Why Lemon Wedges Matter
One day, I was eating oysters and crabs at a popular fish house. I personally love lemon juice all over my oysters and asked the waiter for extra lemons. He came back with a plate full of lemons. At first, I was excited that he actually brought so many. I grab a lemon and spritz. At that moment, almost in slow motion, I look down at my fingers covered in some lemon pieces and the lemon wedge I was holding to realize that it was a rotten lemon! It smelled, was very soft, and had a few rotting spots on the peel. You can imagine my astonishment. I mean, I just spritz this over my oysters and it is on my fingers! I take a closer look at the heaping plate of lemons to realize they are ALL somewhat rotten. I now turn to my glass of water with a wedge that used to be on its side… Gross. To finish, I asked for a new plate of lemons. Guess what? It also came looking like they cut them a week ago.
Why does this story matter? Well, because one, it was a popular fish house and lemons should be a high commodity. Two, having worked at a restaurant before I know it’s not hard to make lemon wedges – you wash and cut. Three, I now began to wonder how my oysters and crabs were handled. Of course, the rest of the food was probably fine, but are they so busy with making the food decent that the lemons got tossed to the side?
Sometimes, we get so overwhelmed and busy that we neglect the simplest things that make a quantifiable difference in the quality of our service or product. Perhaps they are too small to matter? We focus on that gleaming, money making tuna, and toss the lemon duty to the dish boy. But, the tuna will not gain you praise when the rotten lemons gain you criticism.
Over time, I have learned to pay attention and make note of the lemon wedges at restaurants. And many other things. Don’t underestimate the influence of little things.