Over past few years, eating out has become very common. With the rising number of restaurants all around, Meghana and I keep on trying different places from time to time. And we are seeing some common problem across the restaurants. Lack of good service is the most recurring problem.
Recently we visited Melange by Four Seasons and had a not so good experience. The person looking after our table, was completely lax and lacking basic hospitality skills. When there's a buffet, customer asks for soup and starters, it is a common sense to serve soup first followed by starters. But no. We were served the starters first and then soup. The starters had higher quantities of salt and other spices as compared to the soup, which made the soup taste absolutely bland. As usual Meghana called up the manager. The manager and the waiter were perplexed - both of them had no clue why we were upset. After much deliberation amongst themselves, finally manager approached. We explained the problem and he responded saying he'll ask the Chef to check the taste of the soup. We repeatedly told that there is probably nohting wrong with the test of the soup, but their process of serving food definitely has problems. It dawned on us that this point was absolutely unfathomable for that poor chap.
On the New Year's Day, we celebrated Meghana's promotion at Doubletree by Hilton. The restaurant was offering a buffet and the spread looked fine. When the starters were served, we realized that the starters were precooked and had gone cold!! Again we had to call manager and get some freshly prepared starters. When it was time for bill, the waiter also handed over a feedback form and a customer info form. Nothing great about the feedback form, but customer info form was a gem. It had usual info like name, phone number, email, followed by "Wife's name". Since Meghana was hosting the party, I wrote down her name and email address and then I was dumbstruck - how can a hotel like Hilton assume that their patron can only be MALE? But thankfully the manager was sensible enough to understand and acknowledge the problem. He assured to change the form. I have no plans to visit that place again to check it out.
On one another occasion, we were at Oasis Resort. It was chilly outside, so we opted for their closed air restaurant as against the usual open to sky. The ambiance was nice. From the starters menu, the name "Crispy Fried Veg in Chilli Jam" looked interesting. So we placed an order for the same along with soup. We were served the soup in due time and were enjoying it. When we were done with the soup, and were wondering why starters haven't served yet, the waiter informed us that there is no Chilli Jam available in the kitchen and is it okay to serve only "Crispy Veg". If some ingredients were missing, shouldn't the chef be realizing it immediately? It would have been okay to immediately inform the customer about unavailability of some ingredient. This looked like a mistake in conveying the order or in making the right dish. It would have been lot more appreciated if the waiter or captain had taken effort to approach and explain that some mistake has happened and either he can serve the dish that was ready or if we were ready to wait.
We had experiences like this at other places as well - Barbeque Nation at Deccan, Manali Veg in Kothrud, CCD in Bengaluru. It looks like the staff in hospitality industry - specially the customer facing people - need to be lot more sensitive to customer experience. None of them simply can afford to have "just a bad day at work". Their managers need to be paying close attention to each and every staff personnel, ensuring they are constantly in right mood and attitude to serve the customers. Customers visit the restaurants for experience - a great experience - and they are not wrong in expecting great service on every occasion. Someone in the hospitality industry needs to get this right!!