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Two days ago I wrote about the challenges which traditional businesses in Chaguanas will face in order to retain customers and pointed out that delightful customer service will play an increasingly important role. For food outlets in particular the challenge will be enormous and especially so for high-end in-dining restaurants like Palki’s , Passage to Asia and Kampo amongst others. With the advent of Ruby Tuesday, TGI Friday, Pizza Hut, Woodford Café etc the entire game has changed. Most of these franchised restaurants have to maintain global standards and through reports by customers on face book or on their web pages their head office and owners of the franchise do respond to customer complaints, as I myself have experienced.

As I continue to evaluate the quality of service amongst restaurants I visited Zanzibar at Price Plaza in Chaguanas, along with my family for lunch this Sunday. I had visited Zanzibar in Chaguaramas and therefore had an opportunity to look for consistency amongst outlets though they are unique in their own particular settings and environment. What was the experience like and how do I rate the outlet in Chaguanas.

From the moment of arrival, it was obvious that the staff were well trained, well mannered, brisk and demonstrated warmth and courtesy. In fact the staff are far superior to any of the restaurants I have visited in Chaguanas. They rank particularly high on attentiveness and detail. It took a mere three minutes maximum from being seated for the waiter Paul G (from Morvant) to arrive and introduce himself and distribute the menus. However even having asked for a drink order it was only when the food was delivered that water was placed on the table! One hopes that this is not a strategy to sell you a drink ahead of free water.

Paul is a fantastic waiter (customer service attendant). I rather call him a relationship builder for that is what he did with ease during the first five minutes of his encounter with us. He has intimate knowledge of all the dishes on the menu and was extremely patient in taking our order. Where he needed to apologize for delay like with my order he did without fail. Paul’s attitude is positive and so too the young lady who also brought the meals to the table.

Overall the quality of the food was excellent and represented value for money. The portions are large and one portion could easily feed two normal persons. (Now don’t go and cut down the portions). The ambience of the outlet is great. The music is not loud allowing you to have a conversation. The way the tables and eating spaces are configured allows for privacy which is excellent and I valued this a lot. The lighting is soft and the floors are very clean.

The Manager also visited each table and welcomed and thanked diners for their patronage. We engaged him in a conversation to test his patience and he came out with flying colours.

As an aside, more and more I am realizing that a lot of people in this country do not know the politicians and Ministers of Government. Is it that they do not care or are they alienated from the governance of the country?

It was interesting to me one incident at the table. My wife had this look on her face as if something was not right. Paul picked it up and asked her whether everything was all right. She responded yes but asked why he inquired. He responded by referring to the frown on her face. Good customer service also means your ability to sense the emotions of your customer and deal with those emotions. Great going Paul.

The bill …. Well that is another story but had I paid tomorrow I would have saved 40 dollars! Now calculate the bill for four persons.
Out of a score of ten I rate Zanzibar in Chaguanas at Price Plaza 8.5.

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