What you need to know:
- This year, the various eating places I have visited have disappointed me, especially the “chain” restaurants. First was the one where I had time to kill after a morning wedding whose reception was in the evening. I decided a snack would keep me from starving but not fill me up too much not to enjoy the evening meal. Deep fried gonja was what I went for.
Is there something different about how restaurants make their food these days? Have you like me visited a restaurant recently been charmed by the service and the beautifully made menu but been disappointed by the food when you started feasting on it?
This year, the various eating places I have visited have disappointed me, especially the “chain” restaurants. First was the one where I had time to kill after a morning wedding whose reception was in the evening. I decided a snack would keep me from starving but not fill me up too much not to enjoy the evening meal. Deep fried gonja was what I went for. When it came it was so hot – it tasted like it was microwave oven hot and not freshly fried hot. It was so hot it burnt my tongue. I could not finish the meal and left disappointed. Some months later, my sister and I visited a different branch of the same restaurant. We ordered for our food and had hardly settled into our seats than our meals arrived.
“That was rather fast,” sis said. And then my heart sunk. I had a feeling the food had been made much earlier and had just been warmed, just like what I felt happened with the gonja. That turned out to be the case.
This has been my experience in many of these restaurants. The food seems to be already made and just heated up in a microwave when ordered for. If this is not well done, you find parts of the food steaming hot and other parts cold. In one case, the chicken wings I ordered for were just completely cold. It seems the chef or whoever was responsible completely forgot to warm it up.
Then there are those places that seem to have something up their sleeve. In another “chain restaurant”, the first time we went as a family, everyone enjoyed their food. When the bill came, I noticed the drink our younger daughter had chosen was charged higher than what was stated on the menu. I put this to the waitress who said she would go and check. Her answer when she came back was that the price had been increased but was yet not reflected on the menu. I looked at her with a you-have-got-to-be-kidding-me face but was too tired to query that. The next time we visited the same place, our older daughter who loves anything milk wanted an oreo milkshake but was told that was not available. She asked for chocolate but was given the same answer. She finally settled for the blueberry one. When we were done and the bill came through, I noticed that the price was much higher than what I had calculated we would spend after we had made our orders. When I checked each item, I realised they had billed us for all three milkshakes! I called the waitress and told her this. She went to the billing desk and came back with a correct bill.
“Is this one now okay?” She asked. Why would she ask if it was okay, I wondered, as if, if I said no they would change it to what I wanted… I told her it now reflected the correct items and we paid. We still visit that restaurant once in a while because the food is good, but I tell all my friends and relatives to check their bills really well when they visit it because something seems shifty about all that billing business.
Visiting the “chain” restaurants was fun in the past. You were always sure of good food, great service and correct bills. Now, many of them seem to suffer from one or two of the above issues. It looks like their success has handed them a set of problems and they are struggling to find ways to solve them. So now, I am on the lookout for the smaller ones, the ones looking to prove themselves and grow a clientele. Those might not have a wonderful ambience or a varied menu. But as long as the service is hospitable, the food tasty, and the billing is done right, they will be worth a visit.