Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Swatting flies

We Malaysians love food, don't we? I think eating can easily be considered one of our most favourite unofficial pastime. But, having said that, we don't just gobble up everything that is laid before us. We choose, we pick, we select what is good and what is not. How else do you explain the fact that one restaurant can be bursting to its seams with customers when just a few doors away, the staff just spend their hours looking at the floor?

There has got to be something about that popular restaurant. I think it's all a matter of three very simple qualities:

1. Good food
The main reason you go to a restaurant or an eatery is to eat. You spend time, energy and money to get to a particular food joint and the least you expect is to get some good food in return. I mean, why bother going out for a meal if all you're going to receive on your plate is some crummy food which you could have cooked yourself is worst than your cooking?

2. Good service
The food served at a particular place can be the best in Malaysia (and some even say, Singapore), but if the service is horrible, then in my book, I'd rather spend my money elsewhere. How are you every going to enjoy the food if you're constantly getting frustrated by the inept staff that is supposed to attend to you?

3. Good value
You pay a certain premium for the food before you and you expect to be rewarded with a taste that is in proportion to or beyond what you have paid (although it is possible to get extremely delicious food at very affordable prices if you know where to go). Anything less, and the probability of you ever stepping into that restaurant decreases exponentially very quickly.

There you have it - three simple attributes for keeping your food business thriving. But, I'm sure you've patronised a number of eateries that don't quite achieve that mark. I know I have and there's one place in particular that I've visited not too long ago.

It's hard to say no to a delicious plate of chicken rice. And I'm always on a lookout for restaurants that offer great-tasting chicken rice with a decent price to boot. However, Jesselton Chicken Rice wasn't one of them. I've only ever visited that restaurant once, and that was more than enough. I had ordered a set which meant a plate of chicken rice with a drink, all for Rm8++.

The verdict: the chicken that arrived was cold, and not especially tasty. The drink, which was supposed to be some fruit juice, turned out just to be a poor syrup substitute. My wife's wasn't any better as well. If we had gone to a respectable chicken rice shop, we'd have gone out satisfied with spare change. We vowed that that would be the first and last time we ate there. And I thought, it'd be only a matter of time before this joint closes down.

When the whole family visited City Mall (where the restaurant was) yesterday for dinner, lo and behold, the prophecy has come true. The restaurant was dark, and on it's swinging doors was stuck a piece of paper which read "CLOSE" in red ink. Permanently,

I know I sound bad, but when it comes to food, I guess that's just the way it is. If your food tastes terrible, then people won't come. And when people don't come,'s just ta-woo-ying time (pardon my Cantonese. It's as bad as my Greek!) and an inevitable end.

p.s. Just in case you're wondering why the title to this post is "Swatting flies" - well, that's what ta-woo-ying means, and if my wife has taught me correctly, it refers to a situation where there isn't any work to be done. Hence, all you do is swat flies. :)


roslyn said...

So the chicken rice shop has shut down, eh?

I remember that particular day you, Fen and Adele were in the shop. We were there too. My husband wasn't particularly thrilled with his dish either. And we never went back.

Well, learned something new today...ta woo ying!!!

Nick Phillips said...

I know what you mean. I had some crap treatment at one of the food joints here and when they closed down I was doing the polka ... LOL!

Ann said...

Well not only would customers not return, they'll tell their friends not to go to your restaurant too if the food is crap!!! :)

Perry R. Lim said...

Roslyn: Lousy food - sure close for good!

Perry R. Lim said...

Nick: Ah yes...that one about the rather 'heartless' chicken. hehe.

Perry R. Lim said...

Ann: And it's going to be kinda hard to get people back, won't it? Even if you improved your food quality.