AFTER the Korean chicken craze hit the market a few years back, my son and I developed a hankering for double-fried chicken brushed with sweet, sometimes spicy, soy-based sauce. Even though we didn’t quite enjoy our Chicken Charlie experience as much as I had hoped, that didn’t quell our fondness for fowl.
Enter Manang’s Chicken. This may be a Philippine-owned company, but they serve up crunchy fried chicken tailored to Philippine tastes, glazed with your choice of soy garlic, mild spicy, or extra spicy sauce, reminiscent of Bon Chon Chicken (review to follow).
According to a feature segment I once saw on late-night TV, the story behind this product is that the owners’ old babysitter — Manang — used to whip up a special fried chicken recipe for them back in their childhood. It was so well-loved that it became the foundation for this scrumptious product that we enjoy now.
My son and I have been regular customers at Manang’s Tomas Morato branch, and for several months now we have been enjoying good service from the store’s regular staff (Anna and Louie) and consistent good product quality. That is, until Monday last week.
The cashier manning the register was a guy named Joey, and as always, I rattled off our orders, which were two meal sets, plus dessert. Afterwards, Joey reiterated the first meal set, paused, then asked what my next order was. Apparently he didn’t hear the second meal I had mentioned, so I recapped my second meal order, plus the dessert. Joey repeated the second meal, but again, it didn’t seem like he heard me mention the dessert, so I stated my dessert order for the third time.
You could imagine by now that my patience was wearing thin. Normally with the other cashiers, my son or I simply placed our orders once and they’d get it right the first time.
So after we had straightened out our orders, Joey asked if I wanted spicy catsup dip for my meal’s potato chips. I asked if the dip was already part of the meal and he said yes. So I said okay. Then he proceeded to ring up an extra charge for the catsup.
I started to bristle, and said that he just told me that the catsup was part of the meal, so why should he charge extra for it? He didn’t answer my question, but said it was sold separately. At which point I said, “So you’re doing suggestive selling by telling me that an item is part of the meal when in fact it isn’t, just so you can charge me extra?” And he said yes.
Since my son wanted the catsup, I decided not to backtrack on my order. But boy, was I furious.
Be honest with your customers. Never make anything up just to make a sale. And if you’re a customer dealing with dishonesty, the least you can do is call out the staff on their actions, if there is no manager present at the moment.
I wasn’t able to complain promptly and properly because my son would pick up on my agitation, which in turn would agitate him. So instead, we just chose to focus on the food, which was delicious as always.
Since it was an afternoon snack, my son had the BB2 Meal, consisting of two crunchy chicken patties (extra spicy sauce), a cup of rice, and potato chips. My meal was the crunchy chicken sandwich, which was a large salted bun filled with a crunchy chicken patty (also with extra spicy sauce) and fresh coleslaw, plus potato chips.
For dessert we shared the Velvet Sundae, a freshly baked chocolate cake in a cup topped with vanilla ice cream, chocolate chips, and chocolate syrup.
The Velvet Sundae is a perfect mix of warmth and cold, and creamy and chewy textures on the tongue. Also, Manang’s chips aren’t like your usual deep-fried potato chips. I think they’re baked beforehand, then deep-fried, to ensure excellent crispiness.
One detail that I appreciate in the store’s service is that the staff is trained to ask the customer if the latter prefers to have their dessert served after the meal, or with the meal. You don’t get that kind of consideration from bigger fast food joints.
One false move and a bad customer experience can invalidate several weeks, months, or even years of good customer-store relations. Sometimes this cannot be avoided, but with due vigilance, such unfortunate incidents can be minimized.
Right now I’m still smarting from the incident with Joey the cashier, but will my son and I return? Definitely. I just hope that Anna or Louie (with her charming misprinted name tag) will be manning the register when we do.
Have you experienced service in which you were misinformed or misled by an establishment’s staff into purchasing something? How did you handle it?
Manang’s Chicken Tomas Morato: Unit 2&3, Lansbergh Place, Tomas Morato, Quezon City