Chefette Restaurant Needs To Be More Customer Friendly

At BU we are not happy when we have to name and shame, but we received the following information and were able to verify the story as true. We have taken a decision to publicize in the interest of promoting awareness in the Barbadian public, that we need to demand that our suppliers of products and services maintain high standards.  BU  is asking that Chefette revisit its customer service policy. We understand that mistakes will happen but it is how we respond which can go along way in satisfying  customers. BU remain committed to publishing any story about any company if we can verify it.

Below is a letter that one of my colleagues typed up as a result of the incident at Chefette. This letter was sent to Mr. Haloute & his response was less than acceptable. Please forward this as this is a real issue that affects us all whether we eat at Chefette or not. At the bottom is another email that was sent by another person in our building who had a similar experience at Chefette as well & felt the need to share her story.

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Dear Reader,

I would like to inform you of an incident that occurred Monday, July 16, 2007 at the Chefette Warrens branch. One of my colleagues at work (who is by the way pregnant) had just purchased one order of macaroni pie, a macaroni salad and a small mauby and subsequently brought it back to her workstation to eat. However, on opening the container with the macaroni pie and taking her fork and rummaging through it, as is her custom with anything she eats (Thank God!), she was horrified to find a worm in her food and had to stifle the urge to vomit.

Now you can imagine how upset she was and we too were very concerned, as a group of us had also just purchased lunch from the same branch. One other colleague was so traumatized that she immediately threw her pie into the garbage, not even wanting to risk opening the container.

In support of our pregnant colleague, three of us accompanied her back to Chefette to return the food as she was also feeling a bit queasy/weak and is also by nature a very soft spoken and shy individual but we told her that it was unacceptable to do nothing regarding the food, as who knew how many persons had ordered food which contained these worms or even worse, particularly those ordering from the same batch of pie.

On arriving at the branch we immediately went up to the Barbeque Barn section and asked to speak with the Manager on duty, a Mr. Orlando Harris. When he came to us we told him about the worm and then showed him and expressed how shocked we were and to his credit, he at least apologized.

However, the problem came when we asked Mr. Harris how our colleague was to be reimbursed. Mr. Harris proceeded to tell us that he was willing to replace the pie with an item of the same value (i.e. a mere $6.00) from the menu but our colleague informed him that she does not normally eat the other things. We then asked if she could not be given a gift certificate to which he replied that he was not authorized to give these out.

Following this we asked him to return the pie as he had taken it up from the counter to look at the worm. He blatantly refused to do this asking why we would want it back. We told him that it was rightfully still our colleague’s pie and if she wanted she could have it back. He told us again that he was not returning it to us (in essence stealing the pie) and promptly gave it to one of his staff to take into the back as quickly as possible.

He went on to tell our colleague that she could return to Chefette at her convenience to redeem this offer of replacing a $6.00 macaroni pie with some other $6.00 alternative, and that he or his staff would be willing to fulfill this order but that he could give us no written confirmation or assurance of this, even though it would supposedly be entered into a database. This seemed quite ludicrous to us as he had not even taken our colleague’s name and only did so at my indication that he had not. On asking for the name of his manager, he responded by saying that he was the manager. I asked again this time asking if he was the manager for the entire Warrens branch to which he said yes even though he was only the manager on duty. I then took his name and he insisted on having mine for what reason I do not know and as such did not give him.

We also found it quite strange that he had only suggested this option of having a $6.00 replacement and did not even offer to refund our colleague’s money as she had in fact returned her order (with the exception of the drink) and not just the macaroni pie or give her the option of ordering something else on the menu, regardless of the price due to the nature of her complaint. This was not a matter of just saying that the food did not taste good or was not warm etc., there was a worm in her food for goodness sake!

We had to tell him that the best thing would be to return her money, as there was no satisfaction to be had by a $6.00 replacement! So at the end of it we have to say that we do not think that the manner in which Mr.
Orlando Harris responded to this particular incident was acceptable. I too, am a Manager and there are times when managers have to act and make effective decisions based on the issue at hand. Even if he did not know how to handle the particular situation he should have made an effort to at least consult with the other Manager on duty (who we only later found out was there after calling the head office to report the incident) or call one of his superiors, although he would have us believe he had none.

In a time when our country is striving towards service excellence and with all the NISE initiatives prevalent; this is a sad situation for a leading fast food restaurant to be in. Already 12 of us from my company have agreed not to be customers of the Warrens branch anymore and although one might say that this means nothing it actually does. Customer service is of prime importance and greater businesses have been toppled as a result of poor customer service. Moreover, a food establishment should also be very concerned about health and food safety and we do not believe that this was a one-off incident with regards to this branch, as we’ve heard other horrifying reports having returned to our office.

To the owners of Chefette and managers all around we want you to remember that happy customers might tell one or two people about a good experience but dissatisfied customers are usually the ones to tell the world!

The below email is from another lady in our building who had an experience at Chefette as well.

I am truly horrified to see that this has happened to your work colleague. Since Mr. Harris was not so NISE, I am giving you the names of people in the top of Chefette. Mr. Assad Haloute, Mr. Pelai Haloute and Ryan Haloute. Assad & Pelai are owners but I am not sure if they are involved in the day to day runnings of the company. Ryan on the other hand is a director (i forget which one tho). Please be sure to let me know what the outcome is when you speak to them. I am just sorry you did not take a picture of it to send to the nation because i would have gladly taken directly to the chief editor at the Nation for you.

I personally have stopped patronizing them because I find that the service down right sucks and the ladies are rude to the utmost. I went to buy a meal some time back and I watched them make a milkshake and then wipe the aggetator off with the same wetex they wipe the counters off with. I have never bought another milkshake again. Then a friend, she had one and opened the cup to share it between her sons and as she poured out came a cockroach. I think we should circulate your email to as many people as we possibly can and show them that we, the customers, can be not to NISE to them. Also this should be sent to the Ministry of Health as I strongly believe that they do not do enough inspections of restaurants in Barbados.

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10 thoughts on “Chefette Restaurant Needs To Be More Customer Friendly

  1. Well, well, well what a level we have reached when Lynch can refer to someone as a liar, we have reached a new low.
    When the accused can play in the same league as Lynch he is doing well as we have all witnessed that Lynch has no equal when lying is the issue.
    Do we remember his 90,000 vistors for CWC, or the 700 yachts visting or the 45,000 visitors on the 35 cruise ships or the sham of the lease of the Destiny for US $ 15 million.
    He is a compulsive liar with no limit to his fantasy, when will Muscle Mary finally awake from his slumber ?

  2. On this Chefette issue, the manager at Chefette in Warrens should be fired forthwith. It is people like him with such arrogant attitudes that gives companies a bad name.

    I would like to see this story get more press — posted in the Nation’s paper, on the Nation’s website and aired on the various radio stations. Chefette needs to be exposed.

    I’d love to see this article making headline news which reads, “Chefette now serving Worms and Cockroaches.

    I hope the directors and/or owners of Chefettes follow-up on this incident; otherwise they should be boycott.

  3. Go boys and girls. i 100% behind you. time bajan companies learn that customers come first. there are some companies that cant get a cent from me even if they are the only ones with the product i need. i would get on a plane and go to america first. when we get some real competition in barbados, companies will change their sick attitudes. those that do not will go out of business and we will see the pompous managers like mr harris at this cheffette on the street out of work

  4. I came across this story through Global Voices, and cannot believe that the manager did not sincerely apologize and immediately offer to return her money.

    In this case, since the food was not edible, the offer of another item should have been her option – not the first offer by the restaurant.

    He definitely needs to be fired!

  5. Pingback: Say it ain’t so, Chefette, say it ain’t so « The Bystander

  6. Would you believe that the young lady that send out this email is about to be fire for sending this from her work email address. Yes Marcus Evans B’dos Ltd is in the process of firing the girl. Is this sick or what, but I am not surprise they don’t care about theie employees so why would they care if one of their employees eat a worm.

  7. Pingback: BU’s Top Post July 2007 « Barbados Underground

  8. i’m from st lucia i like the beef roti ,but with this case i do not think it is safe for me . i think i will say away from this place . i love myself to mush . i think the manger should be sent home at once . so i think chefette owner must take a good look at it’s mangers

  9. I received thi today (jan ’08!) and wonder if this lady has indeed been fired from her job at Marcus Evans. This shows up the need for an Employees’ Rights Bill which the BLP government has tricked all employees into believing they were bringing and could not have found time to look after us…their now and then “small man” as they say! We shall overcome… some day coming soon!

  10. I’m from England and I had never had the chefette before i came on a family holiday. We all love the chefette and want to come back. Love roti’s love the cherry vanilla ice cream too !

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