It's Not Nag, It's Just Me

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Of Beauty, the Beast and the supporting characters

Few weeks ago, i've been invited to visit Pattaya to check out a famous restaurant there and I automatically agreed and took it as a paid-holiday assignment. Since it was a dinner assignment, there was a little dilemma of what time should that be but in the end, we decided to give 6pm a go as we were quite tired and hungry after the 4 hours travelling from Bangkok.

As we reached our target venue, we were 'greeted' by the host, which her role seemed to only pass out the card to all patrons without really advising them what to do with it as if we can read her mind. Well, being in Bangkok for a certain period as well as having experience with Food Loft, we were quite aware of such concept.

To our surprise, the restaurant was quite empty and quite. And because the day was getting dark, we couldn't really enjoy the seaview, hence we decided to sit inside the main hall. Overall, the ambience was literally quiet and cold. We believed the total patrons during that time were less than 10. Despite that, it took the staff sometime to come to our table and put the table number onto our pre-assigned food card.

Without much further ado, we went our different route to explore the restaurant of its food offered. A few visits to different stalls, we decided to go western and Vietnamese. I took the liberty in order the Chicken chop while my companion ordered the infamous Vietnamese pancake. Both orders seemed to went smoothly without much problem though the staff manning the counter could have be a bit more welcoming, at least with a smile or a 'hi'.

However, the most interesting part of the evening had to come from the beverage counter. Since it was relatively cold, i was thinking of getting something hot. And since the menu are mostly cold drinks, I asked a simple question of "Do you have something hot?" to the staff and all I got was a 'What?' response. Perhaps the question was a bit lengthy for him to digest, I shortened it to just one word "Hot?" but still failed. Finally, I went more specific and said 'Hot tea' of then he asked me to go to the opposite counter to order. And i thought this was supposed to be a beverage counter. Should be much appropriate to have a sign that said 'Cold Beverage Counter'. I decided to change my mind and order a Fresh Coconut instead. Until now, I still could not understand how could the word 'Coconut' could possibly become 'Chocolate' considering the pronounciation is relatively different. I already had some doubt when he asked me if I wanted Ice to go with my coconut, which I said no. He came back with a glass of cold chocolate. Not sure if I should laugh or cry.

After finishing our meal, we decided to order again, this time we went to the 'dim sum' counter. Perhaps the best out of the three as the female staff was all smile and welcoming. Sadly, it took more than 15 minutes for our three plates of 'dim sum' to arrive and it's quite salty too, especially the Fried Prawn Dumpling.

As the time reaching 7'o clock, the restaurant start to get busy with customers and this is where the service, I believed started to deteriorate. While the Supervisor was very focus and busy attending customers, however, her face was quite serious and at times including the way she stands while assisting the customers. I'm not going to explain how one should stand but perhaps the management could treat their staff to a nice restaurant in Bangkok and observe how professional staff actually service the customers.

And the presentation of the food, it's just too oily. When the Vietnamese pancake arrived, we can clearly saw drips of oil splattered all over the plate and as I picked the plate, my finger easily touched the oil. Similarly the Chicken Chop, I believed, the chef could have absorb the oil from the chicken with those kitchen towel before sending it to customers. Currently, it's as if it's dip into hot oil, pick it up and drop onto the plate and send it out. And let's not go to the french fries. It's unmentionable.

And coming back to the topic of the service deteriorated, it was the cleaning part. With more customers leaving, most of the tables were left uncleaned for more than 10 minutes. And when the staff decided to clean it, all they did are to transfer all the dirty plates and tissues into one table. And that table had to be the table in front of me. Imagine enjoying your meal while facing a stack of dirty plates and used tissue. Speechless.

Oh...and coming back to the title of this entry. In Disney's Beauty and the Beast, the Beast at the end turned into the prince charming while all the supporting characters returned to human form. And if Food Wave is the castle and the customers are the 'Belles', the Beast and the supporting characters will have a lot to do to ensure the 'Belles' finally see the beauty behind the Beast.

One simple and easy advice, please visit Starbucks next door, and learned from them, how they service their patrons and the effort they put in upselling and cross-selling.

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