Tasty Steaks!

Managing change can sometimes throw up a few unexpected results and meticulous planning and detailed analysis are key to any change that is to be implemented. A detailed analysis of where you are at and what processes are in place is vital for a successful change programme. Many a manager has failed to take stock of what are the current practices and who currently does what and has paid the price, as in the case of this unfortunate hotel manager…

A large and very successful hotel stood in Nottingham city centre and was renowned for its outstanding architecture, originally designed by the renowned architect Watson Fothergill and rebuilt in 1886-1888, it was the place to be in the 1950’s and 1960’s. It had an exceptional restaurant and steak bar its reputation as the finest place to eat steak in the city was well known. In fact, the bulk of its clientele was as a result of its exceptional cuisine.

In the middle of the 1960’s it was decided to upgrade the inside of the hotel and refit the restaurants and bars and refurbish the kitchens which were the original Victorian kitchen built in 1900. The kitchen was still using coke ovens and grills which were laborious and labour intensive to maintain. In addition to the outdated equipment the building had very little facilities for the kitchen staff, no changing facilities or toilets were in the area of the kitchens. The coke store was in the yard behind the hotel kitchen and coke had to be collected in large scuttles, regardless of the weather.

It was decided to modernise the entire kitchen and replace the coke ovens with modern gas equivalents and new gas grills. The catering staff and chefs were very happy as included in the kitchen refurbishment was a new staff room with lockers washing facilities and modern toilets. The work got underway and was completed in eight weeks and the restaurant reopened to great aplomb.

The catering staff were very happy with their new working conditions but unfortunately the clientele we not so impressed with many declaring that the steaks were not the same as before. The situation was so bad that the once very profitable restaurant started to lose money! The management and the Chefs discussed the problem and decided it was the gas grills that didn’t add the flavour to the steaks as the old coke grills did. It was decided to reintroduce the coke grills to cook the steaks, so modern versions of the grills were purchased, and the coke store was refilled with coke. Unfortunately, the steaks still did not taste the same. Then someone asked, “before we refurbished the kitchens, where did you go when you needed the toilet?”

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