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What’s in a name? Plenty.

22 Mar

March 22, 2102

Those of you who read my first Celebrity Apprentice Recap will recall that the challenge was to sell the most sandwiches at a Café Metro location. Café Metro is a place where I take out food fairly regularly. In addition to pretty good sandwiches and entrees they make amazing salads, fresh, right in front of you, with almost any ingredient you can think of. But enough of that, this is not going to be a free ad for Café Metro. In fact, part two of this blog will demonstrate just how little they want my business.

As I said, I am a semi-regular at the Café Metro near the Company I Am employed by. The day after that episode of The Apprentice aired I was standing at the register and looking at a video screen they have mounted in front of the counter and of course it was showing highlights of the show and behind the scenes photos taken during the shoot at Café Metro. So who do I come face to face with, so to speak? Paul Teutul Senior, looking straight at me. Anyone who follows The American Chopper Weekly Rundown will know that being face to face with Paul Senior is not on my list of Top Ten things to do at lunch. But at least the salad was good.

Café Metro is not the only place to eat around where I work. A few blocks away is a slightly seedy place called Metrocafe. Metrocafe is a bit of a dump but it has an A rating from Mayor Bloomberg’s vaunted food regulators so it has to be good, right? Right? Anyway, they sell pizza in the front and upstairs they have a hot food counter. The pizza is passable if a little bland and the hot food is edible. There is a ton of foot traffic where I work so there is more than enough business for this place and the other 20 or 30 restaurants located within a few square blocks.

I was in the Metrocafe eating some bland pizza for lunch one day with Saarah when she asked “Isn’t the salad place named the Metrocafe? I was thinking the same thing. In fact, I was sure they had the same name but looking around at the cramped, old, and honestly dirty pizzeria I was sure there had to be no connection between the two. How could this be a part of the same clean chain we saw on TV and I see in person every day? It could not and the next day when I saw that the name of the salad place was not Metrocafe but Café Metro you can understand the dawn of realization that spread over my brain.

Obviously the Metrocafe is treading on the good name of the Café Metro. The similarities end there, however, as one place is clean and has good food and the other is the Metrocafe.

Now, much as I would like to stop here while the story makes sense I cannot. There is a third contender in the culinary obfuscation race, and sadly it is my own office building. We have a world class cafeteria (which for some reason we tend to ignore in favor of gas station food) in our back pocket and it was not until just this week when I was pondering the Café Metro/Metrocafe nonsense that I noticed that our cafeteria is called The Metro Café.

So we have:
The Metro Café in my building.
The Café Metro across the plaza.
The Metrocafe a couple of blocks away near the other end of the plaza.

I have to assume that I have simply not yet stumbled across the Cafemetro, which is the last combination left unused above.

Clearly, the Café Metro has a good name which they are failing to defend properly. But that is no surprise since they did so little to get my business in the first place and even tried to drive me away.

And all over a discount card.

To Be Continued
(But Not Tomorrow)

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