Wednesday, 15 April 2015 14:06

I like steak... (With Porsche Content)

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"Hello, my name is Jon and I like steak."

I admit it, I am a self confessed carnivore although I do occasionally feel guilty about it and do have a problem with eating baby animals, such as lamb. This is on the basis that they are cute and very innocent. Or veal for the same reasons but with the additional element of how veal calfs are raised...


But I do love steak.

Apart from moments of carnivore guilt and contemplation of becoming a vegetarian, I love going to a good steak restaurant and devouring a perfect steak in great surroundings with good company, followed up with a coffee and conversation.

What has this got to do with my normal favourite subject and obsession of anything Porsche related?

I will get to that, I promise and you will understand, so please stay with me and keep reading.

At home I do pride myself on being able to cook, in particular I am known to cook a mean steak myself.. Blue, rare, medium or well done, people comment that they have enjoyed my steaks as much as the ones we have shared at steak houses, but for me, they never compare, perhaps that is something to do with the phenomena that food always tastes better when someone else has cooked it.

I am sure the steak I buy to cook at home is as good as can be bought, I am a steak lover, so I do take pride in buying the right ingredients, seasoning the steak properly and cooking it with years of practice as well as taking note from various television programs from the likes of Jamie or Nigella.

But still.. I go to a steak restaurant where it always tastes better and I can relax and let some professionals take care of providing my carnivorous fix.

One thing I have never done, or even considered though is to turn up to a steak restaurant brandishing my own steak with the intention of having the restaurant cook it for me. I am not sure why not, it just does not seem to be the done thing, almost rude, cheeky or wrong.

As well as a steak lover, I am also a thinker. You might have got that from my guilty ponderings on if I should become a vegitarian. I like to question things, especially the status quo, not the heavy metal band, but the way society is and our expectations are as well as traditions.


Traditionally, we don't ask restaurants to cook our produce, we ask them to supply a package, their produce, their skills, in their surroundings and we expect the outcome to be... well... as we expect it, with little input or needing to know how much of a problem they might be having in the kitchen due to late delivery of onions.

Like a duck swimming across a lake, where it seems to glide across a lake while meanwhile under the surface its little legs are flapping around to push it along, we expect that restaurant to seemingly effortlessly provide our dinner, even though behind the scenes there will be cooks cooking, buyers buying produce, bills being paid, maintenance men “maintaining” and all kinds of activities we have no interest in knowing about.

The status quo with how we use restaurants is that we have expectations of what they do for us, and they have expectations that we will sit down, order food, eat food, relax, converse and then go home so they can clear up at the end of the night and go home themselves.

What we do not do is break that unspoken agreement of expectations by asking them to cook our ingredients that we may have purchased from Waitrose or another supermarket earlier that day.

If we were to ask them to cook our ingredients, I expect the answer would be a very firm “No!”, but why?

It may not be immediately obvious, but there will be a number of reasons why a sensible restaurant will say no.

Firstly, hassle.. To cook your ingredients, the restaurant would need to spend precious time inspecting your ingredients, not only to make sure they are suitable, but also to see if they would need to be prepared in a different way to their own ingredients, but also they will need to think about how to bill you, in particular not just for the work of turning those ingredients into a meal, but also for the time inspecting and checking over the ingredients, but also to work out how much to charge on your bill for that service and the space you occupied while consuming those ingredients.


Possibly, a more important reason would be liability;

If you supplied your own ingredients and subsequently suffered food poisoning, who's fault was it? Even if you visited a solicitor to pursue Waitrose for selling you a contaminated steak, that solicitor would also advise that you also pursue the restaurant who prepared it. Waitrose would have their own legal team happy to deal with the complaint, but the restaurant would usually rely on their professional liability insurance to deal with this, insurance that might be invalid if they had not provided the ingredients.

Usually, the restaurants insurance would cover their legal expenses and any compensation paid following a claim against them, and in the event of it being due to contaminated meat supplied by the restaurant, that insurance company would then counter claim against the supplier of the ingredients and so on.. But once you supply your own ingredients, its all going to get very messy, too messy to deal with.


So what has this got to do with Porsche sports cars?

As the owner of a Porsche specialist garage, I am often asked by customers to install parts they have supplied themselves and my answer is nearly always “No!”

Being a thinker and a worrier, I thought that perhaps I owe my customers and explanation and therefore, thought rather than constantly have to list all the reasons, it might be nice to direct them to this article to explain my reasoning.

Lets take a look at those reasons..


Unreasonable people.

My customers are generally reasonable folk, even the ones who ask us to use their own parts. But from time to time, we have had unreasonable people who have behaved in an unreasonable way.

A good example was a couple of years ago, we had a customer with a 996 Turbo which had a noisy transmission. This customer could not afford our price to rebuild it let alone the cost of a new transmission. We had told him we might be happy to install a used transmission from a reliable Porsche recycler, but he had found a company on the internet who could rebuild it very cheaply. So we were asked to remove the transmission, send it to this other company, and then when they had performed their magic, we installed the transmission again.. 5th and 6th gear were the wrong way around!! He paid the transmission company to rebuild it, he paid us for removal and installation. Two years later, he is taking us to court.. The mind boggles.


Poor quality parts.

On the internet and at large national chains of car parts suppliers you can buy aftermarket Porsche parts very very cheaply. But as Porsche specialists, we do not have x-ray vision or the time to extensively test these parts, so even though they are cheap, we choose not to use them, not only because they might be substandard (and we have seen a lot of the consequences of that) but also they might not even be fit for the intended purpose.  We are too busy to be performing a job twice on a car when it could have been performed correctly the first place.. We don't want to waste our time, as well as our customers' money!


The wrong parts.

In the past when we have installed customer supplied parts, more often than not the parts the customer has turned up with, are not even the right parts. Sometimes this is visually obvious, but other times the differences in the correct and wrong part can be so slight, that it is only once you try to install the parts that you will find they are wrong.


Technicians cost money.

A technician standing idle costs the business much more than his wages alone, the total overheads of the business are reliant on the technician earning the business a proportion of the total overheads of the business every hour. So if a technician is not able to perform the work on a customers car, because the customer supplied the wrong parts, should the customer be billed for every unit of time that the technician in stood idle waiting for the correct parts, or even for the time spent explaining to the customer why the parts are wrong?


Lifts cost money.

Like a technician, a car lift in the workshop needs to earn money all the time we are open. If a car is on a lift, having been disassembled to install a customer supplied part, only to then be sat idle while we wait for a replacement part, that would cost the business money, which would then leave an awkward issue of should the customer have to pay to have the car reassembled so it can leave the lift (which might not be possible), or should the customer pay for all the time the lift is occupied? Remember, it might take a couple of days to obtain the correct parts, that's a lot of hours!!

A busy garage has a full schedule.

Luckily our business is very popular, with usually our schedule being full a couple of weeks into the future at the very least. If a job does not go smoothly, this can not only mean the customer who supplied his own parts is let down, but also several other customers as well! Even though replacement parts may be obtained in a couple of days, it may be two weeks before we have a slot to re-assemble your car!



Lets not forget, the machinery we work on is often a 200mph weapon. If we use parts we supply, we know not only are the parts of known origin and quality, but also, in the unlikely event that they fail prematurely, the supplier would liable for this.  Not only liable, but financially liquid and able to quickly resolve compensation for our customer as well as other third parties who may have suffered losses or injuries in the process of a customer supplied part failing.



When billing for installing a customer supplied part, how far should we go in inspecting that part and making sure it fits or is even suitable. Also, will the customer be happy to pay for that time, as obviously they will be sure the part is right, for a number of reasons.

Not only this, but if it all does go wrong, will the customer be happy to pay for the time spent for one of our technicians to explain the problem with the part, which, if the customer is also busy, may take many attempts to get hold of the customer on the telephone.

So just like a restaurant, JMG Porsche have to say “No” when asked to use customer supplied ingredients/parts. It is not as simple as us trying to have a monopoly of the profit made on parts, it is more to do with avoiding messy situations, often with the customers best interests at heart.


Are there exceptions to the rule?

Of course.  As with the customer who owned the 996 Turbo mentioned previously, we may offer to install a used part, such as a used transmission but only when it is the only option (such as the only available part or a serious budget constraint of the customer) and then, only after some consideration and only with a carefully worded disclaimer both verbally and recorded on the invoice with the customer buying the part direct.. But even then, we would rather avoid this complication wherever necessary.

Let us be the restaurant, providing a service in what seems to be an effortless way, while you relax, behind the scenes, we have a lot to worry about and many things to consider on a hourly basis, but that will not be your worry, it's ours.. We want you to enjoy your car, let us help you do this.

In the meantime, if any of my readers want to enjoy a perfect steak, try Miller & Carter, a lovely restaurant in Bournemouth who make an awesome steak. Just tell that Jon at JMG Porsche sent you.. They don't know me, but if enough of you go there, and don't ask them to cook your own steak, they will stay in business and I will also be able to continue enjoying a great steak.. Likewise, if you don't ask us to install your own parts, we too can stay in business and continue to help you enjoy your Porsche!

Read 7402 times Last modified on Thursday, 16 April 2015 12:20
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