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All out to a restaurant for Christmas

Di Antonio Caneva, 6 Dicembre 2012

I am lazily leafing through the Corriere della Sera, starting from the last page; as I reach the Milan city section, my attention dwells on a colour advertisement showing a few restaurants and their captivating proposals for the Christmas season. I am attracted by one in particular, featuring the following: “Tradition or, alternatively, particularly inviting specialties. This is how our restaurant has decided to celebrate Christmas. Not a set menu, therefore, but rather a special carte, where you can choose your favourite dishes. Among the appetisers, for example, you will be able to savour steamed king prawns on mixed leaf salad, or marinated fresh salmon with orange and caviar. Among the first courses, classical tortellini in capon broth, risotto alla parmigiana with Alba truffle, or sea bass ravioli with borage and walnut pesto. All you need to do is choose, also for the main courses ….” And so on and so forth. Interesting. Let me remember this.
I continue reading; a couple of pages onwards, a headline catches my attention: Three people reported for crimes, fines notified for nine thousand euros. Blitz, 1490 kilos of damaged food seized from restaurants.
Let me check this out: after all we are speaking of restaurants, and we should inform ourselves.
The article is about three cases the headline refers to. The first is an ethnic restaurant whose owner, a Chinese aged 34, was accused of noncompliance with food preservation laws and food fraud.
First thought to my mind: always the same story!
It becomes more intriguing as I read on: “At nr. 54 Via Lombroso, on the other hand, caught in the net of the local police inspectors was an Italian of 76. In his restaurant they found dirty kitchen utensils, unlabelled products. Poor cleanliness in the refrigerators. The city police confiscated 20 kilos of meat and fish, and inflicted a penalty of 4,000 euros. The owner was reported to justice”.
The street Via Lombroso reminds me of something… I go back to the advertising page, and I find that the restaurant that had so impressed me was exactly the one mentioned in the story about the police blitz.
Hence the consideration: why spend money on advertising (negative advertising, at this point!) when the same money can be used for a better management of the kitchen and products, thus avoiding to hurt oneself so much?
It is not true that customers are stupid (as many believe): they remember, and I am convinced that what they remember will not encourage them to go or, much less, return to that restaurant.

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