“Help us improve!”

Don’t you just love those cards when you visit a restaurant or any food related outlet? “Help us improve!” , “Because we care what you think” and all the mumbo jumbo you can think of. They have cool drawings, checkboxes and my favorite; a location on the card where you can enter you contact information.

Clearly, they plan on contacting you right?

I’m a pretty nice guy, really, i am. But if there’s one thing that gets on my nerve the most, is never getting what i ask for when i order some food, whether in a restaurant or through delivery.

Scenario

– Waiter shows you to your table
– Waiter leaves and comes back after god knows how long with the menu.
– You’re ready to order and yet you practice some gymnastics while trying to get the waiter’s attention who seems to be enjoying his conversation with the other waiters.

Yo waiter! \o
Hello? |o
HEY! \o/

– Well, clearly he’s too busy to give you any attention so why don’t you get your ass off of your chair and go poke him.
– Waiter tags along with you to your table.
– You are now ordering

Me – I’d like to take a Margarita Pizza, less cheese and extra sauce
Me – Do you mind writing that down?
Waiter – Don’t worry i’ll memorize it.
Me – mmkay…
(some more orders…)

– 50 minutes later (what the hell? we’re the only ones in the damn place!) your pizza arrives.
– You take a look at the pizza and its overflowing with cheese. Okay, i’ll bite, perhaps the extra sauce will make it up. But of course there was less of that.

I’m picky about food. I’m the worst kind of food critic you can find on the planet. I change every single thing and no one has the damn right to tell me how i can or cannot eat a certain meal. I’ve sat down quiet for so long that an incident that happened to me on this very same day, prompted me to mark most of my programming related blog posts private and just start picking on every single detail that i find wrong in this very country.

It all started about a week ago when I ordered a meal from Zaatar w Zeit. Now mind you, I’ve been a regular customer in Zaatar w Zeit and i’ve spent so much money there that you’ll probably think I’m rather crazy (or perhaps fat) considering the ridiculous prices they have. Anyways, i’ll keep the number crushing for later on in this post. I ordered about a week ago two sandwiches from Zaatar w Zeit.

1- Zoushi + Vegetables
2- Tuna in normal bread with extra spice(Normal as in not the multi-cereal or sun-dried tomato bread)
3- A coke

The person that answered the phone (God bless her soul, she’s very nice and she’s always very considerate) notified me of that the delivery time is at a maximum of 45 minutes. One hour and thirty minutes later the delivery guy arrives with the following:

1- Zoushi + No vegetables
2- Tuna in multi-cereal bread no spice
3- No coke

I was charged 2000 L.L (1.33USD) for the *extra vegetables* and another charge for the coke. Clearly this irritated me, but despite my rage i did not act upon it. I did notify the person who takes the order of the mistake at which point she really wanted to send me back other sandwiches and such, which i clearly declined (I was famished and couldn’t last for another hour). One thing you need to note is that the two incidents (one i just described and the one that will follow) aren’t the only incidents i’ve had. Now the entire flame is probably tuned toward Z&Z but it applies to every single restaurant in Lebanon. Trust me you’re all included.

Anyways, just today i picked up the phone at around 1:00pm and ordered some food. I will not bother telling you what i ordered but given the information i already shared you can safely assume there’s modifications. The person that answered was not the usual lady who takes my orders but hell that doesn’t matter. She told me that the order will take a maximum of 35 minutes. I was ecstatic! I will be eating very soon!

An hour and a half goes by (2:30pm) and there’s no food on my table nor in my stomach and i’m still starving. I pick up the phone and dial Z&Z’s number at which point yet another person answers. I told her i’m still waiting for my 35 minute delivery that i ordered 1.5 hours ago and she asked me a couple of questions:

1- What number did you register the order on?
2- What did you order?

That’s all fine and dandy, i answered the questions to which she replied and i quote:

“I have no registered order on that number nor of that kind”

To which i replied:

“Person X took the order at exactly 1:00PM”

To which she replied:

“I just arrived here and i see nothing, so that will be Meal X + Meal Y + Coke?”

I stood silent for second and figured i’d bite YET ANOTHER TIME!

“Ok how long will that order take to get here”

And thus the magic number arises:

“35 minutes”

I told her that I’m not interested anymore and politely said thank you and hung up the phone.

Here’s some number crunching for you people:

– I was employed in 1999 up to 2002 in a company that was close to a Z&Z outlet.
– I ordered every single day in the morning a Man2ousheh, a Chocoba and a Coke.
– If let’s say for three years I’ve ordered fifteen meals per month, that means i’ve ordered 540 meals at around 10,000L.L per meal.

That’s 5,400,000L.L (3600USD) for breakfasts in three years. Or if we’re presuming that the delivery guy’s salary is 600USD per month, it’s six damn salaries for a single driver!

Fine, if that’s not enough let’s fast forward to 2007. I’m employed in another company that is also close to another Z&Z outlet. I ordered every single day for lunch two kinds of meals and a coke. If we were to follow the previous facts and believe you me, i’ve ordered much more than what i’ve mentioned. We would have the follow numbers:

P.S.: My lunch is more expensive. The entire order sums up to around 15,000L.L (10USD)

That’s 8,100,000L.L (5400USD) or what is probably nine salaries for a single driver!

Please do tell me why i can’t get my damn order on time after i’ve almost literally employed a delivery guy in your firm for fifteen months!

People, if you own restaurants or any food related outlets or deliveries or what not, ensure that your services are to a high standard. I’m not going to stop ordering from Z&Z simply because i love their food, and even if i did, they will not be affected in any way. Though the more this keeps up the more customers they are prone to lose on the long run.

Remember, delivery is probably the most profitable part of the business.

Ranting done. Can you relate?


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4 thoughts on ““Help us improve!”

  1. Yes, service can be underqualified in Lebanon. Especially in ZwZ who is, in my opinion, one of the worst managed chain out there.

    Despite that, of all the countries I have visited (or lived in) I still maintain that Lebanon is the place where I get the best service.

    Have you ever had a waiter refuse to take your order, simply because you’re table isn’t assigned to him, but to his colleague?

    Have you ever had a waiter walk up to you in the middle of your meal (right between the fifth and sixth bites) and demand that you pay your bill right away because “his shift is over, and he’s not gonna stay here waiting on you forever”? (I’m not kidding, they actually say it, with a very despicable tone)

    Have you ever had a waiter yell at you because you dropped a fork on the floor, and had to ask for another one?

    What happened to you are mistakes the ZwZ people made. What I mentioned are standard treatements you get in Paris. I get it that you’re pissed about not getting what you ordered. But at least, you get to complain about it to the waiter, who will break down in apologies. Heck, more often than none, you’ll get a free desert out of it. That almost never happens in Paris. (Unless they’re afraid of law suits, but that’s another story …)

  2. Omar,

    The ideal is to bring your own food with you:)

    Fast food chains will always have similar problems due to lack of real motivation from staff to sustain the value chain that is being offered. Do you think this would happen if each and every employee got a piece of the earnings every month?

    Management potentially will understand the value of your comments, but will have a difficult task of implementing corrective measures. The employee at the phone will think between himself/herself that it is not really a big deal: after all, food is food, whether with or without extra spice. bassita.

    But the management, since they know that there is an inherent risk that you take your dineros away to the competition, will try and as much as possible keep you satisfied. The return for them is big bucks, whereas the return for the person making/delivering the order (whether super, OK or bad) will be a salary at the end of the month. Rare are the employees who will deliver value independently of whether this has an impact on their end-of-month paycheck.

    Meanwhile, sahtein and nshalla it wont happen again.

    A word of advice, keep some spice in stock 🙂

  3. Roadster are good with that, I think. If you show a slight sign of discontent, the manager will be at your table at some point, with an anxious look on his face, asking if everything is to your liking. It might be stupid, but that goes a long way in making you feel better.
    If you manage to produce a valid reason for being dissatisfied (today was an olive kernel in the pasta), you will most probably get a complimentary dessert later – with apologies.
    I often eat there and have everything goes well usually, but today was weird, the eggs came long after the burger, and there was a kernel in the pasta as mentioned. But they made up for it well. Note that I’m don’t ask for lots of special stuff like you (extra vegetable, less cheese, etc…). IMHO if the chef is good there should be no need to – but that’s just me.

  4. Also, obviously these people need to set up some kind of “preferential customer” treatment program, for people like you, who are regulars. They wouldn’t want to loose you.

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