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Friday, March 27, 2009

Bharath Bhavan

This is somewhere between stupidity and craziness. I was supposed to meet my friend at this Indian restaurant for lunch. Just before I leave, I check out their website which says that their main access road is being worked on and patrons need to take a detour. (The detour isn't straight forward, where you take the next exit and try to find your way back.. It's a bit long & wound). I make a note of the new directions thinking that I'll call my friend from my mobile on the way and let him know about the alternate route. My cell is out of charge. And I think that I'll call him from the restaurant. After reaching the place I ask the manager if I can use their phone. He politely nods 'no'. And then I explain to him that I'm expecting my friend and he's probably lost. He must have thought that I'm narrating a story that's in no way connected to the current situation. He doesn't react.

I wait in their lounge for 15 minutes. I step out of the restaurant a couple of times just convey the management that I'm expecting someone and if only they would let me use their phone they could get my business. No, they're unmoved. After 40 minutes I tell one of the servers again that may be he's desperately trying to get to the restaurant and he needs directions - no, it's as if somebody's trying to get somewhere, not their place. After 50 minutes of sitting, standing, walking and flipping through junk magazines when I said that I'll have to leave, the guy at the counter said 'Okay'. This was immensely infuriating. It doesn't take an Einstein to figure out that if they had let me call, I would have guided my friend and they would have earned our business, not only this time, but subsequent visits too.

I've had bad experiences at many Indian restaurants in America. The most common complaint being the cleanliness of toilets - you're greeted with a smell that takes you back to some of the train stations in India. There's a marked difference in the way the servers treat Indians and Americans - smirk vs smile. They can't handle crowds - as the restaurant gets loaded, the wait time increases and the server snaps at your questions on how long it will be before you get your food. Sometimes I've had to ask multiple times for my water glass to be refilled. I've gotten my bill when I'm only half-way through my food. There have been cases where I was overcharged or given another party's bill. Of course there have been upset stomachs, loud TV, slippery floors without the 'Caution Wet' sign, buffet boxes that are empty... If only they could amend some of these complaints, the experience offered by an Indian restaurant would be richer.

2 comments:

Freehit said...

Ordinary food, bad service and dirty toilets are the bane of Indian restaurants all over the globe. I'm just back from a particularly bad dinner at an Indian restaurant. So while paying, I mentioned to the cashier that the food was not great and the service was really bad. Response: Thank you Sir, Gudu nayeet. Thinking that he had clearly not got what I was saying, I repeated that verbatim. Response 2: Today Sir? I walked out making a mental note not to venture into that place ever again.

Mrinal said...

"This is somewhere between stupidity and craziness." No, its not. It is both stupidity & craziness to the hilt!

And waiting for 50 mins with empty stomach - Now, that is some kind of patience you have!