Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Not a criticism per se, just a friendly reminder to improve

I had quite a full day yesterday, running all over Shah Alam for banking (personal and company) and some initial market intelligence gathering (when times are like this, we just have to resort to creative ways to push our products, right?). Lunch was definitely something I was looking forward to, and I decided to try the Sate Ria outlet at the Risda building, a block away from Concorde Shah Alam.

I am sure some of you may recall SateRia from the early eighties. My memories of it is that of my parents taking me there after shopping at Jalan TAR and they served this two-stick gigantic satay which taste quite good too. It was suppose to be an effort to commercialize satay (these are the pre-Samuri days, but another great satay place at the time was at Sg Wang Plaza - Satay Anika) but unfortunately, the venture fizzled out and SateRia is no more.

The Sate Ria in Shah Alam is apparently the first outlet for the new Sate Ria franchaise. The last I check I did on the Malaysian Franchaise Association forum indicates that they are awating approval from the Registrar of Frainchaise (didnt know we have such body) and I assume the Shah Alam outlet is their Master Franchaiser's outlet. The logo is still the same and it is with that that I made my way enthusiastically to the outlet. Would they still have the gigantic two-stick satay.

Turns out that they don't. Before I elaborate further, let me run you through this simple timeline.

1300 hrs Enter Sate Ria
13o5 hrs A menu was handed to me and my order taken
1308 hrs A glass of "air suam" was served (a std fare)
1315 hrs My Ice Lemon tea was delivered
1335 hrs My plate of condiments (Nasi Himpit+bawang+timun) delivered. No explaination on
why my satay has not arrived
1352 hrs Manager apologized for the delay
1353 hrs My plate of satay (all ten sticks of it) delivered

It took them 50 minutes to have 10 sticks of satay delivered. Lets analyze the crowd. When I entered, there are two tables occupied. One table was occupied by two gentlemen who were wating for their food (since thay have their air bandung on the table) and the other table, a big group of ten people who were probably celebrating something. When I entered, the server was taking order from them. At that time too, the staff in the premises were as follows: 1 server, 1 cook, 1 kicthen helper and 1 cleaner. I do believe the lunch time rush starts at 12.30pm onwards right?

Besides their main menu of satay, they also serve items such as Laksa and various gravied noodle (I guess in line with their franchaise theme, cooking on site is kept to minimal). It shouldn't take long to serve e.g. laksa right ? I am sure you already have the gravy being heated all the time and all you need to do is to put together the rest of the ingredients in the bowl ? The large group of ten orderd both the satay and some noodles. I am sure even if all ten orders various types of noodle, it can all be delivered, latest by 1320 hrs ? It was not to be as even when my satay was served, bowls of noodles are still being delivered to the group. One reason given for the delay in my satay is the group of ten orders a big number of satay (by now, even the customer who came in after me were a bit annoyed). Assuming each of them ordered 10 sticks, thats only 100 sticks and being a SATAY restaurant, I am sure it can be easily fulfilled. By 1340 hrs, additional staff appeared but why would you have additional staff at the tail-end of your rush hour?

The satay is GOOD and that is something they should be proud of. Pure chicken meat, not "additives" etc (read:lemak and kulit).

I guess, I would really like to see them improve on the service. I would definitely come back for the satay but they really, really need to do something operationally.

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