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Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

I am a self proclaimed coffee addict and Executive Director of a non profit missions agency working primarily in the Mexican cities of Oaxaca, Guadalajara, and Ensenada. I've been married for over 30 years to Chelle, and we have one grown son, Joseph, a graduate of Auburn University in Alabama.

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Handcrafted For You

I recently went with my in-laws to have dinner at one of their favorite local restaurants, Ruby Tuesday.

It is the kind of place that likes to call itself an American Diner. Whatever that is. Basically, it is an upscale coffee shop that charges inflated prices and puts out somewhat average fare.

As I was reading the menu, trying to make sense of the 524 different items offered, a couple of thoughts crossed my mind.

First, if your menu is 17 pages long, and you have another specialty menu to give your guests, just how special is the place. But that is another post. What really caught my attention that night was the term handcrafted.

For Ruby Tuesday, it applied to both steaks and burgers. For the life of me I am still trying to figure that out. How on earth, in a production style restaurant, do you handcraft a steak?

I mean let’s look at this. Stradivarius handcrafted violins. Lots of people handcraft guitars, sculptures, purses, and many other assorted items. But not steaks. You can cook a steak. You can even carve a steak, which believe me is not happening in any Ruby Tuesday kitchen, but you cannot handcraft a steak.

That’s what God or Mother Nature does. I’m even willing to say my buddy Mark Doverspike up in Oregon who is a big cattle rancher does more handcrafting of a steak than any backline kitchen worker.

But here is what was truly amazing that night. Someone at another table asked for a small dinner salad with their “handcrafted” steak. The waitress was quick to say that they would have to order the salad bar, as Ruby Tuesday did not have a dinner salad.

Flustered the guest asked the waitress if they could just make up a salad for her. After a moment of thought, a solution was offered. The waitress offered to go to the salad bar herself and, you guessed it, “handcraft” a salad!

It was a great moment of corporate marketing on steroids. That poor little waitress had no idea she was being ridiculous. She was just following orders. If corporate said they handcrafted food, then logic aside, they could handcraft anything. Steak, lemonade, burgers, even a salad.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I am heading to lunch, at In-N-Out Burger. Where they really do handcraft their burgers, [ground and pressed fresh daily] and fries.

And then I’ll head over to Seattle’s Best Coffee for dessert and of course, my handcrafted coffee. Whatever that means.

**Just a quick update... last night I was watching the tube, and Chili's, another chain restaurant, came on with a commercial for their "handcrafted" tacos. I just have a couple of thoughts on that... 1. Aren't all tacos handcrafted? and 2. If I want tacos, I'll get them in Mexico, thank you!**

Comments on "Handcrafted For You"


Blogger James' Muse said ... (7:53 PM) : 

I think I'm gonna go out for some handcrafted taco bell after work tonight. Maybe grab a handcrafted beer to go with it.


Blogger Patrick M said ... (2:42 PM) : 

I think this post just inspired a new euphemism: Handcrafted personal entertainment. I'll let you sort that out on your own.


Blogger Tim said ... (9:04 PM) : 

I have eaten at Ruby Tuesday only if there are no other alternatives nearby. I travel a lot and eat out, and I must say I'd rather hit Applebee's, Carraba's or any number of chains before RT's. Usually, I try to find a local place that is NOT a chain. That's where the good stuff is.


Blogger Beth said ... (10:02 PM) : 

I have to laugh because these are catch phrases used my marketing people to sell stuff, much like Obama uses catch phrases that don't mean anything to sell whatever crap he is trying to make into law, but you bought him hook, line and sinker!


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