To be very honest, I am currently having a love-hate relationship with Eat-All-You-Can buffets. Being a food lover, dining in buffets is the perfect way to be able to try different menu items without over-ordering and spending a whole lot. However, after trying various eat-all-you-can buffets here and there, I've come to realized that it is also important to choose quality over quantity.
Just yesterday, I accepted a long-standing invite from a friendly PR representative who once invited me to try an afternoon dimsum buffet. The said buffet is being hosted by Gloria Maris Podium. Unfortunately, I had to decline her first few invites as my work schedule was pretty hectic then. Finally, I told her that I'm free on the 21st if the schedule is still ok with her. She agreed and so my dimsum date was set.
With two fellow bloggers in tow, I arrived at the mall a little past 230PM. We proceeded towards the restaurant and I immediately called my contact to inform her that we were already there. Unfortunately, I found out that she couldn't make it as she is currently in another event. She assured me however that we will be endorsed to the store manager. We didn't have any problem with that knowing that we will still be in good hands....or so we thought.
After numerous failed attempts of asking the receptionist to kindly call the manager, we still decided to wait in line together with the other hungry diners. Finally, I approached the guard and asked to see the manager one more time. Thankfully Mr. Guard was more efficient and immediately called the manager. In less than 3 minutes out came the lady manager who had a serious look on her face. I gave her a small smile and immediately introduced ourselves. I told her that we were endorsed by my contact and her reply to us was a curt "O, Tapos?" (Ok, and then?). We were appalled and to be honest I really wanted to back out had it not been for my contact who has been really nice to me.
Apparently, lady manager didn't get the endorsement and was obviously not expecting us to be there. However, her remarked was downright humiliating and had I been a little bit meaner, I would have given her a piece of my mind..then again, I kept my mouth shut. :x
She asked us to wait in line some more and assured us that the next open table would be given to us. Well, at that point we have already reached the front of the line so it was pretty obvious that we were really next in line. We kept our cool and just waited some more.
Finally, we got our table and just when we thought we can just throw all that bad initial impressions away and just enjoy the food, we were surprised to see a half empty buffet table where people would literally just grab every single buchi or pork cutlet on the serving dish. It was simply chaotic.
It was pretty surprising since there was still more than an hour left before the end of the buffet and it was taking forever for each dish to be replenished. My friend who was pretty resourceful thought of getting by installment basis. For instance, we would get some rice during the first round and wait for the meat on his second round.
Surveying the room, it looks like we were not the only unhappy campers there. Standing near the buffet table was an angry looking woman airing out her complaints to the poor waiter. Others were just standing by the buffet table waiting for the dishes to be refilled.
We are just a bunch of nice people, I guess. We even considered the thought that maybe the manager was just caught off-guard earlier thus the excuse for her curt response. We approached her once again to say good bye to which she told us, "So ano na?" (So, what now?). Until she later answered her own question by saying "ok I will just contact _______" without bothering to apologize for her nasty comment earlier.
Pondering over what happened yesterday, I wondered if things would have been different had we arrived earlier. Still, a part of me continues to believe that no matter what, bad service is downright unacceptable whatever the situation may be.
It was disappointing to say the least. I am not writing this to discourage anyone in availing of buffets. Believe me, I am still a believer and a huge fan of buffets but I guess after being burned once.. I will definitely learn to proceed with caution.