Monthly Archives: June 2012

Getting a drink is simple – Well it is, isn’t it?

Recently I was invited to a breakfast briefing at a major hotel. I arrive the obligatory 15 or so minutes before the published start time to mingle with my fellow guests. Courteously I’m invited to help myself to a drink – tea or coffee.

All the necessary items – sugar, sweeteners, stirring sticks, mugs, followed by flasks – are laid out on a table on the edge of the small mingling area. It’s quite a busy event and the area is a little congested.

Now I’m into process, in fact I’m very enthusiastic about process, you know doing the right thing right.

I must be careful here. I don’t want to spill anything do I?

First things first, I need a mug. Yes mugs are great, you get more in them and you don’t need to balance them on a saucer. That’s good.

Now for some coffee. I don’t like tea, so it must be coffee. What? The flasks aren’t labelled? Which is which? Ah, the chap at the side of me tells me which is coffee. Umm, good job he was there otherwise….. So where’s the milk then? Umm, that’s not particularly obvious either, but with team work we achieve our objective.

So far I’ve been working from left to right along the table. But now I need some sugar, oh and a stirrer. Where are they? What? At the extreme left hand side? Surely not. Oh, yes. I can see them but by now there’s someone on my left who’s guessing which liquid he’s pouring into his mug. Sorry mate, I should have told you about that. Really sorry, honest. Excuse me, I’ve not told you which was tea, but even so would you mind letting me through to the sugar… …err please.

I reach for the sugar and the stirrer, disrupting the flow, trying not to cause me or my fellow guest to spill our drinks.

Success. Coffee in mug. Milk in mug. Sugar in mug.

Stirrer in…. ….where’s the bin?

Why do they do it? These hospitality professionals, supposedly at the upper end of the market but they can’t even organise a cup of tea in a…. …hotel!

It should be so simple. 60 guests wanting a drink. But it’s not.

It’s all in the process. Don’t blame the guests. They’re following the process laid out by the hotel.

I wonder how good their other processes are? Glad I’m not expecting something more complex. How good are the processes in your business? Do the right thing righter.