A few years back, I went to this restaurant the first time. It was TW who introduced this restaurant to me. Back in the old days, the restuarant was a relatively small place with some very traditional SE Asian taste to it. I liked that place. In the next one to two years, I keep hearing people talking about this restaurant. A lot of the time when we go there for lunch/dinner, the restaurant was packed. Then I guess it was popular to a point that they decided to expand the place and cater to the high demand.
After the renovation and expansion, the place was still busy as usual. Although it wasn’t always 100% filled. During lunch/dinner, it was usually 80%+ filled. I think they did a great job. Very successful in their positioning. The new look and feel is definitely more mainstream.
Today, we went back… the first thing we saw was a sheet posted at the entrance with the restaurant policy. It was phrased in a way that makes people feel that they have enough business. If the customers do not agree with their policy, then they are adviced not go to the restaurant. Some of the details include no outside food is allowed. Baby food (without meat) is allowed but customers should check with the servers/owner. Standard 15% service charge for group of 8 or more. Food allergy notifications. Preparation of Halal meat, etc. It’s understandable that they have these policies. However, I guess… it’s the way they phrase it, the tone of it that makes people uncomfortable. One incidence quoted from a colleague is that… one time a person went to this restaurant for a table for 2. However, because the other person hasn’t arrived, the person was not allowed to be seated. It makes sense if the restaurant is really busy, but at that time, there were quite a lot of empty tables.
Thoughts…policy vs. flexibility. I wonder if there’s something going on in the management of this company. Policy is necessary, however I think it’s also the judgement and empowerment that makes a difference. Employees strictly follow the company policy – isn’t that familiar? That’s what happens to all the big corporations.
A colleague got the wrong change (was messed up with another colleague’s change) and noticed it when we were on our way back to the office. So called the restaurant back, trying to get it right. It was only for 3 bucks or so, but the employee/manager insisted that they did everything correctly. Again, it’s the tone – sounds like they are accusing the customers of cheating. I guess it’s the grey area again – what should the restaurant do?