Is it being dispensed in bowls or cups that are room temp or colder? Do they stir soup before taking or just take from top of pot? When the waitstaff takes the soup ,Do they serve it right away or leave it on the service tray till every thing else is assembled on it? .? If served in a cup or saucer is the underliner on top of the bowl or cup or under till it hits dining room?
I have seen all of the above done to many times to count. Time the portion from dish out to the time patron actually gets it. This should provide answers to the problem. Stand their and watch a while. Normally you loose 10 degrees between normal service from kitchen to DR. Air conditioning blower ducts overhead will cool more.. I customer is busy talking that will also make it colder. Also older people like to complain about something as it gives them something to talk about.
We keep the cups and bowls in a warmer, and we do try to ladle from the bottom of the container. The time between dishing and eating is usually pretty short, as it is a small kitchen and dining room. I think dcarch is right about elderly being less able to sense how hot it is. We have several members who insist on having it nuked so it's bubbly and boiling, which isn't really good for a cream based soup as it tends to separate. I guess I just get a little frustrated when they tell me its 'ice cold'. Thanks for the suggestions chefs.
Skagitchef, It;s not you, it's them. Most of these people grew up with soup being realty hot. I remember the dinner table as a kid being Very hot chicken soup with a bowl of cold egg noodles on the table to cool it off as needed. It's not easy satisfying everyone's tastes in a SC home, all their tastes are off from what it used to be, everything tastes different than they remember. You should try to remember that when your cooking, a mild sauce will be bland and so on. Thet is why they like comfort food so much, it has flavor and most of the time it;s easy eating. Biscuits and gravy, Pot Roast, Chicken pot pie and so on................................ChefBillyB
Keep in mind, too, that as people age their ability to discern both temperature and flavoring declines.
Saw that with both my grandfather and father-in-law, for instance. No matter what you did to it, the soup was never hot enough, nor salty enough. With my granddad in particular, the bowl could actually still have bubbles rising, and he'd complain that it wasn't hot enough.