Monday, January 2, 2012

Make a reservation

We have been planning out next short break and thought that we should revisit some of our more favourite restaurants in London. So we got our dates organised and set about making our reservations. When doing so, I thought, why not write about this experience.

It’s highly recommended that you make reservations at restaurants as a general principle. You are not surprised by the restaurant being closed on the day you want to visit nor do you face the mortifying, totally embarrassing and disappointing prospect of you being turned away because the restaurant is full. So we normally call and make reservations, even in Mumbai. It’s just more comfortable.

The difference in the experience in a simple task of making a reservation could not be more different in India and the UK. Here in Mumbai you can call any restaurant and have to go thru the whole rigmarole of giving the hostess you name and your phone number. With a name like mine this results in a 15 minute exercise in sublime comedy. My first name is non descript and requires a surname. Now starts the fun. After a few tries a mangled version is recorded. Enunciating a `P’ and a `T’ on the phone is not easy and most hostesses find the P for Peter and T for Tango a challenge.

This should be contrasted with making reservations at a good restaurant in the UK. They have a simple computer programme in which they enter your phone number and name. You do this once. After this you are stored in the computer and the next time you call and give them your number, your name pops up on the screen and they verify it’s you and make the reservation. The complexity of the computer programme is variable. The more complex systems record what you ate on every visit, any comments the staff may have put in, say that you are a grumbly customer or, horrors, a miserly tipper!! Therefore be careful.

You may well say, that India is a poor country i.e. use an economic argument or say that I always criticise India i.e. use a chauvinistic patriotism argument, to justify that we don’t need such a system. Really? Have you ever ordered a Domino pizza or Macdonald Burger in Mumbai? Don’t they use absolutely the same system? It’s a fast food outlet for God’s sake operating on wafer thin margins. Why cannot our fat cat Mumbai restaurants install a simple system? The problem is no one cares here. Call Royal China in Mumbai and they don’t have the system but are proud to say that they have Ipads for their menus!

I believe the system is hugely beneficial and helpful to a restaurant using it. Besides making your booking experience short, no hanging on a phone for minutes spelling your name, the hostess asks you is you have allergies, if you are vegetarian or don’t eat any particular food, or if it’s a special occasion or if they can make it special in some way. All the answers you give are noted. All this is just so logical. The restaurant can prepare itself to make your experience more enjoyable. You will be happy, you will be a repeat customer you will leave a bigger tip. How can this system not be anything but good for all?

But India is a poor country.  

1 comment:

  1. India is a Rich country inhabited by Poor people. Poor in civic sense,ethics,compassion...Look forward to your posts from London.