confessions of a provisioning department

the 24 hours in advance order

There are lots of reasons why we ask our clients to send us their order in advance, although we work with the very fresh markets you can imagine that our referents really prepare the goods at the very last minute…but there is a world more than fresh fruit and veggies and fresh meat and seafood.

The reasons why we use to ask an advance  order are:

- logistic organization (that is important in a city such as Venice)

- to guarantee the full product availability (obtaining an order in advance most of the times guarantees you will not suffer a lack)

- to source items that are not ready available in our market (some charter guests ask the crew member to provide them with an American or British or Asiatic food which is always a pain in the….)

-…and then we experienced the 4th reason…

it was June, Venice was crowded with boats, they all were in Venice because of the Biennale. We did receive a telephone call from one of our clients, he was asking us an enormous bouquet of phalaenopsis orchids for a birthday on board. The expected delivery date for that bouquet was fixed by the client for the day after. One of my colleagues contacted the client back after the florist confirmation in order to inform him about the price and especially about the fact that the flower order was well organized. He also asked him if everything else was in place for the birthday party and informed the client that during that period, in case of any order, the sooner the better. The client replied with something which sounded like “apart from this order of mine everything else is fine”.

We worked very hard on those days, all our clients were happy with the products, a bit bored by the traffic conditions and it was absolutely too hot to work in Venice. I well remember the morning I saw the mobile number of the clients who asked for the enormous phalaenopsis bouquet. I immediately asked my colleague to call the florist in order to understand if there was any problem we weren’t aware of, in the meantime i answered:

em: good morning, how can i help you?

client: i am expecting my provisioning order…were they are?

em: do you mean your flowers order?

client: oh no, i did received the flowers ten minutes ago but i am still waiting for my drinks

I asked the client to give me ten minutes in order to check everything, he was angry, having guests on board and perfectly nothing to drink.

there wasn’t any order from him except the flowers bouquet. It took all my braveness but i called him back and explained that we had  never received any other order from him, he checked the email he believed he had sent and realized that the e mail server on board had stopped working several hours before.

We always provide our client with a sort of feedback on provisioning list whether it is related to interior or galley. Our feedback can either be “thank you for your order, everything is fine” or the longest e mail ever with queries on every single product mentioned on the list…

The 24 hours in advance order is useful also for this reason,  that is if you do not hear from us shortly after sending an order just check your server…or give us a call!)

- in order to prevent the faint of heart…we worked on our client order immediately, we delivered the drinks with a white sheet on top in order to minimize the inconvenience for the charter guest, they were so happy with the flowers that they did not realized the drinks arrived 10 minutes later.