I have nothing against Chili's itself. The food is great. They are able to carry over their excellent presentation of food (particularly their steak) from US to Penang. And, the service is great, of course with the exception that I'm gonna elaborate here.
The gang here (especially A) were appalled at the poor service provided by their manager-on-duty on Sunday, April 27, 2008, around noon. We understood that Chili's has this "no seating of incomplete party" policy, which is fair enough for peak hours, where the seats are almost fully occupied. It is not fair to other customers if those who came early reserved seats for their friends who would be hours late.
Anyway, the problem here was, at noon, the seats were empty and unoccupied. Almost 70% of them were free. So, there were 4 of us, and we were still waiting for the other 5 friends who were merely 15 minutes late. What the manager offered us was a square table for 4 at that moment. And when A asked the manager (I don't care what his name was) how about the other 5, whether we can have 9-pax table arranged first, he threw at us the known policy to shunt our request. C'mon. Does it sound like a policy of the dead? He is the manager, and he can easily bypass the policy, given the time where there is NO customers.
Now the interesting part. I was actually thinking: why not we took a 4-seater table, and when the rest came, just join 2 more 4-seater tables, so that 9 of us could eventualy be seated at the elongated table. The manager said that, we could take a table for 4. When the other 5 arrived, they will be at the awaiting list until there are empty seats. We were like "what the..." A screamed, "ISN'T THAT OBVIOUS (that there are many empty seats)?"
And interestingly, A never had such service, even when he requested the same during peak hours (7pm onwards). Putting aside "customer is always right" thingy, by knocking some sense into that manager's brain, he should know that the policy is actually flexible. Well, we just met another piece of log who would not even move even when it was kicked. At least now we know who's the most incompetitive, inconsiderate, moronic Chili's manager out there...
A has a point. He asked us how we felt. I really felt belittled. At one point of time during the argument above, I purposely said aloud, "Since this is so difficult for them, why not we go somewhere else?"
So, eventually we headed to Seoul Garden a floor down. We really had a hearty lunch - a buffet-style steamboat. [ I was a bit like ugh, another round of buffet. Click here to know why. ] We got to know a new friend. Rather, a new girlfriend (to B). We were like crazy in refilling our stock with raw marinated chicken and beef, and we were grilling it like nobody's business. We even experimented with grilling with onions, mushroom, spring onions, capsicums, and topped with SG's special sauce. Not exactly experimenting, as we had done that before. B did his banana sweet sauce again, and grilled his thick-banana-sauced beef bulgogi a.k.a. the BBB (B's Banana Beef). Tasted a bit strange, but I like food adventure - anyway, I do like banana, and I love beef.
In the end, we had too much uncooked leftover. We gotta get rid of them lest we would be charged RM5 for every 100gm of food wasted. So, B went and placed the uncooked material back to the buffet counter. Eventually, what's left is leftover cooked food that the waiter just ignored, and in minutes, our table was cleared. So, when A teased at us, particularly B (for he's known as food bin - you know what I mean lah - cannot finish food? Throw to B!), where the food has gone... That moment I felt as if God was asking Adam and Eve about the eating of the forbidden fruit, forwe got this response from B and his GF:
Anyway, we had a fun and hearty lunchtime. I think I will never go to Chili's for lunch.