The Good, Bad, and Great Restaurant
By Vanette Colmenares
Just right after new year’s, my hubby felt like eating ‘crispy pata’ or fried pork hock. We then trotted to the original Filipino restaurant, which has now expanded, right on Queens Boulevard. Not only is the food good but we personally know the owner, which made it a more personal choice.
However, right after we were seated, hubby decides to change his order to the more saucey ‘pata tim’ or stewed pork hock and also ordered ‘sauted bittermelon’ otherwise known as ginisang amargoso. The meal could be called ‘Cholesterol Express’ because the pork hock brings the cholesterol.
A patron’s main criteria for going to a restaurant is good food. And the second measure of why one wants to go back is good service. So it was no second guessing for us when we decided to go for the authentic Filipino restaurant.
Just because we are friends with the owner, did not mean automatic special treatment (although sometimes we do get one). So when our order took longer than expected, we started to complain.
Other guests who came in much later than us were being served their meal. Our friend, the owner, was very apologetic and did not offer any excuses.
The thing was, they completely forgot to put our order on the POS — the computer system that establishes order protocol.
After expressing our complaint, our order came like a breeze. The true restauranteur’s way of offering apology was to give us desserts free of charge. And for that, we had turon with ice cream. That was cool and nice of them.
This reminded me of an incident when our meal at the Olive Garden was being served. The plate which the waitress was carrying was so hot that some of the food spilled on my friend’s coat. The management offered to dry clean it (to get the bill and present it later on for refund). The management also gave her a new dish of her order. Moreover, that night, our meal was ‘on the house’. Imagine that!
Our appetizers, entrees, dessert and drink were all on the house for just tiny splashes of sauce on a coat. Later on, my friend just wiped them off at home, but we had the benefit of a good meal, and the service was good too.
The next day, I craved for yummy halo-halo for snack even if it was in the middle of winter. I checked the reviews for the best Filipino halo-halo and to my surprise, it was the restaurant beside the one we just went to the previous day. So off again, we walked.
Hubby heard that the resto offered “kambing kilawin” but when he ordered for it, it was not available. Anyway, while hubby was discussing about the ‘goat ceviche,’ I was busy ordering my halo halo (2 orders for each of us) plus a ‘fried vegetable lumpia’–the one with lots of monggo bean sprouts inside a wrapper and fried. Then you dip it on garlic vinegar—- that would have been my crazy merienda.
Our order came in all mistaken. The guy only brought in one halo-halo, and I did not wait again for another to be made so that hubby could have his. He brought in ‘kinilaw’ or fish ceviche, which we did not order and there was no fried lumpia togue.
He probably thought the kilawin was the same thing as kinilaw. If I was a rude customer, I would have bashed the waiter but I just laughed and shook my head in disbelief.
So hubby and I shared a halo-halo, and had the ceviche wrapped. After having it, I asked for the bill. I did complain and think that the waiter was not well trained for that day, so here’s my take:
First, the waiter should have written the order properly. He said he did and took out a scratch paper and showed me that he wrote what he brought out. But what he wrote and brought to us was wrong. He should have repeated our order to us to avoid the big mistake.
Second, after acknowledging the mistake in front of the cashier, the least they could have done was to offer a discount, a dessert, as a token of apology to the customer.
And third, not only did the waiter admit the second mistake, but also apologized for the heater that broke down days ago and has not been fixed. No wonder they were all wearing sweaters/coats inside the restaurant.
And I’d like to end with this quote by Bob Burg and David Mann from “The Go Giver” – “A bad restaurant tries to give just enough food and service, both in quantity and quality, to justify the money it takes from the customer. A good restaurant strives to give the most quantity and quality for the money it takes. But a great restaurant strives to defy imagination! Its goal is to provide a higher quality of food and service than any amount of money could possibly pay for.”
I rest my case.