Pinky Pie •
26 Nov 2008 • 1 review • 0 follower
I would like to share with you one of my worst restaurant experience in Singapore. It has to be Secret Recipe at Vivocity.
We were first time customers and after an early dinner and feeling a bit thirsty, decided to look for a place to have some desserts and drinks. We came upon Secret Recipe and decided to give it a try because it was not crowded compared with some nearby restaurants (we need not queue) and there were still some empty tables and the cakes looked good.
We ordered 2 drinks and cakes. The cakes and one of the drinks came after about more than 15 minutes and 1-2 reminders to the staff. Then we reminded them that we are still short of a coke. I went out to check on my maid and children who were playing outside (took about 5 minutes?). When I came back, my friend told me they just informed that the coke ran out. Firstly, I was amazed that they took about 20 minutes to inform us that the coke ran out (they didn't mention it when the other orders came and we asked about it). I then asked the waitress why did they take so long to inform customer that they ran out of coke? She looked 'blur' at first then said 'I told your friend wat.'" I said, " Yes, you did, but after 20 minutes? OK never mind, can I order another drink instead? What do you have? Can I have the menu?" She said OK, then came back with the bill...I have to tell her again I want to order and ordered an Iced Lemon Tea.
Then the customers at the next table left and thinking of giving the children an ice cream treat, asked them to arrange the adjoining table for us for another 4 persons. Then I brought my maid and 3 children in. I asked for the menu. The waitress passed me the bill again! Even if she had heard me wrongly, shouldn't it just takes common sense to know that I didn't ask for the bill because I have just asked them to arrange the table and we were discussing what to eat, etc, definitely didn't look like we were leaving.
We ordered some more drinks and ice cream for the kids. I also reminded them that I have ordered an Iced Lemon Tea which had not come yet. We waited a for maybe 20 minutes and in between checked twice to remind them and ask if they are on the way. Finally the ice cream and drinks came but short of one iced lemon tea and they mixed up the ice cream order - we ordered 3 single scope ice cream for the 3 kids - 2 strawberry and 1 chocolate. They presented with one strawberry in a glass cup and the 2 scopes of chocolate ice cream in a boat shaped container (2 in 1 - together). Then I had to tell them they made a mistake because we ordered 3 single scopes and it was not 2 chocolate 1 strawberry but 2 strawberry n 1 chocolate. Then they told me the restaurant did not have enough cups for the single scope so asked the children to share. I was a bit surprised as I looked around there were nobody ordering the single scope ice cream (SO I SUPPOSE THE RESTAURANT ONLY KEEPS ABOUT 5 OR LESS OF SUCH SINGLE SCOPE ICE CREAM CUPS??) Quite amazing... But never mind, I thought. They asked if we can just accept it because they really don't have any more cups. Then I told them they can share but two of the children don't take chocolate. They obliged and took back the 2 chocolate in a boat shaped plate and changed to 1 strawberry and 1 chocolate - I don't know how they could finally find another cup but thanked them for the change. Anyway, the strawberry ice cream also have chocolate stains so I supposed they just scope out the previous chocolate ice cream and put in the strawberry?
Then the ice lemon tea was still not there even after everyone had almost finished and after I have reminded the staff (including one of them that looks that the manager) about 3-4 times. The best thing is so many of the staff were not busy at all. They were just standing around idly, chatting among themselves, some walking around without purpose (you can tell because they can't see customers even if they wave at them). I was so 'pissed' with them that I sarcastically asked the manager that if the tea is still coming and if it's not, just forget about it ( I sounded 'pissed', by the way). In a normal circumstance in a restaurant, the waiter would have apologised profusely and quickly make sure that the tea is served without delay. I still wanted to give them a chance so I waited. But after a quite a wait that felt like about 10 minutes, I decided that perhaps they have literally taken my words for it and cancelled the order. So as I was already very thirsty and unhappy, I decided to leave and asked for the bill and reminded them that the iced lemon tea didn't come so please remember to leave it out of the bill. The waitress got the cheek to ask 'So you still want the iced lemon tea?' - without any apologies, by the way, and by the way I was already standing up and ready to go...
I went to the counter to settle the bill and was surprised to find that I was still charged for the iced lemon tea that never came despite many reminders. I had to patiently explain all over to the waitress again. And guess what? The waitress asked me 'So, do you still want the iced lemon tea?" I almost fainted on the spot. Hello?? I was standing at the cash counter waiting to settle the bill after this unhappy tea break and does the waitress has any common sense? The least they can do is to apologise --which NONE of the staff did, including the manager. She then asked me to wait while she check if she can take out the item from the bill...
During this waiting time, I was complaining to my friend about the staff's poor service, attitude and sheer stupidty. One waitress who was standing besides me asked me what happened. I told her 'Nothing, I was just complaining about the poor service here, that your staff here just know how to stand around. I have reminded them 3-4 times about my iced lemon tea and it never came, but they remember to charge me. Very amazing service here !" She just kept quiet and quickly turned away to continue standing there and staring back to space, and pretended nothing happened.
From beginning to end, there was not a word of apology or even just a simple "Sorry" coming from any of the staff. I amost swear on the spot I will never step into another "Secret Recipe" again, however good the food may be. THE SERVICE JUST SUCKS.
All of them are just so blur, including the manager! Even though they may not be upright rude, they should at least know some basic and important points about decent and prompt service and learn to say the word 'Sorry'. Basic service manners should be there, especially you are charging a service charge for it! If I can see that you are really short of staff in a crowded restaurant and the staff have real difficulty to cope and they apologise about it, I really could have just understand and accepted it. But when you see so many of them just standing around doing nothing and not bothered by your persitent reminders of orders, etc, it's really quite challenging not to feel fed-up with them. I am wondering if we are not valued as customers because we were not ordering dinner but just cakes and drinks? If so, they could have just told us and we could have jolly well seek another better place.
By the way, because it's dinner time, i actually felt bad to just order drinks and cakes, so I tried to make up by ordering drinks and desserts for everyone, including my maid. A cup of tea cost $3.50-4, cakes more than $5 per pc. Ice cream is $2.50 per scope. By the way, they also charge for warm water ($0.50) and any water that you ask for, no free water here. They compensate for the warm water charge by giving you a very small bottle of distilled water and a half a cup of hot water. So per person came out close to ordering a dinner meal. (Really regret for being so considerate. cos, firstly it was not so crowded compared with other restaurants in the same place, not without a reason).
I actually wrote a feedback to them though I don't know if they bother about it or not, judging by the complaints in this forum.
I told them if they do not have the food or drinks, please let the customer know ASAP (not after 20 minutes). A decent wait for a simple drink should be limited to 10 minutes at most, even though most restaurants serve within less than 5 minutes. I noticed that they have a drink machine, so you just need to press and drinks will come out, right? So I wonder if it could be because it was due to some constraint on the glasses or cups ? Maybe they need to wait for other customers to finish their drinks so you can get the glasses ? If so, they should stock up more cups, glasses, plates,etc... If not, they should explain nicely to the customers and prepare them for a long wait or tell them they will try, ASAP when the utensils are available.. Keeping customers waiting for no reason is rude. I believe I have been patient enough as a customer and even thought maybe they have difficulty understanding because maybe they could be foreigners and hence not so good in their English, therefore I tried to adjust to them and tried to 'tune in' to the same frequency as them. They kept doing the wrong things even though I made sure I was loud and clear and spoke slowly and repeated key words to them.
I went in thirsty, hoping to get a nice drink soon (as there was no queue and the crowd looks comfortable - not too crowded with sufficent waiters and waitresses around) but came out an hour later, still feeling thirsty and fed-up...
I only thanked God that I didn't go in feeling hungry, otherwise I would have felt more frustrated!
Can't remember how the cake taste like, really no mood after the whole experience and only feel like getting out of the place and go home! It's really very bad. If you want to go there, make sure you don't have high blood pressure, otherwise you are doing danger to yourselves...And yes, have lots of patience and make sure you are not hungry or thirsty when you go in !