March 14, 2011 - Narcissism is Necessary

Archive | March 14, 2011

Restaurant group deal promotion is a joke.

Yesterday, I brought my boyfriend to eat at a steak house, using vouchers I had purchased from a group-buy website. The voucher was a deal of RM39.90 instead of RM79.90 for 3-course meal with refillable drinks.

# – The “deal”.

Earlier last week, I called a published number to make my reservation and the call was received by a man who seemed to be in a mighty rush. I could barely hear him. Halfway through saying my name and details, he cut me off by saying “Text me”. I was still half-way speaking when I had to stop to clarify with him, “You mean to SMS you the details?”. He said, “Yeah, I’m not in restaurant now, just use this number”. I said OK and texted him my details. He replied with another SMS..

# – Our SMS correspondence.

Reservation was efficient and swift, almost downright robotic. Interestingly, I felt mildly abused.

So yeah, yesterday I took my bf to the restaurant. Honestly, I didn’t have supremely high expectations but I did expect fair service for RM40 a person.

Well, at this point, I really don’t feel like elaborating my experience there, why don’t I just list it down in point form?

1. We we were seated by a toilet.

Okay, first of all, the restaurant was not full. Not even close. As to why he sat us by a toilet when there were plenty of seats elsewhere available baffled me. On top of that, I made a reservation a week prior so seriously, he could have seated us somewhere more comfortable.

2. He asked to see my vouchers barely 10 seconds after I sat down.

“Can I see the vouchers?”. I obliged him. Okay, it’s efficiency, I tried to remind myself. But there it was, the unfamiliar lingering sense of being abused washed all over me again.

3. He gave us a piece of laminated menu with only the dishes offered on the deal printed on.

I didn’t give much thought to this at first. I selected my choice of appetizer, main & dessert but as I was beginning to be inundated with feeling of dissatisfaction at my “Flame Grilled Sirloin Steak (Australian grain fed beef, served with baked potato, sweet corn and a tangy side salad)” courtesy of the amount of inedible & chewy fatty bits, I started to wonder whether they had better stuff on the menu and then it hit me…

They didn’t even bother to show me their full menu. They didn’t care whether I’d return or not. Nice one :)

4. Clearing up plates really fast.

Wow, lightning speed clearing up of plates. Good thing I guess till our next point……

5. Bringing dessert really fast.

My bf has finished (or stopped attempting to eat, depending on how you look at it) his main course while I was still trying to eat mine. The efficient waiting staff cleared his plate. And then they brought him his dessert.

And mine too, while I was still eating my main.

It was ice cream atop an apple crumble. I was pissed mad.

6. There were no refillable drinks.

In all the times they approached us to clear our plates, not once that did offer to refill our drinks. NOT ONCE.

# – Free flow? What free flow?

We resorted to putting our empty glasses by the edge of the table hoping to attract some attention but yet, none noticed. Or none cared…I wonder?

At the end of dinner, I truly felt I had overpaid my dinner. RM39.90 for bland, tasteless mushroom soup or 2 pieces of miserable brushetta and the laughable stringy, chewy, fat beef they market as Australian grain-fed sirloins? The only decent thing I had eaten from the deal was the apple crumble dessert, but it wasn’t enough to sweeten the bitter taste I had acquired in my mouth.

As for the customer service? Wow, I’ve never felt so slighted in my life. I mean there are places in Malaysia that you don’t expect to be treated as a paying customer but this restaurant, with it semi-classy setup should not be one of those places. Not especially with the prices they’re charging.

In comparison, I went to Jake’s (a family steak house known for its rich & famous guests as well as its delicious but expensive steaks) dressed in a free t-shirt, sweat pants & dirty sneakers with NO reservation during their peak times and yet I did not feel remotely slighted. And most importantly, they did not seat me by the toilets. And they kept refilling my ice water.

Unless these restaurant owners are properly educated that these deals are platforms for them to prove that they’ve got it, I don’t think I’d ever buy a restaurant voucher from any group-buy website anymore.

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