Starving in the Voodoo Restaurant

Starving in the Voodoo Restaurant

The story below about VoodooFood Restaurant is modelled after a firewall rule implementation procedure. All names, characters, processes and incidents portrayed in this story are fictitious. No identification with actual telecom providers or other large businesses is intended or should be inferred.

Hi, Welcome to voodoo food restaurant what can I get for you?

I would like a steak. Medium-rare, and with a salad, and an ice cream for dessert


This would be the beginning to a long and painful process to get a simple job done. Steak at medium rare should take a few minutes cooking on each side, and a restaurant should be ready to handle this without a problem.
Sorry, a steak is something that needs to be cooked. I have cancelled your entire order, because you need to speak with the chef first
Ok, please point me to the chef.
Sorry, you can’t speak to the chef directly, but you can raise a request for the chef if you go to the bar, the bartender can take your request down and handle your request

This seems a bit odd, why can’t the waiter go to the bartender? Ok, no problem. I go to the bar, talk to the bartender about ordering a steak, a salad and an ice cream. He accepts this request, and provides me with a list of chefs who can handle my request. I choose a nice looking chef and then wait.
And wait.
And wait.
A week passes, and I still haven’t heard anything, so I contact the chef that I had chosen at the bar, and he’s confused. He was never notified that I had put in a request at the bar. It’s ok though, now he has my request and will get right on the steak.  Great!
I get a notification that my steak is done. An empty plate shows up. No salad, no steak, no nothing. Something has gone wrong. I ask the chef, the bartender, and the waiter what I need to do to get a steak dinner here. No answer. I then create a meeting between all of us. The server doesn’t show up, because he has no idea what this would be about, so he decides to ignore both my email and my meeting invite. The bartender and the chef confirm that I have made a mistake, and after putting a request in at the bar, I have to go talk to the chef which would handle my order. Also, I should not choose a chef in the list, since it’s not mandatory.  This seems a bit conflicting, as I need to notify the chef that an order is there, but there is no chef to notify…? Additionally, after talking with everyone, we also discover that when the chef cooked my steak previously, he turned on the grill, grabbed the tongs, salted the grill, seasoned the board and put up the plate. When I asked what about the steak, “Oh yes, I guess I missed that step. I’ll do it now”.  In the meeting we discuss how to make a steak. I can now see the chef cooking the steak on the grill and I can almost taste sweet sweet victory.
History has shown however, that this victory may be pre-mature. As I have most of the parties in the meeting, I ask for a complete overview of the entire process. As I order steak frequently, I want to optimize my efficiency and be able to avoid unnecessary delays. The process is described as follows:
  1. Raise a request at the bar. The request at the bar allows you to split your order in two, those which can be done right away like the salad and ice cream, and those which require cooking, which have to go to the chef.
  2. The first bar request can then go to the waiter, who will bring your ice cream and your salad immediately. As long as there’s nothing to be cooked on your order you will get it immediately. If you don’t care about melted ice cream by dessert time, then this is the route to go as it may prevent starvation.
  3. The cooking request then goes to the chef. The chef can cook the steak, however after cooking it must be inspected by the health inspector to ensure it’s safe to eat.
    This will be my next setback which at this point is rather expected.
  4. After cooking, I need to take the steak to the health inspector, who can be found in the main office.
  5. The health inspector is the one who will finally bring me my steak, upon successful inspection.
I take my steak directly from the grill to the health inspector. The health inspector looks at me and the following conversation takes place:

Please hand me your food for inspection

Sure – Here’s my plate with a delicious steak

I’m sorry, there is no food on your plate

Yes there is, it’s right there. Steak. Please inspect it so I can eat it.

I’m sorry, there is no food on your plate

The health inspector has a label which says “How’s my inspecting? Contact the chief medical officer at <phone number>”. I then contact the chief medical officer to say that there’s something wrong with the health inspector, as I have a plate with a steak on it, and he says there is nothing to inspect. The chief medical officer then says ah yes, we have problems with certain plates. What shape is your plate? I answer the plate is round, and she says “Ok, can you try with an square plate?”. I begrudgingly put my steak onto a square plate, and go back to the health inspector who now is refusing to respond at all. I then go back to the chief medical officer, who says yes sorry that appears to be a problem, but actually human resources is not really my area. I can only do health inspections, so if I have a problem with the health inspector, I’ll need to talk to the personnel manager to see about getting the health inspector inspected, and I can then proceed with my request.
After straightening out the plate issue, I was finally able to proceed with food inspections; I was told that they have a backlog of around 300 inspections, so when do I need this by? I said maybe next week would be nice, and was told that this is completely unrealistic. I then said well it would be nice if I could eat sometime, so let’s just get it in the queue for inspection and we’ll see what happens. The following conversation took place

Do you have the statement letter from the chef, that shows this steak is cooked?

The chef never gave me a letter, but I can assure you, this steak is cooked. You can see that it is brown, not red, and that the initials of the chef are charred into it. It’s his signature dish, so he braizes every steak with his initials

I’m sorry, but I can’t know if this is cooked or not, unless I have a letter from the chef written while he was cooking it, which indicates if it is cooked or not.

I’m now six weeks into waiting for my steak. I don’t see any end in sight. Steak should take a few minutes on each side to cook, and I can understand the need for a health inspector; however, I cannot single-handedly manage the personnel, the health inspector, the cook, the bartender, and maybe even the farmer and food supply chain! I just want to eat!

Update from Mid-July (two weeks later)

I have been notified now by the lab, which produces the equipment which will test my steak, that they have a request for a steak test. The test is in a queue and will be a few weeks until they can produce the testing equipment. Again the lab test equipment provider has requested the letter from the chef, that the steak has been cooked. Why the lab can’t talk with the health inspector to get this information is beyond me. Info is provided. Hours of life wasted.

Update from end of July – Success!

I have been notified that everything with my steak is complete, and the steak is given to the waiter for delivery. The waiter should bring my steak in the next 48 hours. This ends my three month struggle to have a simple task done, so I’ve written down all steps. I also thought a nice process diagram is in order:

Update from August – Failure!

Since this request is a regular occurrence, I have raised a few requests since. All of these requests have gotten stuck with the bartender. When I contacted the bar manager to see what’s going on, I was informed that my request is at the bar, however they can’t currently accept my request. First I need to fill out another necessity-and-creditworthyness request at the bank, which requires the following information:
  • A doctor’s note that I can eat steak
  • A description of how hungry I am, and why I need a steak
  • A Equifax/SCHUFA letter describing my credit worthiness, that if my steak is too difficult to cook that I am able to pay

Update (Last)

I have become a vegetarian.
The following substitutions can be made:
Steak – Firewall Communication Matrix (Firewall Flow opening)
Server – Helpdesk / Firewall team
Bartender – Portal for firewall exception requests
Chef – Security engineer
Plate shape – browser (Chrome / Internet Explorer)
health inspector – Portal for routing exception requests
Chief medical officer – Application owner for routing exception requests
Personnel manager – Person responsible for portals
Me – a hungry and disappointed client, who is hired at a very high price per day by voodoo restaurant to eat the steak and give an honest opinion on steak quality. To date I’ve spend over a month waiting for a steak.