Posts Tagged ‘eating out’

Starbucks: when many doors close, a new one opens ahead… or was it the other way around?

Starbucks- the oh so famous coffee store featured in almost every American sit-com, has been a topic of numerous posts and headlines in the US, since it’s been closing some of its stores and has announced that more will shut their doors in the months to come.

The story of Starbucks is one bound to be told and learnt in lessons at the faculty of economics… the company that was once opening a store daily somewhere around the world, is now shrinking drastically to survive…

Meanwhile, in Argentina, the land where outdated is still a breakthrough, Starbucks opened its first store a bit less than two months ago.

And why am I writing about it now, you might ask. The answer is simple, I wanted to experience it first hand before writing anything about it… (the other reason is that I didn’t even have a blog at the time, anyways)

And why hadn’t I experienced it first hand until very recently? This answer is a funny one… it turns out that the once global Starbucks frenzy hit the inhabitants of Buenos Aires, and so one had to wait in line (sometimes even for an hour) to enter the store and get the otherwise “on-the-go” cup of precious Starbucks coffee….

Why do we stand in a 200 mts long line waiting to drink the coffee of a company that is falling apart in the other hemisphere? (coffee which is -by the way- grown in the 3rd world, bought at ridiculously low prices by the 1st world and then stingily sold back to us as if it was gold) The answer is: I have no idea, but it’s not the first time…  it is told that the Conquerors took the gold and silver from South America and left mirrors and necklaces in exchange.

In any case, Dechi and I went to give it a try. We paid a crazy amount of money for 2 coffees and 2 muffins, and sat down at a perfect recreation of an US store. We went on a rainy afternoon, making sure there were  no people waiting in line. The mood of the workers was a bit overly-happy, but it wasn’t rude, so I can’t complain. The system was slightly different than in the US (a guy would intercept you as soon as you crossed the door, suggest you a product, write his favourite version of your name on your cup and hand it to you), but we figured it was because it’d be a bit hard for us “porteños” to get used to it so suddenly (we’ll see how it works out later on). The coffee was good and the muffins were great, but the total amount spent resulted in that I probably won’t go back anytime soon. I wonder how many customers will remain after the “new-old-thing” madness dissipates… with those prices, I’m guessing that not an awful lot…

Dechi was a bit upset when her name (Denise) was mutilated to “Denu” by the guy taking your order at the front of the store… not nice.

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Duckling- NOT Chick

I know that I am posting about restaurants a bit too often lately… uhm… well, I have been eating out more often lately, maybe that’s why ;)
Today I met Dechi for lunch and we had lunch at the same restaurant as before… well, it’s not exactly the same, it’s the same owner but a different branch… The menu is pretty much the same though, and, of course, there’s the crayons…

Well, I can’t complain. Today’s food was delicious and the service was even better. The lady who waited our table was really patient and friendly… our order didn’t get lost in translation, and we even got a second round of “pan de campo”(some kind of home-made bread…)!! So, yeah.. NO Pesos de Paciencia today, and a good (and well deserved) tip :)

Today’s drawing was a bit limited due to the scarcity of crayon and colours. This is what I came up with… A little duckling (patito), who was mistaken for a chick (pollito) by Dechi. Below you can see a portion of the conversation between Patito and D.

Patito:- I’m Patito
D: – It looks like a pollito!
P: – I am NOT pollito
D: – Ah! it looks like a pollito…
P: – I don’t care

I know, disrespectful little creature… today’s youth is out of control!!

Pesos de Paciencia (or Patience Dollars/Euros for international purposes)

In my last post I promised to share the idea I had after being dissatisfied with the service at a restaurant.
So here’s what I thought of, as we were paying that last time:

The waiter brought the bill and we paid. When he brought back the change, we realized we had we had not enough coins or small bills to leave a tip. So we started searching frantically for any lost coin we could have in the hidden corners of our bags… as usual, D. had more coins than I did (I am a shame when it comes to paying, I sometimes don’t even have enough money to pay for my food!). But with all our effort, we couldn’t reach the 10% tip that we like to leave after a meal. I found a free postcard and said, jokingly, “I could leave them this, how much do you think it’s worth?”
An then it came to me… the service had been quite disappointing, and what one usually does (at least over here in Bs As) is not leave a tip when you are not happy with it. We figured we would still leave the few coins that we could gather up, but we would also use the postcard as an opportunity to leave a little comment, or “constructive criticism”, as I like to think of it.

So I started drawing something along the lines of a money bill on the white side of the postcard, and I decided that it could account for the amount of money I would have left as a tip, had I been happy with the service provided.
In other words, I thought that, as a creative way to suggest improvements, I could leave a personal money bill that is worth the tip that the waiter/waitress would have won had they not forgotten to take our order, bring our order and bring the check at the end of the already seemed like an eternal dinner.

D. felt a bit embarrassed by my idea, but I decided it was a pacific way to express my disappointment and not make a public scene (which usually makes everyone uncomfortable and upset). I hope I wasn’t too offensive… what do you think?

ps: I will soon post a prototype of the bill, which I baptized “Peso de Paciencia” or “Patience Dollar”… anyone is free to use the idea if they find it suitable.

Scribbling at the dinner table

There’s this restaurant that I’ve been to with Dechi a couple of times. We like it because it’s good food, at a very reasonable price, and because… well, because they cover the tables in paper and give you crayons to play around while you wait for the food.

Usually, the food doesn’t take too long to arrive and so your table has very relaxed drawings that can easily be forgotten when the wonderful flavours of your order flood your senses (yes, the food is THAT good)… and by now you might be asking yourself, what is this restaurant, lau?? are you going to say the name?!?!?!
and the answer is… well, NO. first of all, because I am not interested in making any kind of publicity in my blog, and second, because what happened the last two times doesn’t amerit a recommendation…

The previous time, we made our order some 8 minutes after sitting down, and 40 minutes later (way overdue!) the waitress comes to our table and asks “what was your order again? coz i think the kitchen forgot to prepare it”… perfect, another 20 minutes later, the place being almost empty, we got our food… fine, no hard feelings.

So we went back tonight. We went really early, there were probably 5 tables taken out of some 50 (?) total. The waitress sat us down and basically ignored us for 30 minutes. Everyone who arrived after us had ordered or was already eating when we realized we had been totally forgotten (yes, it was the crayon’s fault that we didn’t realize sooner!) and we started making signs to the girl, who know seemed to ignore us purposely… we finally got ahold of a guy, who was not supposed to wait our table but agreed to bring us something to drink in the meantime. After some minutes he realized that we’d sit there all night if he didn’t take our order, so he finally did. After that, the food took notably longer than usual to arrive, and when we ordered the bill, they forgot to bring it to us…

So, yeah, it was sort of a crappy service. Not that I love criticizing… I like it, but I don’t loooove it. Anyways, so by the time we had paid and we would leave a tip as is custom, I came up with an idea for those times when you want to supply some constructive criticism without making a big fuss over the bad service…. but I guess I’ll have to wait until the next post to tell you about it.

For now, I’ll let you enjoy some of the drawings that came out thanks to our food-frustration…