My wife ate a Fish Hook

Last night my family and I dined at a Michelin guide rated restaurant in Latvia.

Mid-way through our meal, my wife found a fish hook in her mouth, after chewing on a piece of octopus.

As a guest, and as both business and restaurant owners ourselves, we understand things like this can happen (it absolutely should not) but we do understand that in business extraordinary circumstances can occur.

What struck me about the experience most however, is how the restaurant reacted.

In the moment, I was just incredibly grateful that my wife caught it before it went down her throat. Just imagine what would have occurred if she had swallowed?

When I calmly (and quietly) brought it to the restaurant staff’s attention; the waiter’s response was:

“What would you like me to do? I’m not the fisherman!”

If you know me personally, I am sure you can imagine how that landed with me.

In front of my two young children.

If you’re reading this on our blog or you’re connected with me on linkedIn, you probably already know that I am the founder/ceo of one of the world’s most widely used customer service applications, servicing over 9 million users globally; who use tawk.to to communicate with over 3.2 Billion end consumers every month.

I’m also a restaurant owner (tesorogastronomia.com) that donates 100% of all proceeds to support local charities.

And this would have to be one of the worst customer service experiences I’ve witnessed.

I respect that in business, that we all make mistakes at some point.

Though it’s how we ‘respond’ in a crisis like this; that really matters.

The team at this restaurant had the opportunity to make things right, and defuse the situation as much as possible; but instead they chose to go on the defensive.

Rookie mistake, from a restaurant listed in the MICHELIN Guide

Ultimately, leaving a terrible taste in our mouths that went far beyond a rusty old fish hook, so we got up and left the restaurant mid-meal.

This note isn’t to call the restaurant out, in fact; I’ve purposely left their name out of this post.

But it’s to reflect on how you train your team to react to situations like this.

Take the time to completely review your response principles and procedures, hold your suppliers and team members accountable, and give them the training and incentives to not only learn how to react in a crisis, but to put preventative measures in place so that things like this never occur in the first place.

It matters, not just to avoid negative publicity, but it could have killed my wife, whilst sitting in front of her two young children and husband.

As someone that employs so many people globally, I can tell you that in business, the fish rots from the head.

Everything is the leadership’s responsibility. At all times.

How we plan for crisis matters.

And how we respond in crisis matters.

Because I can absolutely assure you, that sooner or later, we all have our own fish-hook moment.

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