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People: Robert Donato – The $200 eggs

Robert Donato

By Anita Mitchell, Broward People, for SouthFloridaReporter.com, Sept. 10, 2015 – Robert Donato uses his decades of food service management expertise to teach the next foodie generation at Broward and Miami-Dade culinary schools. Today he is at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts.

Le Cordon Bleu-Miami (although it is really in Miramar) is one of 30 Le Cordon Bleu’s throughout the world. All are guided by the same principles as the original Paris school that opened in 1896.

Know three things: How to cook, how to manage expenses, how to manage people

It’s the kind of higher education place that doesn’t have the distraction of students schlunking around in rumpled clothes, Oh no. Both students and chef instructors are in chefs uniforms. Professors are in pressed white coats.

This place is serious.

Donato agrees that it’s important to look the part. “After all, these are the future chefs who will prepare the wedding your daughter has dreamed of since she was 3. These are future chefs who will study those 50 food pictures she has torn out of magazines,” he said.

Robert A. Donato, best known for getting to the bottom line, tells his students, “All of the education you will get here really boils down to a few things: When you get your degree: You will get hired because you have this degree. You will get fired because you don’t know anything, so remember that your success lies on your ability to do three things well:

1. How to cook
2. How to manage expenses.
3. How to manage people.”

Today Robert Donato told them a story that includes them all.

“An egg cost $ .35.

I was the hotel food service manager at a New York City hotel that offered an $18 per person breakfast buffet. One guest wanted his eggs made to order instead of the scrambled eggs offered on the buffet. The server told the kitchen breakfast cook of his request, and the cook refused to make it. Instead of the server getting a manager involved, she told the guest that it could not be done. The guest got agitated and raised his voice, to which, the server nervously sought the manager’s help. The manager apologized to the guest for the misunderstanding, and he and the chef directed the cook to make the eggs.

The cook made the eggs, but added salt and black pepper to them. The server took the eggs to the table, and the guest, noticing the black pepper on the eggs, went nuts!
In order to diffuse the situation and “make it right” for the guest, the manager comped the breakfast for two (about $50), invited the guests for a complimentary lunch ($100) and provided the guest with frequent stay points ($50)

So, what should have cost the hotel $ .70 to accommodate the guest request actually cost the hotel hundreds of dollars all because of poor people management.”

Any number of things can effect the bottom line. This is one that never should have happened.