I have written before about the fact that "service" is a completely unknown concept in the Malaysian service industry. The weird thing is that even when Malaysian companies try to copy American franchise concepts they always - without exception - forget the level of service. I am not a great fan of American franchise concepts but one thing they do have in common (apart from the food mostly being utter rubbish) is a high level of service and even when these franchises operates in Malaysia, they mostly do try to bring a reasonable service level with them (they don't always get it right - but they mostly try).
One of the local copies are a cafe style franchise called Dome (at least I think that's Malaysian). Coffee is just as good as places like Starbucks or Coffee Bean and the food even a little bit better (not that that is hard) - but the service????? I don't even know where to begin.
A few days ago I was waiting for a friend at Dome's KLCC (Kuala Lumpur City Centre) outlet. When I arrived I guess about 2/3 of the tables were occupied. I know that it is a local custom but I normally can't bring myself to yell at a waiter - so I would normally just wait until either being serviced or being pissed enough to leave. In this case it took 20 - I am not joking - 20 minutes until a waiter paid any attention to me. And when he approached it was not to pick up my order but to inform me that the table was reserved. WTF? Reserved??? At this time all the other tables were occupied except one that was squeezed in tightly between other tables. When I complained the waiter directed my attention to a sign on the table "clearly stating" that the table was reserved:
Yes that's right - that's how the "sign" looked and well - if one bothered to unfold the paper it did indeed say "reserved" handwritten on the backside.
One thing I have learned in Malaysia is never ever to discuss with waiters - first of all they are not really responsible and second - they mostly couldn't care less and quite often get rude if one complain, so I asked to talk to the manager or supervisor on duty. I waited another 15 minutes or so - during which time I reminded the waiter about 2-3 times that I would like to talk to the manager or supervisor - but he or she whoever it was - was clearly not interested in listening to me.
After 15 minutes I just decided to leave. It is not as if there are no other choices. Chinoz has got pretty OK service. So - all in all I spend about 35 minutes waiting and at NO point did anyone bring me a menu or asked me if I wanted to anything.
It is amazing that a place like that can survive pissing on their customers that badly.