Sundeep Bhutoria

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ess bee

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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Food or the `feedback call'

I returned to Kolkata from holidays and during the holidays missed out on quite a few events in the city, including Srijit’s most talked about film Hemlock Society. Except for this   holiday, this year I have been travelling extensively .
Being a frequent traveller, I keep checking in and out of starred properties of reputed national and international hotel chains. One of the most irritating aspects of being in such otherwise nice and luxurious hotels is that dreaded `feedback’ call.
I call it the dreaded `feedback’ call because of its timing. The call is from either the hotel’s room service or the chef or the felicitation desk or the guest relations executive (GRE) or for that matter it can be from any quarter of the hotel.
The phone call is made in right earnest to find out if I had enjoyed the food. The call is loaded with good intentions but it grates on me. I invariably have to get up in the middle of my meal to answer it. I am sure many others do the same.
I think the very idea of getting up to answer a phone call in the middle of a nice meal takes away much of the good work done by the chef. Especially when a room does not have a cordless phone and you have to get up from one side of the dining table and get to another side of the room to the bedside, or perhaps a study table, to take the call.
If you happen to be a regular or special guest at the hotel, who had on an earlier occasion complained about the food, you are marked out in a certain way. The complaint gets registered in the system quite like the way the special dietary needs of guests are registered.
So the next time such guests check in, the hotel staff is alerted and they try to avoid repeat of any earlier slip ups. Hence the haste in seeking your feedback and that dreaded `feedback call'. At times when one has not even got started with the meal the phone buzzes on especially if you enjoy VIP status in the hotel. Then there are moments when you are in the middle of your meal and have to get up to take the call.
I appreciate the concern and care the hotel extends to its guests but they should not over do it. There should be a common sense approach with regard to the timing of such calls. A bad timing can mar the good intent behind such calls.
I personally feel that if you order some particular kind of food that is not in the menu, you should also call up the room service or the concerned department to appreciate their effort to comply with your request.
I think the hotels are doing a great job competing with each other to keep their guests happy and comfortable. But they should also ponder upon some of the finer points. Doing something about the `feedback call' could be a good starting point.
ess bee

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