Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Proceed with Caution

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.

18 comments:

  1. that's sad to hear....and what is even more saddening is that poor customer service is prevalent here. i remember when i worked in a fast food restaurant in the states, even if the customers were really rude and difficult, i was not to show my disdain EVER. i hope this buffet place/restaurant takes steps in correcting such terrible service.

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  2. ooohhh!! nakakagigil!!! Super nice ka na nga that you didn't mention any specific details. It's disappointing to see that such rude people work for the service industry. Proper social decorum man lang sana. naku. nainis ako for u.

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  3. Hmm.. I think you should let PR contact know what happened.

    The manager shouldn't have treated you that way at all. bad bad service... :(

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  4. Gah, that's very sad to hear, especially from one of the restaurants I (more or less) trust the most when it comes to Chinese food.

    True, hectic or not, it doesn't give people the right to act that way. Poor managerial services if you ask me.

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  5. Being the manager, she should have treated you guys nicely. It only shows that she's not a good example to her staff and it won't be surprising if the staff would act like she does...

    They're still lucky that you didn't mention the restaurant. =)

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  6. @candishhh: actually I informed my PR contact right away as I think she deserves to know what happened. she was very apologetic about it and told me that the manager might have forgotten to take her happy pill. hay...

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  7. What a rude manager! Buti pa si manong guard. Baka mapromote siya haha

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  8. thanks for the head's up Fran, coz i just "promoted" this dimsum buffet to my hubby for us to try, as we really like the food here...but there's really no excuse to the poor service you experienced, as having such "promos" should make management and staff fully prepared and happily face their customers. Coming from the ad/pr industry myself, that was a BIG 'no-no' for your contact to have left you there 'at the mercy' of the rude and tactless manager.

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  9. tsktsktsk... this is really bad... definitely not worth experiencing IMO. It's not you who asked for this...

    I agree with Badet. You are very kind not to mention the resto name..

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  10. lolz dapat pinost mo name nung manager. Nasa lugar ka kaya fran. hindi tama yung inasal nun.

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  11. jori: for the name of the restaurant and branch just explore a lil further down makikita mo rin sya ;) hahaha

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  12. sad to hear about your bad experience, buti nalang my experience wasnt at all bad.

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  13. Since rude siya, mas effective siya maging guard for security.

    The guard would make a better manager I think. :)

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  14. that manager should be reprimanded! she should, of all people, be respectful of the customers no matter what!
    too bad, hubby and i wanted to try this buffet but if it will just be a hassle (long wait for the buffet table to be replenished, disrespectful managers, etc) then i dont think its worth it.

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  15. Hey Fran, ito pala yung sinasabi mo! Well, like I told you, if what you say is fair, I think you have the right to air your side.

    Thanks for giving us a warning!

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  16. two thumbs down :(

    I agree with Jonel, lol!

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  17. not sure if this is the same pr person who has been inviting me to the same restaurant for the same buffet, but incidents like this mar an otherwise pristine reputation and legacy of fine dining. gloriamaris must make this up to you otherwise, their efforts to promote the buffet would have all been wasted. they are already in trouble financially, they NEED people to come to their restaurants as they face stiff competition from newcomers that are cheaper and more delectable. Really!

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  18. i told my contact about what happened and she apologized naman but i havent heard from her since..baka she'll think twice na before inviting me... :-/ heheheh

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