If you could have a superpower, what would it be?  Maybe you’d like to fly like Superman.  Heal like Wolverine.  Super strength like the Hulk.  I don’t really need to imagine anymore.  Over a cosy meal, I worked out I have a business process superpower.  As my friend used to tell people repeatedly when he said he was studying for his PhD, you should be impressed by that.  I also have no ordinary business process superpower,  I see dead… anchovies!

Wait… wut?

An appropriate Halloween story, much like the kid from the Sixth Sense, I know when a business process is going to go wrong, often before it happens.

The Business Process of Pizza!

Croma's Inglese Pizza without an anchovy in sight!

Every superhero has to have a thing, having a business process superpower requires sustenance!  Just like a ninja turtle!

Anyone who’s been in Manchester even for a little while has heard of our own local version of Pizza Express, Croma.  Absolutely brilliant food, service and good value too.  Over the years I must have spent enough on my favourite Inglese pizza to have probably afforded to move to Italy or at least somewhere less rainy than Manchester.

The Inglese is like the ultimate pizza for a homesick Cumbrian.  Smoked pancetta, a free-range egg, Cumberland sausage, mozzarella, Worcestershire sauce and tomato and if you want to mess it up with a bit of Lancashire you can have Bury black pudding too.  You can even wash it down with a Peroni (okay, not as Cumbrian as a warm pint of Jennings, but there is a Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding on the dessert menu).

A truly great Inglese must have a runny egg, if it’s not runny, send it back!  It’s the pizza equivalent of corked.

This may quickly degrade into a food blog.

Covid Process Problems

I’d been missing my beloved Ingelse right through lock-down.  I’d been good, following the rules.  However, that damn Rishi Sunak got me with his dishes with the 50% off during summer.  I was back to Croma, to find that my favourite pizza of all time had been socially distanced all the way off the menu.

Discussions with the waiting staff, we figured we could customise one that was on the menu and almost get there.  The Siciliana.  Remove some anchovies, add the egg.  Almost there.  However, my superpowers started tingling.  I knew it could all go horribly wrong and I could see those dead little gross fish staring back at me.  I hate anchovies.  I settled for a lesser more boring pizza and washed down my sorrows with a few pints of Peroni, a limoncello, an affogato with amaretto and staggered home not having paid all that much!  Roll with it, subsidised meals, mean more taxes later…!

However, I was back again, a week or so later.  Whilst my business process superpowers were tingling.  I decided the restaurant was quiet.  There was no way they’d get it wrong.  They had all that time to focus on my order.  I asked the waiter if I take the anchovies off would they mess it up.  He said no.  I felt the hairs on my neck tingling, stupid superpower must have been busted.  I decided to ignore my superpower.  I didn’t add the egg as I thought an extra step would bound to mess it up.  But I caved, so went back to the waiter who added it on.  I needed a pizza that was at least partway like an Inglese!  Oh man, how I’m missing the Inglese.

Process of Customisation

I said to my other half that it was all going to go wrong.  I called it, but I lived in hope for something to get a part fix.

Pizzas arrived with double-quick pronto service, and there was the sight of that runny egg in the middle, so great.  However, I should have listened to my superpower, as the egg was just initially taking my gaze away from those horrid little fish looking at me!

You see, I really do see dead… anchovies!  I knew that was going to go wrong!  If only I’d listened to my superpower like I did the first time we tried to mess with a process and service.

I attempted to be British about it and not say anything to the waiter, however, I really hate anchovies.  My screwed up face said it all.  The other half was laughing very hard too and then the waiter noticed.  He then realised!

Process Recovery

To be fair to Croma, they are absolutely amazing – a new pizza came minus the offending fish in a few minutes.  The waiter even acknowledged I knew it was going to happen.  Which is great that other people now know I have a superpower.  It’s time that I get some kudos for my talents.  Clark Kent and Peter Parker got more attention for their superpower identities.

The manager also popped over to apologise (I’m possibly in there too often) and said it really shouldn’t have been an issue to customise.

Siciliana pizza from croma, modified no ancovies!

If you want to see a picture of the creation that me and the staff made in collaboration – when we perfected it, it’s to the left.  With the original Inglese earlier on in this article.  I thought we did a good job.  I even ordered the same thing again and confused another waiter who thought the Inglese was back then said he was going to try my customisations!  I’ve started a covid-19 reduced menu revolution.

My only concern is that my superpower alter ego doesn’t even have a name… yet.

Oh, and by the way, Croma almost any branch – the service is and always has been nothing short of excellent.  After all my years of going there, the waiting staff genuinely seem to love working there (if not they should really get roles in Coronation Street as they’d clearly be better actors).  So never will I hear a bad word spoken about Croma.

Business Process Superpowers

However, I do remain bemused with processes and how small deviations can result in errors.  I’d already mapped it out in my head prior to ordering, what can go wrong.  Order not being taken properly, till system not set up for changes, changes have to be handwritten in order to the kitchen, chefs being on automatic pilot.  Already my superpower was kicking in with those visions like Peter Parker’s Spidey senses.

Believe it or not – I frequently call it prior to things not being executed properly.  Maybe this is the culmination of the years of experience working with process and technology and understanding that special dance that goes from customer order to fulfilment, no matter which industry.  It could have been that the money spent on training and education, has paid off.  More likely it is the years of working in the nuclear industry that has given me business process superpowers*.

When you’ve got a business process emergency and you need help, we’re here for you though.  Of course, me and the team can’t fly like superman so we merely ask for a reasonable fee and expenses (for pizza).  The team also have specified that I should emphasise that I will not be wearing my underpants over the top of my trousers for customer meetings.

If you think you could benefit from a meeting with Digital Process Transformation Man (hey, I’m working on it) then contact me, his alter ego or the rest of the team here at Unleashed.

Happy Haloween!  Please don’t have nightmares about anchovies.

*working the nuclear industry is only likely to bestow superpowers of tolerance, understanding of large complex processes and patience.  I can’t believe you were thinking about anything else!