies increase the workload for the chef.
Just imagine you are that chef ….
NB I apologise to all chefs out there. As with anything in life we have little idea of the amount of work something involves until we have to do it ourselves.