Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Craving for a Rant



For more than a week now, I have been waiting for a response from them. Just a response or acknowledgement. Nothing. Nada. I feel voiceless. So I guess I'll need to bring it to the next level. Not only to express my feelings but also to somehow serve as a lesson to others.

Last Tuesday, May 19, I sent the following letter via email to the Cravings Group (The Guerrero's are the owners from my research so I have put their names in the subject of the email as well.):


To: Miss Susana Guerrero & Miss Badgie Guerrero

I am writing this letter to express my disappointment with a recent event held at one of your Cravings Restaurant branches. The Tomas Morato branch, specifically. The incident(s) happened last Sunday, May 17, 2009.

I have chosen this venue since it is the most accessible to most of my friends and relatives. Also, that my recent job usually hosts functions in your Shangri-La Mall branch. Based on that, I have made my decision besides all the other restaurants available in Tomas Morato with good reviews from my Female Network online buddies. The branch did not offer a food tasting or any freebies aside from what is included in their amenities. With the P570/pax price, I thought the food must be of quality and quantity!

I have been in constant communication with Mr. RJ Villasenor regarding the details of the party until the day of the event. I have booked 50 persons from the P570/pax Set 1 menu after changing the pasta to be spaghetti as Mr. RJ said that the kids would prefer it so I agreed to it. Mr. RJ also mentioned that I can add 15 extra kids into the guest list instead of getting the kiddie buffet. This is a kiddie party for my son, by the way. I paid in full for 50 persons 2 days before the event even if I was able to confirm only 46 guests because I do not want to run out of food. Food has always been my number 1 PRIORITY in any event.

Each time we would discuss the details, he would always ask me if I would like to have his crew to stand by the buffet to make portions. I do not like this setup since I know that caterers only do this if the food is not enough.

When I walked into the venue, I was at first happy that the place looked nice and party ready. However, I noticed that Mr. RJ has setup only 35 adult (5 tables for 7 persons) and 16 kiddie seats (4 mini tables with 4 mini chairs). I talked to him regarding this and he said that we have agreed that the kids are included in the 50 persons. Why would I pay for 15 pax of food for kids? Then he added another table -- for 4 persons!


The table for four. Thanks, huh!

When guests arrive, we had to seat them in tables that has already been occupied. We have to ask for table utensils, water and ice tea from their disappearing waiters you have to look for outside of their function room. This goes the same if you would need to ask for a water refill.

Later into the party, we asked them to refill the buffet since it is already empty - do we really have to ask? They refilled the buffet using 1 plate per dish - not another chaffing dish as I was expecting more food from them. Of course, this refill run out sooner than the food served before so we asked Mr. RJ for more food but he said that all the food has been served. He kept on insisting that the 50 guests has been accommodated and even challenged us for a headcount. So we did, but he was nowhere to be found. Please note that there was only 45 adults, 5 kids and 3 infants. Ok, let’s say the kids are also paid as adults – so, where’s the buffer? And these are kids ranging from 3-9 years old who eats by how much? We were lucky that some of the guests did not make it to the party. Otherwise, we wouldn’t know what to feed them.

When the party ended, we asked for the leftover food to be packed. The only food left was rice, a bit of the dory fish, veggies, salad, and the awfully sour spaghetti. However, the crew chose to clean up instead of packing the food first. When they finally came around to packing, they kept on insisting that they have no styros for the food anymore. I was able to count only 6 or 10 of them. He kept on telling my mom to leave the salad because he said it will only wither (are they planning on reusing this? We paid for it, right?). Anyways, my mom insisted to take the salad even if they would put it in a clean plastic.

And finally, we left the place without apologies or even thank yous from the crew members. Mr. RJ was nowhere to be found still. I didn't look for him anymore as he seems unaccommodating right after I paid the full package price. Neither do I have the strength to argue after all the preparations I did for this event.

I’m not expecting much from this as the event has already been finished. I just hope it doesn’t happen to other people. I was wondering why I never found a review of Cravings when I started preparing for my son’s birthday, I guess I got the answer now.

Thank you for reading my letter besides it’s length. Somehow, my disappointment has lessened a bit from this.

Sincerely,
Tiggerlily



I am taking back the last sentence I wrote. Their non-acknowledgement shows exactly their own definition of customer service.

Another reason I chose them is because they have this Children's Party Package that includes the following:

-Gift for the Celebrant (which we never received)
-Kiddie Invitations (I asked them for this after confirmation of the event but never used it. My invites are far more decent.)
-Party Hats (non-existent as well)
-Name Tags (where?)
-Birthday Banner (Again, I didn't avail of this)
-Kiddie Tables and Chairs
-Colorful Hanging Ballon Decor (I could have saved more if I hired another vendor and chose another venue, you know.)
-Balloon Centerpiece for Adults Table
-Balloon Centerpiece for the Buffet
-One-round chilled juice for kids
-One-round Iced Tea for adults
-Separate dessert bar (somehow, I am wondering where they placed this)
-Two-layered fondant cake (which they said they baked but I doubt it. The box says it is ordered somewhere.)
-6 pcs. baby cakes

** I guess you have to ask for every little thing to get it.

The rent of the function room is free which includes the sound system and screen only for the LCD Projector to which I am very grateful for.


The cake and the baby cakes.

Because I knew I wouldn't have enough time, I wanted to be able to avail of these amenities. Should I run out of time to prepare, I will always have a fallback. Little did I know that what I needed a fallback from is THEM!

The food is so-so. Some of it were good and others are just hideous. I was also wondering where these little cakes has gone because I remembered having leftovers of these after the party but we never got it.



Here are more pictures from their setup just to show how simple it is:


The balloon burst and pinata are from a different vendor.


Buffet table


Adult's table


Kid's table

Please note that the alphabet blocks are my labor of love. I added it to the tables to make them more festive.

Below naman are their food from each chaffing dish. This is their first serving, the refill was from one plate. Then the last refill was only for rice and salad. So imagine how much they are serving for 50 persons. Notice how the chaffing dishes aren't even full from the first serving.








I was never a whiner. I do not usually complain. Sometimes it is bad to be too nice for your own good because people tend to abuse you. Apparently, they have reached the end of my rope. Thus, explaining this rant.

I think their name "Cravings" really speaks out for itself - because you won't have enough food on your plate.

Okay, now I can move on.

Images are from My Focal Point.

UPDATE last June 14, 2009:

I received an email message from Cravings (cravings.tomasmorato@yahoo.com) for their Dad's Day Out at Cravings promo. Ha! So, I answered with the following:

Please remove my email address from your email blasts as I am not interested with any of your products. I sent you an email regarding my disappointment with your services and I haven't received any feedback from you until now.


Once again, no response.

7 comments:

  1. Hi! the way i see your event, including the set-up its look so nice,

    I am in a Catering industry as well and as far I browsing the picture its look ok, and as expertise in this industry I believe that one (1)pan of food good for 50persons of the quantified serving of foods per food pan. And as you mentioned the food was refilled your lucky because they have refilled the food because the quantification of the food already good for the number of your reservation/guest.

    In serving buffet, do you know the difference from buffet to eat-all-you can?

    I guess you doesn't know this what it means.

    Its this your first time to make an event like this? Or even have your experience to attend a party on a fine dine-in restaurant? For thier price its very cheap with the free use of the venue, cake amenities. Your lucky dear to get that type of event with reasonable price, good quantification of food, good presentation, good ambiance..as well.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Dear Mam,

    I would just like to thank you for your comments. Your comments and opinions are very important to us and I apologize if you were not fully satisfied with your last function here at Cravings. Your constructive comments & observations were already discussed with our team. Rest assured that Charise Valenzuela & I, the new management of this outlet will continually strive to improve our products and services to meet and exceed your expectations. We hope to see to you in the days to come for you to experience the difference of the changes we have made with this outlet.

    I hope that you will reconsider and see us again soon.

    Rio R. Sanchez
    Assistant Manager
    Cravings Café – Tomas Morato
    Tel. No. 426 9736
    386 3506
    Mobile No.09222451981
    cravings.tomasmorato@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hello Anonymous,

    Thank you for the comment. I'm glad you liked the setup. I liked it, too. It looks so good in the pictures, eh?

    To answer your question, no, this is not my first time to prepare for an event. I did the preparation for my wedding as well. That is for 200 pax by the way.

    I know exactly the difference between buffet and eat-all-you-can, that's why I opted for Cravings instead of Dad's. Bad decision.

    Please read my post especially the email I sent to Miss Susana Guerrero & Miss Badgie Guerrero. I paid for 50 pax of food and the AE reserved only 35 adult seats for my guests. How much food do you think was prepared? Since you mentioned you are in the catering industry, I believe you would prepare 50 adult seats for a client who ordered for 50 pax of food. Or do you not?

    I would understand that you commented as Anonymous as it would be bad for your business should you name yourself.

    Food looks great, of course. I have a very good photographer.

    Good luck on your business. I hope you don't do what they did to me. It's bad luck, you know.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Rio,

    Thank you for your reply. However, it's like what? 26 months late. I appreciate the effort and I guess you're just doing your job. Let's change places and I'll ask you if you will reconsider should you experience what I have been through. And then all you get is a crappy apology after more than a year. What would you feel?

    If my comments and opinions are really important for you at all, an acknowledgement would have been appreciated. At least, a simple "Thanks. I'll look into it." would make me feel someone heard my call.

    I'm not sure how you got to my blog, but you know how the internet works.

    If I got this message last year, maybe. But now it's just too late.

    Thanks anyways.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi sis.. bluekaren here from GT.

    About the tables and chairs... Please correct me if i am wrong, huh? You mentioned na 46 pax lang ang nasa list mo. These 46 are all adults or included na yung 15 kids? If yes, maybe that's the reason why RJ provided adult tables and chairs good for 35 pax only. Nevertheless, i got your point. The mere fact that you ordered adult menu good for 50 pax, dapat talaga good for 50 pax din ang adult tables and chairs. And since part of the amenities ang kiddie chairs and tables, it should be provided pa rin regardless if the possibility na sobra-sobra na yung tables and chairs. I am not taking sides between you, RJ and anonymous. Pero if i would be in your shoes, mas maa-accept ko pa siguro yung reasoning aside from may arrangement kayo na included na yung kids sa over all headcount is a guarantee na if in case kulangin ang tables and chairs, may naka-stand by naman.

    But, if the story is not like this... kasi sabi nga niya, you can just add the 15 kids sa number of guests instead of ordering a separate kiddie meal, baka kasi ang expected guests mo is 46 adult and 15 kids... baka there has been a miscommunication. Baka it's his way of saying na instead of ordering 46 adult menu and 15 kiddie meals, order ka na lang ng one menu package for everyone or a total of 61 pax. Then on your side naman, ang understanding mo naman eh kahit 61 pax ka including kids, kakasya na ang adult menu good for 50 pax kasi possible na good for 55 pax (plus the 10% buffer) ang isi-serve nila.

    You mentioned na ang dumating ay 45 adults, 5 kids and 3 infants... You ordered for food that is good for 50 adults... Anonymous is right, a regular dish pan is good for 50 pax... kasya hanggang 55 pax (to include the buffer)... Then may kaunti pa kayong nai-take out. For me, medyo fair enough. Pero sigurista kasi ako. Hindi yung head count ang inaalam ko pag may doubt ako. Yung plate. As to how many plates ang nakalabas bago nag-open ang buffet at how many ang natira afterwards. Ako kasi, sa mga barkada pa lang naming mga basketball players, he-he.. di lang isa o dalawang beses bumabalik ang mga iyan... or may mga guests pa ako na iba na nga ang gamit na plato for all the ulam, iba pa ang gagamitin for the rice, iba pa para sa mga desserts... so definetely since kasya sa plate yung supposedly small servings lang (desserts and ulam), it only means na hindi lang good for 1 pax ang nakuha niyang food.

    But bottomline, i wasn't there during your party. I wasn't part of the negotiation. Wala akong alam ;-) Bina-base ko lang yung mga infos ko from what i have read here lang.

    Sana nga ok na sila as they have promised sa post nila dito.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Emie,

    My final head count is 45 adults, 5 kids and 3 infants. Majority of the guests were girls. Thanks for the tip regarding the plates. I'll keep that in mind next time. It just makes me wonder up to now why he would setup only 35 chairs for a 50 pax guest list.

    When I confronted him why that is. He said 50 na daw ang tao. Pero hindi kasi nagbibilang ako. Sabi nya nasa labas daw. Kung gusto ko raw magbilangan kami. So I asked our guests from outside to come in for the program. When I got back inside, he's nowhere to be found. Ayaw nya na lumabas. Kahit nun magliligpit wala na sya. If he's not covering something up, why would he disappear? AE sya, trabaho nyang kumausap sa tao. Instead of calming me down, lalo lang ako nagalit. And also, the other items missing from our package. Wala na silang ibinigay. Do I have to ask for everything? Wala ba sila talagang kusa?

    Sorry, I'm still angry with what they did. Sorry din to Anonymous, nadamay din yata sya. I thought I have gone past this already. Bakit pa kasi nagcomment pa ang cravings dito e. Sobrang late na ang apology.

    Sis Emie and anonymous, sige let's pretend I was wrong. And I'm your customer. What would you do at that time? And then, what would you do if nagtago rin sa customer your AE and natanggap nyo yung email ko?

    ReplyDelete
  7. To Ms Anonymous:
    I can't believe you call yourself an expert in the catering industry yet you easily judge someone who cannot distinguish from a buffet to an all-you-can-eat when you said "I guess you doesn't know this what it means." If you really are an expert, do you easilly judge a prospective client that way? And for someone to choose Cravings, this person is really willing to shell out money. Why do you need to ask "Its this your first time to make an event like this? Or even have your experience to attend a party on a fine dine-in restaurant?". As much as I want to ask about your catering business, I'm hesitant to ask, you might not want to divulge any detail because your service may also be reviewed by other people. But if you really are an expert in this field, I truly appreciate you giving your details, so we can try how you service your clients.

    ReplyDelete

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