Workplace Consultants’ Curry Night

June 8, 2011

The workplace consultants invited us for a curry last week to celebrate their appointment on the workplace transformation project.

The partner invited ten of us but only booked for seven. They figured that one or two would be late, a couple would leave early and at any point in time and – given the pub visit first – one or two would be in the lavatory. They thought it best not to take any more space than was required at any time.

We all sat in Reception on sofas. They thought it was a cooler, more sociable place to eat than the tables that were designed for the purpose. We shared the space with those waiting for takeaways who had nothing to do with our party, but we were told it was great to network horizontally. No-one spoke to us though.

We were issued with a very small tray for our drinks and food, which had to be taken with us whenever we moved place or went to the lavatory.

There was no need for menus as the host had pre-ordered, based on benchmarking studies of what other people have in other restaurants, some of which were curry houses. In this way everyone could eat what they needed only when they needed it. They had ordered for seven too, based on anecdotal evidence that people always over-order in the curry house, especially those under thirty because they are always on their handheld devices and so not paying attention.

Four attendees took food home as they said it was more comfortable there.

For those of us that stayed, the dishes were all arranged on the floor in a random fashion. The red napkins were placed between the dishes for accent colour. The guidance was that if we took food and didn’t want it we had to put it back where we found it. No-one was allowed to have their own dish in case they left some, which would, after all, be wasteful. We had to pass our plates around too, and swap seats, which got very confusing. We mostly ended up spending our time transferring food back and forwards between the plates and the dishes until it got cold. I chased the chicken tikka around the group but never actually got to eat any.

The meal petered out a little when one attendee got up and walked through the lamb bhuna.

When the bill arrived, the host had marked it up by 5% of the total, for the costs of organising the evening out plus an extra 10% for the dish arrangement which wasn’t in the original scope but happened anyway.

Splitting the bill wasn’t easy, as four had gone home, and three of the party had logged the time spent by all attendees in the lavatory. They had worked out that as they were present only 60% of the time their share should reflect this. We were assured it was much cheaper than had we all stayed and been able to order our own food, and so we should be very happy about that.

Yesterday we received a Post-Curry Survey which asked us “Didn’t you think the curry night was fantastic?” and instructed us to tick the one box in the response section which said “Oh yes, deffo”. We were asked to approve a write-up in a few journals and to co-present on effective flexible dining management at a conference later in the year, albeit not to say much but just to add some client credibility and increase our profile.

No-one was sure when we would do it again, as no-one knew where they would be at any point in the next few months. But apparently next time we are going for a pizza……