A Case of Bad Service

I am not paid to do resto reviews. All the opinions are mine. Sorry for the photos – I used my camera phone. 

It started out simple enough: after watching The Avengers (thumbs up, btw!), my friends and I were hungry. We were in town, so there was bound to be a place that wasn’t a fast food joint that could satisfy our boiling hunger. But after throwing around a few ideas here and there, we settled for a place that wasn’t within walking distance because we wanted to try it out in earnest. And Cafe Avenue it was.

I’ve been there two times before, but it was only today that we actually sat down and ordered something. The place seemed decent enough: spacious, air-conditioned and actually pretty inviting. The menu wasn’t extraordinary: sandwiches, frappés, warm and iced coffee. I settled for the spicy beef sandwich with a vanilla frappé. My friends ordered a clubhouse sandwich and a buco pie, with their respective frappés.

The first sign of impending doom came with the frappés. My two friends ordered different  frappés (mocha and chocolate), but in all honesty, the two glasses looked the same. My friend asked which was which, and the server cut her off, and said (in Tagalog, in a know-it-all tone) “I was about to explain that one glass has a lighter colored  frappé than the other”. It seemed harmless enough, but when he left I did mention that the way he said it was an inappropriate way to answer a customer. We shrugged it off.
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We now come to the food. The second sign of impending doom. The spicy beef sandwich looked appetizing – I would assume the minced beef was on a bed of toasted ciabatta, with a mayo and ketchup sauce. At that point I was already hungry. My first bite was a surprise: Nice crusty bread…but the beef was weird. I kept on wondering about the beef. Yeah, it was spicy, but the taste reminded me of something that I couldn’t even consider to be associated with the flavor of beef in the first place. When my friend tasted it, she was more expressive: she made a face and said, “bagoong” (shrimp paste). The beef tasted like bagoong, which meant it was “salty” and “fishy”. Was it expired? I don’t think so. They just probably (with a passion) bathed and pounded it in salt.
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My friend’s clubhouse sandwich wasn’t impressive either. The takeaway was the mayo – it was incredibly sweet, which made us realize that they don’t use good mayonnaise.

Now, why all the fuss talking about food that made us unhappy? It’s actually pretty simple. The price ranges from around 60 – 75 pesos. That makes a pretty expensive sandwich. My beef sandwich was priced at 65php. The clubhouse was a little over 70php. The expectation is that the food needs to be good, at least, even so-so. But it shouldn’t leave us wondering why it was worth that much.

Now before this becomes snooty, I’d like to leave the food comments at that, because there’s not much to talk about anymore. This is where it gets interesting/doomsday has arrived:

We paid at the counter as soon as we ordered. The one manning it told us he would bring the change later on, when we were done eating.

When the server brought us the change, he gave as a whole bill. We told them beforehand that we would pay separately. And so we asked if he could give us separate change. He told us that they didn’t have loose change anymore, but there was a store nearby that could probably help us. Then we politely asked him if he could change the bill for us.

Then he said, “Why me?”

Ok….that doesn’t sound right. 

My friend told him that the establishment is theirs, he works here, and it’s only fair that since they don’t have change, they should take the responsibility to meet the needs of the customers.

He responded with, “Ah, ganun ba..” (Oh, is that so?). He wasn’t challenging us, but I take it is was more of an…internal realization.

After a few seconds of deliberation, he eventually agrees. He did have the bill changed into coins, and we did thank him.

The only thing that kept us talking about it was how they were not responsive to the needs of the customers. Basically, our takeaway would be his initial hesitation to have our bill changed. Not only that, but the way it was said it made unprofessional. If he only said it in a nicer way, we could have responded to the situation differently.

Can we blame the management? Probably. Are we making a mountain out of a molehill? Not quite. We are, after all, consumers who pay for a good or service that an establishment provides. We can express our satisfaction and dissatisfaction. If we feel that what we’ve been given isn’t our money’s worth, it’s only fair and logical to complain. We just told him to do his job, which was fair enough, because he is paid to serve customers.

Would we go back to Cafe Avenue? After the doom and gloom, probably not. Wait. On second thought, NEVER AGAIN. It doesn’t offer much, and it’s not worth the trip. To each his/her own, of course, so you might want to give them a chance. It’s just that for us, they blew it. Enough said.

Cafe Avenue is located at QNS Building, along Veterans Avenue Extension, near Western Mindanao Medical Center 

19 thoughts on “A Case of Bad Service

  1. Restaurants are more of a service type of establishment so if the staff offers unsatisfactory service, that pretty much leaves a bad impression; add to that not so good food, well that’s a real turn-off. They should be pretty careful because not all people are willing to give restaurants more than one chance, what with all the abundance of other restaurants and cafes in the metro. It just takes one bad dining experience to lost a potential patron forever.

    • I agree with you. They should be mindful of that, plus the fact that food bloggers can give them more than the usual bad rep because of how they treat customers. Service is definitely the takeaway here.

  2. Been there twice, as far as I can recall. I never liked the food. Food looks tasty and luscious but it’s all for the eyes only. I forgot what I ordered then but I could say that it wasn’t extraordinary at all; I could make one at home. Also regarding their teas, they only had two flavors of a brand at that time, which sucked. As for the employees, I was pretty impressed with that one guy coz he sure knows how to deal with customers. Perhaps, a rare one. One more thing, I don’t like its location. I’d rather frequent La Tienda and Fort Café.

    • Yeah, if there’s one thing I really like about La Tienda’s cafe, it’s that the servers are really attentive. That’s the kind of service that keeps me coming back.😀 And I do agree that Cafe Avenue’s location isn’t really accessible despite the fact that they have parking space. That’s why when we were there, most of the space was taken up by USANA associates doing their presentations to potential customers.😀

  3. Oh my god! Definitely not going there to eat. If there’s one thing I absolutely despise, it’s bad service. Add to that the bad food and that place is blacklisted. If only they had a Facebook page, I’d go complain. hahaha

  4. Oh, that sounds really bad.. I don’t get how some people don’t appreciate the fact that they have a job. I hate that. I’m glad that you liked the Avengers though, because I’m planning to go to the cinema one of these days.🙂

  5. Haven’t really been to Cafe Avenue but I did encounter some servers who are like that, and it really spoils the dining experience.😐

    • I hear you! The assumption is we go to a place for the food and the experience. If the people who are in-charge don’t do a good job, then they can potentially lose customers because they weren’t treated well. Plus, it’s plain disrespectful.😦

  6. That was pretty shocking Gio. I’ve been visiting Cafe Avenue for a couple of times already.Indeed, the food is not that great.I would agree with that. But I was quite shock about their improper conduct. The crew are actually nice and accommodating maybe it was the owner or he was new. haha. idk. i think i’ll try to visit cafe avenue again, it has been awhile since i went there

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