Sundeep Bhutoria

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Monday, November 1, 2010

Brand name, bad name

Last weekend I went to a coffee lounge located on Wood Street with a friend. Though I am a regular at Flury’s in Park Street, I seldom go to the other cafes in Kolkata. But when I am on tour overseas, Starbucks is one of my favourite joints. The café on Wood Street has a provision for sitting indoors as well as outdoors and happens to be the only other cafe in Kolkata that I think I have visited more than once.
On earlier occasions too, I have noticed that sometimes Darjeeling tea is not available and at times the chocolate desert we are told has finished. This is quite unusual for any outlet. But when I requested for bottled water I was shocked when told that it was out of stock. I picked a bottle from my car to which the steward did not object as there was no other provision for bottled water in the cafe.
After placing the order I was discussing with my friend about the The Bengal's new initiative to launch an awareness campaign against use of banned plastics bags. The waiter brought us green apple soda in a glass and a cool blue drink in a plastic container. We thought the waiter must have misunderstood and presumed that the cool blue drink was for take away. But when my friend requested him to serve the drink in a glass, the waiter apologized saying, “Sorry we have very less number of glasses.” We looked at each other in dismay wondering what was wrong with this outlet. A quick glance, and I gathered that only 25 per cent of the seats in the café were occupied. Logically, there shouldn't have been any problems serving soft drinks in glasses.
I was really very surprised and went to the counter and inquired about the problem of no bottled or mineral water or glasses to serve in. The person at counter said these items were not in the stock and that they were waiting for the stocks to be replenished.
This cafe enjoys a national brand image and the company prides itself as being a “youth aggregator” and even brags about the fact that its success in India hinges on 3As i.e., Accessibility, Affordability and Acceptability. Fine. No disputes on that. But the top management should know that another very important A (Availability) is missing from their equation of success.
If something very basic, that thousands of customers ask for in a cafe, is just not available then the other 3As are rendered meaningless. The quality of service should be uniform all across the country. The young generation should also be aware of the quality of services rendered by these café outlets and speak out whenever they feel there is deficiency in service.
I only hope “…… it was one of those days” and the Wood Street café outlet was an exception. If not, all I can say is that – We not only get the government we deserve, we also get the kind of cafe we deserve.
As I have said so many times, all consumers who encounter such deficiency in service should point it out to the management. I intend to do exactly that. Shoddy services give brand name a bad name.
ess bee

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