My family and I frequented a Japanese restaurant called Gyu Kaku at Isetan 1Utama in Petaling Jaya. They serve good quality, simple Japanese BBQ with reasonable price. My husband and I love their Horenso Salad while my daughters enjoy their BBQ beef. But the one thing that keep us coming back is the staff. Every time we go there, we only see 3 Filipino staffs taking care of 14 tables (each table can accommodate 4-6 people). The three of them function as waiters, cashiers and cleaners. They are always on the move… and when they do, they move fast.
I love to see the chemistry among them. Everyone knows their jobs and responsibilities. Although they look like they are always in a hurry, they never fail to give us smiles whenever they serve our foods or drinks. They are very polite, attentive and efficient. I love to give tips to waiters who provide excellent service. It’s my way of appreciating their hard work and motivating them to continue giving great service.
During the fasting month, I found it a bit difficult to cook as I couldn’t taste the food properly before being served. There were times when my daughters complained the food was tasteless and times when my husband cringed when it was too salty. So we decided to eat out more often.
We went to a lot of restaurants but there were 2 that really caught my attention:
1. Tajine Restaurant at Jalan Tun Razak
The exterior of the restaurant is very nice and parking is easy. When I walked into the restaurant, nobody greeted us at the door. We had to call one of the staffs and told them that we needed a table for 10. We also asked if they served ala carte in addition to the buffet. The staff called another guy and talked in Tamil. Both of them talked and talked until finally one of them asked us, “So, you want to eat? Upstairs OK?”
We asked them again if they served ala carte. Apparently they didn’t understand what ala carte is. I took a menu and pointed some dishes to them and asked if I could order from the menu. “Aaaahh.. OK OK,” he replied.
We were seated in two separate tables. My husband and his brother pulled and combined the two tables together. The staff just looked at us and didn’t bother to help. Once the tables combined, we took the chairs and sat. The waiter gave us the menus and left.
Ordering was a pain… The waiters didn’t speak proper English and couldn’t understand Bahasa Malaysia. Fortunately we were familiar with the dishes so we didn’t need to ask a lot of questions.
While waiting for our food, the mosquitoes feasted on us. It was really strange because we sat indoor on the 2nd floor and the room was full of mosquitoes. We called the waiter and told him our situation. “Oooh, mosquitoes,” he replied. He said,”Yes, a lot of mosquitoes.” We asked if they have any mosquito repellent. He said no and left. He just didn’t care.
Finally the food arrived and fortunately they were good… Despite of the unpleasant start, we were happy to feast on the fluffy, fragrant rice with tender lamb and juicy chicken. The food was authentically middle-eastern. Then the waiter brought a Chinese claypot to our table. I told them we didn’t order anything in claypot. Apparently it was the Lamb Tajine that we ordered. It was a real disappointment. The restaurant’s name is Tajine. It should serve the tajine dishes in Tajines, not in Chinese clay pot. It just feels wrong to eat tajine from a chinese claypot.
While the food is good, the whole dining experience was just unpleasant. Service was bad, the room was warm and full of mosquitoes and we felt unwelcome.
2. Bulgogi Brothers at e-Curve
We love the food at Bulgogi Brothers, a chain restaurants serving Korean BBQ. We frequented their outlets in Paradigm mall and in Pavillion. We always left the restaurants satisfied. Two weeks ago we tried the outlet at e-curve. The food was as good as the other outlets but the service was disappointing. We arrived 30 minutes before the time to break the fast. While ordering was fast, the food arrived 15 minutes after the time to break fast (45 minutes later). If you are familiar with Korean BBQ, the kitchen staff don’t need to cook the meat. They just slice the meat/vegetables and arrange them on a plate. It should take no more than 10 minutes to prepare, not 45 minutes..!!
We asked the waiter to bring us a few glasses of water to break fast. It took him more than 10 minutes just to get the water. While waiting for the food, we noticed that the customers next to our table (who came and ordered much later than us) got their food first. At that time I didn’t have the mood to complain as I saw the waiters running around, comforting other agitated customers. There were more than 6 waiters, all confused and rushing going in and out from the kitchen.
Being part of the F&B industry making me more forgiving when dining out. I understand that sometimes kitchen staff didn’t show up or some of the floor staff are sick but I can’t stand ignorant and untrained staffs who have bad attitudes.
While quality of food is very important in restaurant business, excellent service is a must. Hire only staffs with good attitude. Train them properly. It is better to have 3 well-trained waiters than having 10 half-trained or untrained waiters with bad attitude. Be willing to pay more for good waiters who can provide excellent service because quality service will turn a walk-in customer into a regular.