Arctic has been a must go place for my family since 1 year. We visit the place at least every alternate month to enjoy the seafood buffet. The food is exceptionally good and the owners homely, with the agenda of complete client satisfaction.
However, since they hired a new table attendant, the experience started to diminish. If you decide to have the buffet, as a policy everyone on the table needs to eat the same menu. (A huge disappointment if someone in your group is a vegetarian, you cannot take the veg and seafood buffet)
Last weekend i went with my family to relish their amazing food as usual and we were having a great time, until a relative dropped in to meet us. We were nearly done with the buffet dinner and offered our guest to dine with us. He however, refused politely, but upon insisting, ordered Prawns and Neer Dosa. While the order arrived, my guest got tempted with the bowl of Crabs on the table, (which was not cleared from the table after the course) and helped himself to a piece. I could not stop my guest, so decided to order a dish of crabs for him separately.
We were suddenly graced with the waiter who comes up to our table and informs me that they will be charging me on the buffet for an extra person. I said alright and tried to end the conversation. However, the waiter required to give me a detailed explanation. He went ahead to say that as the additional person has helped himself to a dish that was part of the buffet, they will be charging me for an extra person as per their policy. Upon hearing this my guest lost interest in completing his meal and offered to pay the bill instead.
My family just started having deserts, so we decided to wrap up quickly and leave trying to convert the disappointment to a positive environment and not ruin the evening.
The waiter again returned after some time announcing that they will not charge me for the extra person this time as an exception, but in the future we need to be aware of their policies, etc. etc.
This was a breaking point for me and i decided to talk to the waiter in private.
I asked him never again to insult a guest by discussing such issues at the table while we are still eating. All this can be discussed when asked for a bill.
He could have done either of the following:
1. Present the bill at the end, when we finish our meal, with the charge for the extra person, and provide an explanation when asked.
2. When asked for the bill, discuss in private, and charge accordingly.
This was a giant put-off for us. Even though the the food that we ended up ordering was lip-smacking, I left with a really bad taste in my mouth.
We paid the bill and walked out without completing the course of our meal. I am certain the owners will take appropriate action, but i am doubtful, I would ever return to Arctic with my family or friends again.
This went on to solidify the age old belief that no matter how good the product/service is, the overall experience is what ultimately matters for the future of the business. It is important to always be aware of the fact that even exemplary service delivered with a sub-optimal experience can lead to customers walking away in dismay and killing potential leads with insidious badmouthing.
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