Friday, August 07, 2009

the spoon

A lesson on how consultants can make a difference in an organization (or, why we should let things be)

Last week, we took some friends to a new restaurant, 'Steve's Place,'
and noticed that the waiter who took our order carried a spoon in his shirt pocket.
It seemed a little strange. When the busboy brought our water and utensils, I observed that he also had a spoon in his shirt pocket. Then I looked around and saw that all the staff had spoons in their pockets. When the waiter came back to serve our soup I inquired, 'Why the spoon?'

'Well, 'he explained, 'the restaurant's owner hired Andersen Consulting to revamp all of our processes. After several months of analysis, they concluded that the spoon was the most frequently dropped utensil. It represents a drop frequency of approximately 3 spoons per table per hour.

If our personnel are better prepared, we can reduce the number of trips back to the kitchen and save 15 man-hours per shift.'
As luck would have it, I dropped my spoon and he replaced it with his spare. 'I'll get another spoon next time I go to the kitchen instead of making an extra trip to get it right now.' I was impressed. I also noticed that there was a string hanging out of the waiter's fly.

Looking around, I saw that all of the waiters had the same string hanging from their flies. So, before he walked off, I asked the waiter, 'Excuse me, but can you tell me why you have that string right there?'

'Oh, certainly!' Then he lowered his voice. 'Not everyone is so observant. That consulting firm I mentioned learned that we can save time in the restroom.

By tying this string to the tip of our you-know-what, we can pull it out
without touching it and eliminate the need to wash our hands, shortening the time spent in the restroom by 76.39%.

I asked quietly, 'After you get it out, how do you put it back?'

'Well,' he whispered, 'I don't know about the others, but I use the spoon

**thanks, YO, for the email**


Robin said...

the lack of wisdom... esp in consultants


Yan said...

For this week, I shall use chopsticks only. And I would patron any restaurant! If I do, I shall ask first whether there is any consultant around! Oh dear, I do have one in my office now. But, I am not running a restaurant!

doc said...


so why do firms keep hiring them??

doc said...


this story just illustrates that not all consultants are thorough in their analysis & application.

hope your consultant does a better job!

JoMel said...

eeeuuuwww!! LOL!!

Michelle Mak said...

steven's corner near my area does tat...they even have tissues in their pocket ready for their customers..

doc said...


this just reinforced what i've always believed - the safest place to have a meal is right at home.

doc said...


now, do you wonder what they do with the tissues when they're in the washroom???

Michelle Mak said...

oh no...thinking twice.....YUCKSSS!!!

doc said...


to avoid all that, cook yourself & eat at home!