Waiter to Wine

The opening day of my first restaurant was a very nerve-racking experience. That it was in Kathmandu added to the adventure and as a result, I had to look into every single detail of the operation to make sure it was to the highest standard. To that end, we had spent weeks getting everything in place and now our first guests had arrived and were ordering some drinks. Everything was pristine, the fixtures and fittings gleaming and the staff fresh-faced and almost as nervous as myself.

As I floated between kitchen, dining room, bar, terrace and garden, checking and double checking that all was ready, one of my waiters approached me tentatively and waited politely for me to finish my discussion with one of the team. Eventually he timidly told me "Sir, the guests want some wine."
"That's great news Hari, we have loads in stock so just go and see the bartender. And make sure they are well looked after." Struggling with his English, he said "Sir, the thing is, I can't serve any wine"
"What do you mean you can't 'serve any wine'? I said incredulously, "We have done all the training and now you say you can't serve the wine?"
"No Sir," he continued, "I know how to serve it, but I can't. We don't have the right eh... (how you say in English...?).."
But I cut him off; "What... you mean wine glasses? Of course we do.. they're the best ones I could find in the city... and there's 200 of them in the bar. Use those!" I roared.
"Not glasses Sir, we don't have eh... (how you say?).." he replied, desperate to tell me the problem.
"You mean wine bucket?' I offered. "We have loads. Make sure you use a really clean one with lots of ice and a fresh napkin" I barked. By now I was getting pretty riled up.
Just then the head waiter passed and the two lads had a brief exchange in Nepali about the problem.

Then he smiled once he knew the phrase he needed:
"Wine opener Sir! We don't have a wine opener. What shall we do?" As I dispatched the keenest-looking dishwasher to run to the nearest store with a few rupee, we burst out laughing at the thought of it: all that preparation and we had forgotten something so simple. Sometimes you really do need to sweat the small stuff.

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