Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Blue Orchid and the Critical Non-Essentials

What a fabulous name that would be for a band? Thankfully it is also a suitably intriguing title for today’s blog post.

To clarify, The Blue Orchid is a Thai restaurant in Marlborough, Wiltshire, which we visited on Saturday evening with our good friends and talented entrepreneurs, Robin and Judy Winnett, and the Critical Non-Essentials (Or CNEs) are those little touches that while not essential to a business, can ultimately dictate its success or failure.

I wrote about Paddi Lund the guy who coined the concept of CNEs in a blog entry after a group of us went to see the Brisbane dentist live in Birmingham. Throw in the Brad Sugars event in Las Vegas which talked about the ‘common sense mistakes’ and it is little wonder that ever since it has been easy for Morgan PR to spot where businesses fall short on their CNEs.

Leaving aside the food, which was pretty good if rather small portions – not as good as the Siam Orchid in Andover but better than The Old Thai House in Newbury, which is still finding its feet. So it comes down to the supporting acts.

Disappointing was the intermittent topping up of wine. Now don’t think I’m not afraid to top up my own wine, I just feel that if someone starts then they should carry on; here it was done if someone thought to do it.

Poor to the point of complaint (if we were not frightfully British!) was the response when we asked for them to call us a taxi. It turns out they do not do that. It is ‘too difficult’. However, we were free to use their phone if we wanted to try! (In the event we walked out and picked up a taxi without any problem!).

Excellent was the way the same waiter who could not help with the taxi order positively shone with a unique flourish I’ve not seen before. Rather than pop the piping hot towelettes on the tables for us to pluck and juggle, he neatly tore each one open and presented them in turn. So we did not have to fiddle with those wrappers. How excellent was that?

Rather nice was the helping on with jackets as we left – imagine the impact of this quality departure if it had followed an entirely positive experience?

The restaurant has been ‘under new management since 12 July’, as a notice informed us, so maybe it too is finding its feet.

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