A timeless lesson on how consultants can make a difference
for an organization
Last week, we took some friends out to a new restaurant,
and noticed that the waiter who took our order carried a
spoon in his shirt pocket.
It seemed a little strange, but I ignored it. However, when
the busboy brought out water and utensils, I noticed he also
had a spoon in his shirt pocket, then looked around the room
and saw that all the staff had spoons in their pockets.
When the waiter came back to serve our soup I asked,
"Why the spoon?"
"Well," he explained, "the restaurant's owners hired Anderson
Consulting, experts in efficiency, in order to revamp all our
After several months of statistical analysis, they concluded
that customers drop their spoons 73.84 percent more often
than any other utensil. This represents a drop frequency of
approximately 3 spoons per table per hour. If our personnel
is prepared to deal with that contingency, we can reduce the
number of trips back to the kitchen and save 15 man-hours
As luck would have it I dropped my spoon and he was able
to replace it with his spare spoon.
"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 rather
The waiter served our main course and I continued to look
around. I then noticed that there was a very thin string hanging
out of the waiter's fly. Looking around, I noticed that all the
waiters had the same string hanging from their flies.
My curiosity got the better of me and before he walked off,
I asked the waiter, "Excuse me, but can you tell me why you
have that string right there?"
"Oh, certainly!" he answered, lowering his voice. "Not everyone
is as observant as you. That consulting firm I mentioned also found
out that we can save time in the restroom."
"See," he continued, "by tying this string to the tip of you
know what, we can pull it out overthe urinal without touching
it and that way eliminate the need to wash the hands, shortening
the time spent in the restroom by 76.39 percent."
"Okay, that makes sense, but
if the string helps
you get it out, how do you put it back in?"
"Well," he whispered, lowering his voice even further, "I
don't know about the others, but I use the spoon."