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Day Trips in the City Food Living in Singapore

Pastamania at Downtown East – GREAT Service

This is just a short note I wanted to write to praise the customer service at Pastamania at Downtown East.

Tonight, we went up there to have dinner and there was a problem with the pizza I ordered.  Within a few minutes the manager came out, addressed the situation, apologized for the inconvenience and made sure that a replacement dish was made.

To follow up on that, he came back to let me know the pizza would be out in a few minutes and apologized again for the problem.

I was happy and impressed with the level of attention that was given to our problem.

When the replacement pizza came we finished our meal and then got up and walked out of the restaurant.

Surprisingly, we hadn’t gone more than five feet out the door when I heard the manager calling after us and running to catch up with us.  He said the problem with the food shouldn’t have happened, apologized for the extra time we had to wait, and that he hoped we’d be coming back in the future.  Additionally, he gave us a voucher for a free pizza.

That’s what I’m talking about!  This manager has a great personality and does his job well.  Pastamania in general has always had a great attitude in regard to customer service.  You can see it in how every cashier, waiter / waitress, and manager handles themselves.  Well, at the Tampines and Pasir Ris branch at least.

Despite there being something wrong with the dish I ordered, I’ll definitely be going back to the same location again.  Good service is worth repeat business.

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Food Living in Singapore

Singapore’s First Wendy’s Is Great, But Why Lau Pa Sat?

We’ve known Wendy’s was here in Singapore for quite a few weeks but we just never took the time to get out to it.  The reason is that it’s not situated in a very easy to get to area.  It’s way out in Lau Pa Sat.  First off, that’s a good distance away from where most anyone lives, and it’s not a major thoroughfare like Orchard Road either.  It’s sitting off by itself, near Raffles MRT station.  It’s not easy to find if you’re not familiar with the area and it’s not a place you can stop to eat at while window shopping.

View Larger Map

 

If you look at this map, you can see that it’s not even close to the MRT station. Zoom out twice and you’ll see Raffles MRT a bit north of the location.  The reason this is bad is that this is the first Wendy’s in Singapore.  It has to make a name for itself, and it’s not going to be able to do that effectively where it’s located.  Besides the fact that it’s hard to get to, it’s been stuck in with a landmark food court that sells local dishes.  That makes it a hard choice, even if you went there specifically intending to go to Wendy’s.  My wife and I almost passed on it to eat the satay that was being served right next to it.  This restaurant would fare a lot better in a mall at the least, and on Orchard Road somewhere for sure.  I suppose what it does have going for it is that a lot of foreigners likely work in the surrounding area, but even so it could have been better situated.

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That aside, it was nice to see that familiar Wendy’s logo.  When I lived in the US I rarely ate there.  I just didn’t care for the burgers that much and I still don’t, more so than ever after watching Food Inc.  So, in the US I would usually pass them up for Arby’s or Subway or Chinese or Mexican.  You get the point.  If this were the first Wendy’s in a US town I wouldn’t have even cared.  But, since I’m an American in a foreign country it was worth the trip just to have a small taste of home.

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Despite the location, many people were making their way out there to eat.  The line stayed consistently long the entire time we were there.

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And also despite my desire for a small taste of home, I wound up loading two trays with my order for my wife and I.  My wife was downtown already and couldn’t wait so she got started with a cup of chili and a salad.  When I got there, I ordered some additional food.  Like I said, I never did care for the burgers so I didn’t bother to order one.  Instead I opted for the Grilled Chicken Ceaser Salad, which was good.  We also got a cup of chili, a chili cheese baked potato, sour cream and chives baked potato, two small Frosties and a medium Coke.  It’s more filling than it sounds.  It was all great, especially the chili.  I was surprised at how well it was priced, considering how much meat was in it.  I think it was only 3.50.  Or maybe 2.50.

It’s well worth the effort of finding it and I’m sure we’ll be making another trip soon to enjoy the chili and Frosties again.

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Living in Singapore

Cleaning Up After Yourself At Fast Food Establishments

The past two years saw a similar campaign for food courts, but they were not well-received.”Encouragement has been done a lot, in schools, in army camps, in polytechnics, in universities, everywhere. But once they go to a food court, they have the habit of just (leaving the trays behind after eating), which I think is not very good,” said Sim.

Six fast-food companies – McDonald’s, KFC, Mos Burger, Subway, Superdog, and Long John Silvers – will have stickers on their tables for the rest of this year to remind customers to clear the trays and make everyone’s dining experience a pleasant one.

“I guess if it’s in the CBD area, there’s a larger concentration of local yuppies, the expatriates who are more aware of the needs of the diner after them. In the heartlands, people are closer to home, and they are used to domestic help, so probably they are still in that mind frame that people will clean up after them,” said Chan.

via channelnewsasia.com

This is something that surprised me when I moved to Singapore. In fast food restaurants, people simply got up and walked away, leaving their mess on the table. It seemed horribly rude.

I spent some time thinking about it and I realized that there’s really nothing that rude about it. If you’re in a restaurant, you’re there to be served. Part of the reason you eat out is that you want to enjoy a good meal and not have to clean up after yourself. That’s part of what you’re paying for.

So, why is it that in the US we always clean up the trays after ourselves? There are no signs. It’s just what my parents did and what others around me did, so I did it too. There’s no bonus for cleaning up after yourself. No one will call the police if you don’t do it.

I try to clean up behind myself most of the time, except in hawkers. Occasionally a cleaner comes by in a fast food restaurant and clears the table before I’ve gotten up to do it myself. It’s kind of nice, but at the same time I feel guilty.

I just hope that this lazy attitude towards cleaning up after myself doesn’t stick with me after I leave Singapore, or I could find someone spitting in my hamburger at a fast food restaurant I go to frequently.

One last thing I wanted to point out is that if this does go through here in Singapore, it may reduce the cost of meals in the long-run, but I doubt it. The chains will probably keep the prices high to increase their bottom line. On top of that, it will cause people to lose their jobs in a time when people should be thinking about how to create them, for the sake of the economy and the livelihood of families.

Categories
Food Living in Singapore

Jollibee in Singapore

Well, sort of.  It’s actually Happy V, the knockoff of Jollibee.  It’s located on the 2nd floor of Lucky Plaza Mall on Orchard Road.  Here’s a photo:

My wife was really excited to see that they serve palabok, but I’m not very fond of Jollibee so I doubt I’ll enjoy the knock off much either.