Monday, August 6, 2012

Eat happily or warily?

It was the season of food poisoning for the media. It is always thus. One incident is enough to start a chain of events and then there will be nothing more. Everything shall continue the same way.

It started with the death of a person who ate Shawarma. This must be the first such incident in the world. Later one got to read daily reports of food poisoning and raids. Many hotels were closed down and many stayed closed in fear of raids!

But I do think that many hotels are taking their customers for granted. Maybe they are getting enough revenue from those who seek their daily spirit.

Recently we went to a hotel in Tiruvella for dinner. We had finished shopping from a new outlet and since Hubby needed to get his pants altered, we chose the nearest hotel. It is one of the oldest in the town. We glanced through the glossy menu and saw many delectable names. With much anticipation we placed our order with the head waiter. This is when he suggested that we order just chappathi and chicken curry if we want to get our order fast. Although our original order was not that great, he told us that it will take more than 30 minutes. Since we were all hungry we decided to take his advise. Thus started our wait for the food to arrive. 10 minutes, 30 minutes and 40 minutes passed. Hubby decided to collect his pants in the mean time. Later the food arrived and we wanted more chapathis. It was after considerable time that it arrived. Later when Hubby arrived we found that we might need more chapathis. This is when the waiter told us thus: " Did I not give you 2 just now? Even when it was meant for other guests I gave it to you! ". Hunger can lead to many emotions and I don't blame Hubby when he lost his temper. He was just about to dig into his food when he hears such 'encouraging' words. In Malayalam they say " Paysa koduthe kadikkunna pattiye vanghichathupole ayi" or we paid for a biting dog. Here we are spending money to have some food but we are scolded for stating our needs. He gave it to the waiter and the head waiter comes with explanation that there are many functions going on and hence they are busy. In reply Hubby told him that in this case they should just close the restaurant and not open it for business. By then he had lost his appetite and went to find the manager. The manager nodded his head and said sorry. Anyway that was the last visit to this hotel.

It was this same experience we got in Bangalore. We had a booked one called " Ivory Inn" through the net. I had called them and asked them if it was near to MG Road etc. and I was told it is very near. But it is only when we saw the rooms that we found that we had been cheated. Since it was late at night we couldn't find another. This place was also far away from main Bangalore. We shifted from there the next day itself. We had found this place from Trip Advisor but next time we shall be very careful.

It is time the hotels made an effort to keep customer service their prime objective. With customer service should come cleanliness and quality. After all we are paying for it and if you lose customers who shall pay for your livelihood?
Thought  I shall add how things are done out here. It is mandatory that sandwich / shawarma shops operate in full view of the customer. This way they are forced to keep things clean. They normally have an open room where one can see everything being done. Municipality also checks frequently and those who violate rules are sealed. Our government too needs to operate thus. A dream?


  1. Hotels and restaurants in India treat customers and live stock in the same proportion and consideration.
    The audacity of the Hotel and Restaurant owners in Kerala to put down shutters for a day in protest against the government raids on their premises is unheard of.

    Can you imagine that the five star Hotel Taj Viventha in Trivandrum too had putrefied outdated meat and food in their kitchen.

    1. Now one dreads eating out but sometimes food beckons us and we succumb... I think the small eateries would be much better. Hubby says the thattukada would be much better than these 5 star hotels any day..

      The Indian Coffee Houses still serves delicious food.. not sure how their kitchen is maintained though.. maybe it is better not to find out :).. but their service even when there is a crowd to eat is still good.

  2. I bet you glance at the Indian coffee house kitchen and go near the lavatories you will forget to drink coffee and eat masaladosa for ever.

    1. Anil: You are right.. I dont expect to find it clean. But I wish they change for the better.

  3. Hi,
    I called my family at Trivandrum and asked them not buy food from these outlets any more. We used to buy fast food from the shops at Kowdiar.
    Malayalis talk about cleanliness a lot. I don't know of any dirtier place than that.Our idea of cleanliness is sweeping own yard and throwing the garbage over the wall and on to the road.Restaurant workers are most unclean because many are from outside Kerala and low paid.
    Basically it all starts from the licensing business. I know a friend of mine who started a small cafeteria here and the kind of processes he had to go through.They are very strict about food outlets here. Our government has no time for all this.

    1. Even I wanted to mention how things are done out here in my post but somehow missed it. Here the municipality checks often and seals the restaurant if they find it dirty.. moreover sandwiches and shawarma shops are to be under full view of the customer. There is no way one can hide dirt and sloppiness. It is mostly the Indian restuarants who try to find a way out. They take the licence of a sandwich shop and later build rooms and kitchens. A few months ago municipality took stern action aginst such establishments and now they are forced to operate under the eyes of the public. It is time Kerala too took sterner action, after all a good part of the revenue comes from tourists.

  4. I stopped eating food from restaurants few months ago, before the shavarma incident took place. Ernakulam witnessed problems in food preparation and many restaurants were closed as a result.

    The question is "does a boy has to die for such actions to initiate?"

    1. Abhi, it is a good decision. These restaurants need to learn a good lesson the hard way. After all they are playing with the lives of their customers.

      Our media opens their eyes only when a disaster happens. In fact when they are falling among themselves for news, at least one of them could have taken this subject even earlier. Now one should wait to see how long this thamasha will stand.. until another dies.


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