Monday, November 9, 2009

Not a happy Ritual

Okay folks, so it's one of my biggest sources of frustration living in Trinidad: poor or non-existent customer service. I don't really suffer with road rage, but boy does an arrogant waitress drive me crazy! (I can even visualise my hand zinging towards the head of whomever has wronged me and slapping them on the forehead with a loud pax!) Or a server who will look you straight in the eye and tell you that full cream milk is cream, and then point the word 'cream' out to you on the label. (I kid you not - buy a bananaberry frost from that concession stand in the Movietowne food hall and although the sign clearly says bananas, strawberries and CREAM, what you'll get is bananas, strawberries and milk, and a really bad attitude when you ask, once you've watched the drink being prepared, "Where's the cream?"

To me, the worst example of shite customer service - I mean the kind that can have me seething with rage or reduced to tears (depending on my mood prior to entering the establishment) is the coffee chain Rituals. Here's the thing - I love a lil' cappucino or cafe latte and those fried apple fritter things. So there are times when I'll got to a Rituals once a day - especially if I've run out of my house in the morning sans coffee. I reckon I've been to maybe five or six different outlets of Rituals, and although the coffee is okay, the experience of being served there can ruin even the freshest apple fritter. I don't know - at times I try to be patient and find excuses for the junk and often belligerent service I get: these people just don't receive enough training; poor management; crappy salaries. But then I think this is just complete crap that there are no excuses for... because it's always the same, no matter what outlet of Rituals I go into. Perhaps the bosses and them just don't care to ensure their customers have a pleasurable experience.

Suggestion: train the staff to understand that their job is to SERVE customers, not steups at customers, ignore customers, roll their eyes when customers order, stroll to the coffee machine, stroll back to the customer, quarrel with other staffers when there are customers around, talk on their cellphones while customers are waiting to order, respond to customers with their backs turned. I mean!! Make it a happy Ritual nuh!

Oh - and on another note: why can't they serve some local coffee in Rituals? In Jamaica it's a source of pride (and too a higher price) that they can say at coffee shops, "Blue Mountain Coffee". I'd like to be able to buy some local coffee at Rituals. And some regular cakes that are made in Trinidad: sponge cake, for example, would be lovely. Really good coconut drops - hey, why not? A little rum cake. It doesn't ALL have to be foreign, does it?


  1. Funny you should mention sponge cake. Just yesterday I had some amazing sponge cake baked by my grandmother--pure simplicity, pure bliss. But sponge cake and coconut drops aren't fahn-cey enough for the likes of Rituals, Jardin, et al.

    As for the interminable service problem, there really is only one solution: foreign staff.

  2. After having my fav coffee drink (mochachino) back at home in August at a Rituals, I asked if it was made with local coffee beans. The 'server' said, "No, here is called Rituals not Traditionals." I guess that's your whole whole point right there in a nutshell.

  3. My goodness! That is exactly what I was talking about! And yes Jonathan - we make wonderful, simple and delicious cakes here. I keep harping back to Jamaica - there are so many places where you can buy excellent baked goods that are local. Why not so at Rituals here?

  4. maybe when the chinese are finished with the peformance art centre...but oh wait... they finish that already...

  5. A friend of mine was having a meal with a friend of hers at a local café. Her friend ordered fresh orange juice. When the waitress brought it, the friend tasted it and said to the waitress "But this isn't fresh." The waitress responded: "Yes, it fresh. It fresh from the pack." This is a true story.

  6. The management has to bear a lot of the blame - you get what you pay for. They get paid barely anything, they're expected to work really long hours and double-shifts on a moment's notice, vacation is nonexistent, and if you don't like it you can leave. They treat the staff like that and pay no attention to hiring productive staff, ignore hr issues, and the staff respond in kind.

    I love the "Traditionals" comment. A real smartass answer.

    On another note (pet peeve) customers need to recognise that while the staff are there to serve, they are not slaves. It doesn't hurt to be polite.

  7. I totally sympathise with you. I JUST stumbled on your blog and i bookmarked it :) I'm going to try that Sushi on Marli Rd soon.
    I agree with all the comments and your own rant no Rituals but here's my story on when I actually wrote an email to management. Trust me, it will suprise the heck out of you.

  8. Rituals annoys me too - why on earth do they serve "mexican hot chocolate" when T&T has perfectly great local cocoa and our own spiced chocolate drink. There is nothing local there - and they seem quite happy about it. I never get any flavoured drinks there because it's all imported syrups you find anywhere.

    btw welcome to the Trini foodblogging world!

  9. Wow! Quilin, I just read your post about your Rituals experience! Can you send me some contact information - I'd like to send the post to he people you mentioned. The problem is that the service still sucks... but none-the-less, I'd like them to read it.

    Thanks for your comments, folks.