Nom nom nom
Some years ago I lived in Dorset for a while. I loved the peace and tranquility. I loved the ability to walk over the hills with the kids and the dog. I loved waked up on a Saturday and asking not “shall we go to the beach today” but “which beach shall we go to today!”
One of the things I did not like was the lack of restaurants. Or rather, good restaurants. I once asked a neighbour for a recommendation for a good Chinese restaurant. I was told that without doubt, a particular restaurant on the sea front in Weymouth was the answer. So popular was the establishment that I should book if I wanted any chance of getting in on a Saturday night. I duly booked, and turned up with my guests. I should have realised my mistake when I noticed that the floor was sticky and they only did an all you can eat buffet that had been sitting there all day, but apparently in some parts of the country, this still passes for good food. This was some years ago, so perhaps things have changed.
On returning to London, I was delighted to be reminded just how many amazing restaurants there are to choose from. The wide variety of cuisines, venues, locations and budgets. There is literally something for everyone. What is often the same, however, is how the staff treat us, especially when faced with someone from a different background. For example, there are several Chinese restaurants I go to locally who always insist on giving me a spoon and fork, without even asking me if that’s what I want. I’ve been going to Chinese restaurants since before I could walk. I have done 3 weeks in China where if you can’t eat with chopsticks, you can’t eat at all! Nevertheless, because I am not Chinese, they assume I need cutlery and don’t realise that it can be offensive to jump to that conclusion. Restaurants serving spicy food can be the same. They assume that because I’m not from a similar background, I will want everything to be bland. If I ask if something is hot, they enthusiastically reassure me that it is not, and then look surprised when I’m disappointed and don’t order the dish.
In all aspects of business, whether it’s food, drink or something less important, it’s easy to make assumptions about what your customers want. You may not realise that you are upsetting them, and you may be missing out on an opportunity to develop your relationship with them in a variety of ways. If you have standard Ts and Cs, these may include things that don’t apply to every situation, and this can’t necessary be avoided, but you can put a clause in that makes it clear that clauses that aren’t relevant, can be ignored. However, what if you are doing a bespoke contract for a specific project? Instead of just presenting your client with your standard wording, without much consideration for what is actually required, you can work with the other side to prepare Heads of Terms, which is simply a brief document that summarises the key points and confirms anything that you have agreed will not be included. The solicitors then use this to produce a document that will hopefully work for both sides, without including clauses that are irrelevant and could cause offence. It can also help save time and money in the long run.
If you’re about to enter into a new contract with a client, and you would like some help preparing the paperwork drop me a line at email@example.com. We’ll find somewhere nice for lunch, where the floor isn’t sticky and the staff are open minded.
Kleyman & Co Solicitors. The full service law firm. Food for thought.