If These Walls Could Talk: Tales of a Seafood suburban restaurant.
Lobster Cave has been a bustling seafood restaurant for over three decades, serving an average of 700 customers weekly. Among the wonderful and supportive patrons, a small percentage presents unique challenges. From demanding diners to the dashing diner to rude and unreasonable customers, the hospitality industry has its fair share of experiences. Let me share and explore some of the amusing anecdotes, occasional frustrations, and the rewarding aspects of serving customers in a busy restaurant like Lobster Cave.
While most customers are delightful and really are, there are occasional encounters with demanding or difficult individuals. From the ones who find fault in everything to those who threaten negative reviews, handling such situations can be a test. As a restaurant, it’s crucial to rectify issues, offer apologies, and learn from these experiences. However, there are rare instances when it becomes clear that certain people cannot be pleased due to unreasonable demands and expectations.
Lobster Cave has faced its fair share of unusual requests. One instance involved a customer requesting a specific seafood item for their birthday six months in advance. While the restaurant aims to accommodate requests, seasonal availability and sourcing from reputable suppliers are essential factors. The customer was unhappy with this response and asked if they could bring their own seafood and requested that we cook it. This was going to be for a large booking. Could you imagine the ramifications if someone got sick? Needless to say, we have not gone ahead with the booking as it’s just an impossible request to honour, and we do not want to promise something we possibly cannot deliver. Even after the explanation, the customer could not understand why we could not just say yes.
Furthermore, there are instances when customers fail to disclose their allergies, which poses risks in any restaurant. Ensuring the safety of all patrons becomes challenging, especially when allergies are revealed midway through the dining experience. Recently, one lady failed to explain to the waiter that she had a severe allergy to seafood and ordered scallops. Only telling us after the fact that she was allergic, we let her know that we have a duty of care and asked why she did not make us aware. Her response, I was just delighted to be here and forgot!!
Lobster Cave has been a witness to numerous memorable occasions and heartwarming moments. From heart-warming proposals, mainly with a positive reaction, the host doesn’t know where to look when it’s not so positive, and the night ends in tears and devastation. We have had proposals whereby the ring was placed in the champagne glass, probably wouldn’t recommend it as this rock was nearly swallowed!
Behind the walls of the Cave, we have hosted numerous successful charity events, which I have had the pleasure of hosting or being a significant part of. On these occasions, our entire staff comes together to contribute, but one exceptional team member goes above and beyond to support different causes out of genuine passion. You may know her as our front-of-house Maître de Belinda Van der Zyapp. She always adorns a touch of pink, whether on her nails or lips, as a sign of respect in loving memory of her dear friend who passed away too young. Belinda consistently surpasses expectations when it comes to fundraising for chosen charities. There are too many instances to mention, but her involvement is always extraordinary, selfless, and truly humbling to witness – something I deeply admire.
Although some of the events can be very emotional, it also makes you aware that humanity still exists. These events create an environment filled with laughter, sometimes tears, entertainment, and networking opportunities for corporates and all guests whilst raising some serious funds for the cause.
Bill has always enjoyed supporting a good cause and contributing to making a positive difference in people’s lives. Our next charity event to support is The Variety Victoria Bash 2023, Australia’s largest and longest-running motoring charity event, raising money for kids in need. Taking place on Wednesday, 16 August – Friday, 25 August 2023. A friend of mine is highly involved with this cause and has introduced me to this event.
While the challenges may exist, the rewards of a career in the restaurant industry are numerous. Meeting genuine, wonderful people and forming lasting friendships is truly special. The Lobster Cave, under consistent ownership for 36 years, has become a place where memories and friendships are formed. Behind the scenes, a dedicated team works tirelessly to ensure smooth operations and protect the restaurant’s hard-earned reputation.
Serving customers in a busy seafood restaurant like Lobster Cave is an experience filled with diverse encounters, both pleasant and sometimes challenging. While dealing with demanding customers and unusual requests can be trying, the rewards of creating memorable moments, supporting charitable causes, and forging lasting relationships with genuine patrons outweigh the negatives. Lobster Cave’s long-standing history and commitment to providing exceptional service continue to shape its legacy, making it a beloved destination for seafood enthusiasts and steak lovers.
This is a glimpse into the experiences and stories within Lobster Cave; however, it doesn’t even scratch the surface of the extensive behind-the-scenes efforts that contribute to the restaurant’s success. I am sure the Ferg could write a book.
Please, if you would like to donate, no matter how small, we would greatly appreciate anyone who would like to get on board and support our chosen charity.
Variety the Children’s Charity