Categories
Restaurant Review startup technology

Zomato and their way forward

Been wanting to write about this for a while. Today seems to be the blogging day. Not feeling sleepy, and feeling an awesome urge to write, and write, and …

As you probably are aware, as of now, Zomato is a restaurant discovery service. And a damn good one at that. They have taken this and scaled it like no one else’s business internationally. Buying UrbanSpoon in the US completed this strategy. They have the US market covered too.

So, now that, people can figure out where to go eat, or order delivery from, what are two things that they could move forward on.

Home Delivery for food. When you can show them where to order delivery from, why not deliver the food itself. This is what Zomato has been experimenting on, for a while (or so I read somewhere). There are already quite a few players in this industry, like the tiny TinyOwl which got some not-so-tiny-amount of funding, and others too (such as delyvery, swiggy, grofers etc). The modus operandi in most of these services is:to display the menu of the restaurant on their website

  1. Display the menu of the restaurant on their website
  2. Take the order from the customer (app or website or phone)
  3. Call the restaurant and create the order
  4. Send the delivery person to the restaurant to pick up the order
  5. Delivery person delivers the food.

The one hiccup that could happen (and happens a lot) in this strategy is the fact that restaurants can say that they cannot make a certain order item, because of chef-absent, raw-material-over, whatever-nonsensical-yet-plausible-reason. In this case, the middle delivery guy is hosed. He needs to call the delivery company, who then calls up the customer, and asks for an alternative order, and pass it back to delivery guy, to the restaurant, etc, and so on and so forth. You get the drift.

Zomato, from what I read, is planning to solve this problem in a pretty nifty way, by using technology. They are planning to give all participating restaurants a Point of Sale (POS) device – most likely an android tablet-like device. When an order comes into the system from a customer (app/web), it goes directly to the restaurant, which has the control to accept or reject order-items immediately. The one inefficiency, that was the delivery-call-center is gone. Once the order is accepted by the restaurant, the delivery guy is dispatched to the restaurant, who picks up the food and delivers. To me, this sounds like an awesome use of technology – well worth the cost of a cheap tablet – many many times over.

Now, let us step back. There are several more side-advantages of this approach. Zomato now has a foot (well, a technological foot) in the restaurant’s door.

  • Zomato and the restaurant can capture analytics on which food is most ordered.
    • Zomato could potentially even crunch the numbers and figure out how long a certain delivery might take, based on distance of customer from restaurant, timing of the order etc.
  • Zomato can run online specials in collaboration with the restaurant.
  • Zomato can feedback ratings from customers back to restaurants directly.
  • Zomato ratings for restaurants and the ‘price for two’ numbers can become accurate.

Table Booking: Now lets talk about the second direction in which Zomato could potentially expand. If you are a restaurant discovery service, and you have suggested a restaurant to a customer, who has narrowed into this choice, based on a variety of choices, the next easy thing to capture is to help the customer to book a table.

Sure, there are players in this market too – bookyourtable.com, mytable.com etc.

What does Zomato have (or can do) that gives it an edge?

Well, let us go back to the first direction (home delivery) that we discussed in length earlier. We remember that Zomato was giving the restaurants a POS (point of sale) terminal – an android device, which was going to help in getting an order into the restaurant. This same device could very well be used to book a table in the restaurant. In fact, this booking would be so much more reliable and real-time. This would replace the register that the Maitre’D has on his podium at the entrance. So, when half the restaurant has been booked by a large party online,  someone showing up at the door, would know immediately ; and vice versa.

With such a real time interaction between the restaurant and Zomato, one could do several more things as well:

  • Accurately enter the number of regular chair seats vs sofa seating and track the reservations based on this. (Personal problem that I have faced often).
  • Crunch analytics on when a restaurant is most crowded, how long (on an average) a table is occupied, and hence when a next slot can be opened up.

And ofcourse, let us throw in some capitalism for the fun of it:

  • Zomato could have ‘promoted’ hotels –
  • Restaurants could do dip pricing (my invented term – opposite of surge pricing ) for irregular hours
  • When a customer tries booking a table, and is unsuccessful, Zomato could suggest something else nearby. (This could also be the case, when you have booked a table, but the restaurant is so busy, that they cannot guarantee you, and make you wait).

Summary: I have been a big fan of Zomato and what they have been doing. And I see these two directions as promising directions that they are heading (could head towards).

Well, I have to say this. I do have one thing I did not like that Zomato did. This was when they moved from Bangalore to Gurgaon. They tried trash talking Bangalore to lure devs to Gurgaon. While it got them a lot of publicity, I kind-of felt that was in bad taste. Well, to each, their opinion.

Categories
Opinion Restaurant Review

You lost me, Faasos

Faasos was one restaurant chain which I really wanted to succeed (with me!). I do not really care for it to succeed for everybody. These things are very individual. I loved their wraps the first time I tried them a year or two ago. They were in a much smaller scale. Their phone ordering was good. Their packaging was pretty damned good. Neat small rectangular cardboard boxes the size of the wraps, so that they stay in shape. Then they brought online ordering. They brought an app. Their messaging was funky.

They had it all going for them (for me!)  except for the key ingredient that I deeply care for – service. The first thing you notice when you order online, which seemed to be a flawless workflow was that, after you confirm your order, a message appears in the last screen that, the 20 minute guarantee does not hold good for online orders. Well, that is cheating in my regards, if you tell me that, after I have submitted the order.

Ok. Most phone orders that I place, do not have any guarantees, except for Dominos. So if it is not 20 minutes, I thought it would be 30-40 minutes. I was willing to wait.

I ordered, and got an SMS confirmation stating which store my order had gone to. It was amusing because there is a store (Koramangala Sonyworld) which is way nearer than the store that it was allocated to (Koramangala JNC). I didnt think too much about it because the further store was still slightly less than 2km.

40 minutes pass. I get hungry. I tweet out to @faasos asking for status. I get a “We are looking into asap” response message.

I decide to go back to the webpage. There is a nice track order section in the webpage, which asks for my order number. Hmm. Now where do I get that. The confirmation SMS did not have that. So I cannot track now either.

It is now an hour and I am getting hungrier. So I decide to call the store. The store goes into a dull “All customers are busy. Please hold the line” message for 4 minutes. I cut and call again. I hold 6 minutes. Same treatment.

I go back to the webpage to see if there is any other alternate contact number. Nothing zilch. Meanwhile, I have started tweeting my discontent. No response at all.

It is hour and 20 minutes and I give @Faasos 10 minutes time on twitter after which I would send back the order.

10 minutes later, I pick up my wallet and phone and leave the house to go somewhere and eat. I meet the delivery guy sauntering in near the gate of my complex. He claims that he rushed here in 5 minutes. I send him back. I tell him, I have nothing against him, but this is something to voice my displeasure at the company. I also show him the SMS that I received an hour and half ago, so that he can go and show it to his bosses.

The surprising thing is, a year ago, I had exactly the same thing happened to me. Secretly, I was wishing they had improved. I guess not. And now, I have lost faith completely.

 

Categories
design food Restaurant Review

Where I dissect the MastKalandar Website/Branding Update

Yesterday I saw an FB post and a tweet pointing to something called the MKDabbawala. I was intrigued. It had the same branding colors thankfully of yellow and orange and the same MK letters in the same font. So atleast I thought, it was the same brand.

  • But What is that tiffin carrier doing in the logo? Are they pivoting? They are moving away from restaurant style business to regular home delivery, or something similar? These were the thoughts that were going through my mind.

And then I went to their website. First look, well, it looked better than what it looked before. Fresh, clean start. I started poking around.

mk1

  • The first dissonance hit me right away. On the masthead was both the new logo and the old one. Uh. What? And then I saw the small text “Powered by”. So, they were not pivoting by adding a new feature. I guessed that, other than the restaurant service, they were probably introducing a new tiffin carrier service.
  • But then, why is the new service such a prominent part of the masthead and on the main page.
  • Fine, I went along. Ok, so my next thought was, they are rebranding into ‘ordinary food’ (which is probably delivery only and in a tiffin carrier?) and ‘special food; (probably only in restaurants, but perhaps delivery too). Fair enough. I know several people who eat regularly at MK.
  • Awright, keep moving, keep moving. Lets have what they have on offer. The ‘difference’ between these two foods are (and yes, they are putting two things side by side, which by cognitive theory means, they are comparing. Or, arnt they?)

mk2

 

  • Menu on the dabba thing changes very day. Nice. Oh it is super fast delivery – faster than normal?. And I thought the traditional flavors thing was a common thing across all MK dishes. We will let that slip. Perhaps the right hand column has more exotic stuff.
  • Wide range of North Indian food and memories of home –  Hmm. OK. Again I thought was across the board. Every dish made to order. So the dabba things are pre-prepared? What?
  • Lets move on to how to order.

mk3

 

  • So the dabba is delivery and hence can be ordered by app or website. And the other ‘regular’ or ‘exotic’ stuff (I cant make up my mind), you can either get it delivered or eat in the restaurant. Fair enough. I can wrap my mind around that.
  • Let us try ordering some tiffin carrier food. I clicked on the left card.
  • And a new tab opened. Firstly, I am not a big fan of you opening tabs for me. Show it to me on the same page. In 2 minutes flat on perusing your webpage, this was what my tabs was like. I have enough tabs that I open, and I dont want three more.

mk4

  • I like the high level look and feel of this page when it opens. It shows “Aaj ka dabba” – which is for non-hindi-speakers, “Todays dabba” or “Todays selection”. I would not harp on the Hindi, because Mast Kalandar’s target audience has always been North Indians living in South India. Let us not make a pretense out of it. And I see nothing wrong in it. It is a large market, and they are focused.
  • There are 6 things in todays dabba, where I can choose from. The mouse-overs explain the dishes. I have a minor problem with the text. I think it should be more explanatory. Do not say, bite into parathas. I want to know whether there is going to be one paratha or two. I want to order here. Same goes for the rest of the dishes as well. The only thing that had count was the laddoo. When I read the description, I want the text to help me decide whether I can finish the dish or not, if I am hungry enough for it or not.
  • Also, please make the page responsive (get the target screen-size and resize with respect to that – yes, it can be done). THere are six dishes and I still need to scroll down just a bit  because the last row is only 80% displayed. Typically this UX behavior is only reserved if you have more stuff coming below. There is one unnecessary scroll down that was waster.

mk5

  • So I click on an Order button. It asks me for City and area. Currently it is only Bangalore and Koramangala. It is 6:30 in the morning here, as I write this, and it nicely says that the restaurant is closed now, but I can pre-order. Nice touch.

mk6

mk7

 

  • I click on pre-order, and I am presented with the daily menu. Nice and clean. I like the fact, you see the cart in the same screen. The only minor nit that I have is the plus (+) sign in a square. Traditionally this is reserved for an expander. So you might have people clicking on it to see if there is more text on the menu item. For this, typically you may want to use the “+” within a circle.
  • And where did this green and yellow come from? So far away from your brand colors. It is definitely a bit jarring at first glance.
  • Dear webdeveloper who did the order details page, there must be a better way to validate if the person has ordered something or not, than this:

mk8

  • So I chose something and clicked on ‘Order. There are a couple of things that I really like in this next screen.

mk9

 

  • I love it that you can log-in or order as a guest. Love it that you can order for now, or for later. I guess this is inspiration from the many taxi-apps that we have these days. And wow, I can order upto 2-3 days in advance. Nice. I don’t think anyone else has this. You should market the hell out of this feature. It is now so hidden in there.
  • The tool tips make no sense at all. And I cannot figure out which field is mandatory and which is not.

mk10

 

  • And aaaargh, the scrolling. Please, make the page responsive. I do not want to scroll for 2 more lines. There is so much white space that you can utilize here, and yet look clean.
  • I fill in some junk in some of the boxes and hit continue. And then it tells me the mandatory fields. There is now a red ‘i’ in the two more boxes, which never existed before.

 

 

mk12

  • The form validation is all messed up. I tried giving various wrong combinations, and it always pointed to the wrong fields and kept saying “Please enter all fields”. Not very helpful, nor accurate.
  • I like the “Bring change for ” feature. It could be a little more explanatory though. And if you are going to have only COD, why have a step called “Payment Options”. If you are going to have more payment options coming up, say so (More Payment options coming up).
  • And hey, why cannot I pay using loyalty points? You have my log in details.
  • And whoa, I did something wrong, back button or something, and I cannot find my cart now. No option to go back to my cart? Where is the options icon now? I just noticed it is not present in the menu. And when I go back to the main menu, I still do not see a view cart button anywhere. Ok. Big Bummer here.
  • Ok. I now have to click on one of the Order Now buttons in the menu to get to the cart.
  • I am now officially done with the Daily dabba. And I still fully cannot wrap my head around the ‘dabba’ concept. Nothing in my experience above seems to indicate it is anything new. I do not see a tiffin carrier service here at all. No repetitive ordering/monthly payment option. It is a smaller menu.

Let us get to the “Full Menu”. You can get to the full menu either from the dabba page or from the main page. This is fair, because I may find the dabba menu too restrictive and I want to see more. (And please do not put Aur Dikhao, please please).

  • I click on the full menu (or the right card on the main page) and I see this.

mk14

 

  • The three dots show me that there are three images that you are cycling through. Ok. But should you not be cycling them yourself? A marquee scroll plug-in if you will? I should not have to do search for the small ‘white’ right/left arrow to go see the next image. And, in a good UX page, the arrow buttons are never always visible, they come up when you mouse over to that area.
  • Also every one of your three images spills over to your left. You have so much space left, why cut your images. Alignment problems I think.
  • I thought you only had types of menus – “Aaj ka dabba” and “Full menu”. What is the express menu? Where did that pop up? Is that the same as the dabba menu?
  • Ok, I want to see the menu. I keep searching, menu, menu, menu .. where are you menu … cmon out kitty …
  • What! You need to click on Order now, and only then can you see the menu? Oh cmon, MastK, you can do better than that. This is almost real-estate agent tactics. “Nahin Sir, Cant get the keys to the flat unless you commit.”
  • Ok, I stumble past the Order Now.
  • I now have to give my city and location again, else, you wont show me the menu.

mk16

 

  • Ok. Nice and clean, again. Same feedback about the plus in the square though.
  • Also, my preference – if you are going to showing categories, show only the items in the highlighted category in the second column.
  • Have another item called “Show me All” and show all the items there. Again, my cognitive dissonance may be different from yours.
  • I see the dissonating green color permeating here as well. Whats up with the new brand color?
  • No pictures for these items? If you can show pictures for your dabba menu, why not atleast a mouse-hover or a picture icon, where I can click and see what I want to get? A Bengali person might want to see how the Litti Chokha is, right? You may want to think about that.
  • And what is this “HD” acronym that I see everywhere in the menu?
  • I think there is spacing issues in your menu css. The first bits are fine.

mk17

  • But then when you go down to the ala carte items, the spacing seems to have gone out of whack (too much white space in my opinion). The screen itself is a contained screen. Clicking on the arrow

mk18

 

  • Also what is this upwards facing green arrow. I clicked and understood that it is “Scroll up to top.” In some pages, it makes sense. I still do not think that it is very intuitive. There are other established ways to do that.
  • There are pages with the green arrow, that do not need it – like the payments page. The page itself is a contained page. When I click the arrow, it just bumps me up a couple of lines.

mk19_1

 

  • There was just one more thing that I wanted to test. The more options menu in the main page. Firstly, this should be everywhere – in every page. Secondly, please add a “My Cart” option here.

mk24

 

  • Order online takes you through all of the above stuff I spoke about.
  • The Food love story and the Chefs corner is fine – but very sparsely populated.
  • I clicked on Store Locator. And that is when I realized MastKalandar had only one store in India, in Koramangala, Bangalore.

mk25

 

  • Guys – if the page is not finished yet, put a “beta sticker” on it. Or atleast, say “In construction”. Cmon. This is so not done.
  • And what the heck is the feedback form doing in the Locate Us page?
  • And I did not expect much from the Contact Us page, either and it did not disappoint.

mk26

  • I do not know about you, but I cannot figure this one out. Ok. You are giving me your corporate address and phone and email address. And a “Get Directions” to your Corporate office. Really?
  • And is that a feedback form to the right? You should put a sub label tag on it – “Write to us” or something like that.

In summary:

  • Noble effort to try and change the previous website (which sucked big time). New cleaner page. Several nice new features. There are UX nits that I have highlighted above. Sincere advise to the web-guys. If you are not done testing the website, please do not release it. Or put a beta sticker on it. Or put a “Under construction” sign somewhere.
  • More importantly, I think the branding theme needs to be fixed. This Dabba thing is too confusing. It seems to be deviating from what you are. Just call it express (or daily menu) and full menu. Too much shock to the consumer is also not good.
  • I just noticed one more thing. And perhaps this could perhaps be the most important non-technical non-UX thing in this post. There are 4 branding perspectives you are confusing the user with here.

mk20

mk21

mk22

mk23

 

  • In branding, logos, fonts, taglines/bylines are sacred.

 

 

Categories
Restaurant Review

Restaurant review: China Pearl

swords

(pic courtesy: link)

This cosy little restaurant is in 60 feet road, Koramangala, Bangalore. I had always seen this restaurant when I had passed by it, but had never been to it. One of my colleagues recently told me that, his family likes the restaurant so much that, they lug it all the way from Whitefield to her, once in a few months.

Ambience: Very nice ambience. Lots of Eastern relics in the decor. Swords. Chinese porcelain dolls. Oriental wall hangings etc. They could with some lesser focus lights – some times, these give you a headache. Music is passable chinese background music – nothing fancy.

Menu: Very clear. Something that pleased me immensely was a note at the bottom of the first page – “For our vegetarian patrons, please turn to page 7”. Most vegetarians are inherently skeptical of what they would get in a Chinese restaurant, since they have this predisposition that it would mostly be non vegetarians. So this note and a few pages of pure vegetarian menu goodness, was a welcome change.

Food: Fairly authentic. Slightly high on the oil, but tasty. We had the crispy fried vegetables, veg ball in Hunan sauce, and Five treasure chowmein. Noodles were hakka type, well cooked, but just the right amount. Quantity of the starter was generous.

Service: A restaurants acid test with respect to service, is how well they respond on a busy saturday night. It was saturday night, and huge crowds. Service was slow. It tends to irritate customers when it takes 10 minutes for the bill to come, and another 15 minutes to get back the change. One nice touch on the service, I should mention though. My kid (who is 4 year old) got his own kiddie melamine plate (cartoon characters and all), and a small plastic fork and spoon. That is a first that I have seen.

Cost: Overall damage was around 700 bucks. It is on the slightly pricier side, but it is worth it.

Overall: Enjoyed the meal and the ambience. Perhaps, if it was not a saturday night, and if service had been better, we would have enjoyed it even more.

 

Categories
Restaurant Review

Restaurant Review: Mezzeh Lebanese Lounge

Location: Great location – 80 ft Road Indiranagar, Bangalore. Between spencers and BSNL.

Ambience:  This is the terrace. There is minimal ambience. Few nice tables on the terrace. Nothing fancy at all here.

Crowd: It looks like original restaurant (World Cuisine Network) has been bought over by someone else, and the whole place is under renovation. There used to be 3 restaurants here. Now only the Mezzeh place remains.We went on friday afternoon, and there was nobody, and when I say nobody, I mean it. The 6 of us in our team were the only people who were there in the restaurant.

Food: The food was pretty good. Fairly authentic in taste. The hummus was good. The Baba ghanoush was passable (but that was probably because I am not a big fan of brinjal). The sambousik was very good stuff. The falafel rolls were pretty good too. The baklava was not that good. The biggest problem was the portion size. They have super small size portions. I mean, the sambousik’s were gone in a minute. The hummus came with 2 pieces of pita bread. And when we asked for more, we were charged, and two more small pieces came !

Price: Too steep. Just not worth the small portions or the ambience.

Overall: The valet guy said that they are renovating and should open big again soon. My 2 cents – they retain the same chef/kitchen staff. They cut the prices and increase the portion sizes. Make the ambience a little more livelier. With the great location in Indiranagar, they could be doing great business.

[Zomato link]

Categories
food Restaurant Review

Restaurant Review: The Elegant Elephant

We have been wanting to try this out for a while. This is on the same building as The Great Indian Thali – Near Sony World Signal – Koramangala.

  • Serving type – Buffet – but served to the table. Not sure, if this is always like this, or, was yesterday an exception – because of low crowds.
  • Crowd – there was very less crowd
  • Food
    • The starters and the gravy had _no_ salt in them. And when I say no salt, I mean no salt, not less salt. Unfortunately, starters are something that you cannot ‘add’ more salt on. We did sprinkle away saltiness on our gravy to make it pallatable.Starters were Paneer Tikka, Baby Corn, and Corn Tikka.
    • One paneer gravy. One mix veg gravy. And one mushroom gravy (which we turned back – both R and I are not fans of Mushroom). Dal Tadka. Plain roti, Butter Naan, and Kulcha made up the roti basket. The Paneer was fresh (both in the starter and in the gravy). The rotis were not that great either. The dal was the only palatable side dish. For some reason, the chef put salt in it.
    • Jeera rice and Plain rice was the rice ‘varieties’. Again Jeera rice had zero salt, but this is a matter of preference between chefs.
    • Desserts were the only good thing to have happened – Gajar Halwa, Gulab Jamun, and Butter scotch icecream.
    • The over all service was fantastic though. The waiters filled water glasses even without asking. Jumped up in serving us when our plates were done. Great service I should say.
  • Ambience. There are two seating areas. One is the terrace. We skipped this. Was too bright for comfort in the afternoon. And there is an A/C dining room inside. This was nice and cool. Minimally decorated but clean. Washrooms etc were maintained well.
  • Damage to wallet: Rs 950 for two – all inclusive.
  • My opinion – Not worth it at all.
Categories
food Restaurant Review

Review: California Burrito, RMZ Infinity, Bangalore

This is a new eatery opened at the food court at RMZ Infinity, Old Madras Road, Bangalore. California and Burritos? Yeah sure, California has a lot of Latino population, but never really associated these 2 names. Perhaps a competition to California Pizza Kitchen (which incidentally, I cannot place the association either).

It is the first week that the restaurant has been open. So this place was crowded. The food was good too. Again, the above two comments are probably because of the first week factor. We would have to check it out a month later and then figure.

  • Had the Spicy Panneer Burrito. The Burrito is fairly authentic. Slightly sticky on the outside. Warmed a little bit. The other options are salad bowl style and hard taco.
  • Next the filling. The two veggie options were spicy panneer and barbeque panneer. Panneer in a burrito is mixed-racial already. I didnt want to mix one more cuisine (bbq) in it. So spicy panneer it was.
  • You get an option of Pinto beans or black beans. And you get to choose if you want it spicy or not. I chose spicy pinto.
  • Additions include guacamole, sour cream, jalapenos, and grilled veggies. I took grilled veggies, guacamole, and sour cream. I was a little wary about the guacamole, but it was done just right.
  • Each of the above steps is a different guy. So it is a three person assembly line operation. Fairly swift and efficient. The last guy rolls the burrito and gives it to you in a bowl.
  • I also took a side of chips and salsa. Right amount of crisp and salt. The salsa was fresh as well.

Damage to wallet was Rs. 150.

Verdict: Pretty good (for now). If only they can sustain the quality, I think this would be a good place for a lunch.

Advise (for now): Reach before 1PM. Gets super crowded. Not much seating left. So you would have folks waiting for you to finish and get up (a la CTR/MTR style).

 

 

 

Categories
bangalore food Restaurant Review

Worlds Best Masala Dosa – Part Deux

We covered the trip to CTR (Central Tiffin Rooms), Malleswaram and spoke about the Worlds Best Masala Dosa here. Now is the time to go behind the scenes. Watch how the Benne Masala Dosa is made at CTR. Kudos to the guy who was able to get permission and go inside the kitchen.

Health Alert: You might get increased cholesterol levels by just watching some parts of this video (such as around 2:40).

 

Categories
misc Restaurant Review

Wow’ing the customer

(Image courtesy: tristangage)

I had the good fortune of being wow’ed with customer service and quality yesterday.

Yesterday, I had agreed to meet with a prospective new-hire for breakfast. He had some questions, I had some info to give him before he joined us. We wanted to meet some place, where we could sit and chat over breakfast and a good coffee.

We had initially decided on Cafe Coffee Day. The website had said 7AM and we wanted to meet at 830AM. So it was perfect. Both of us reached the venue. Wham ! We were hit with a brick wall, and I had never seen this wall before. Apparently they open at 7AM, but do not serve anything until 9AM. In the words of the one employee who was cleaning up the place, “you could sit and chat until then”. Hmm. Ok. That did not seem quite right. This specific shop was a “Lounge” category shop, and he  suggested us to try another coffee day, ” a regular one” – about half a km away. And there we went. Same rule ! Whoa. And it was already 9AM, and still the staff had not come. Yes, you heard that right.

By this time, I was a tad bit irritated. I knew there was a Costa Coffee a block away, and we decided to try our luck there.

There was just one person who was manning the shop – a bright and cheerful lady. The shop was brightly lit. A welcoming aroma of coffee. A cheery “Good morning” from the lady. We asked for the choice of vegetarian sandwiches available. She made a good recommendation. We ordered our sandwiches and coffee, and went and sat at a table facing the road.

In just a few minutes, the nice and hot sandwiches made their appearance. And the awesome cappucinos along with them. Beautiful chocolate and cinnamon sprinkles on top. Heaven. On the initial sighting of the cappucino along with the food, I was a little apprehensive though. Coffee shops tend not to give hot coffee in India, but are only mildly hot (bordering on not hot at all) for immediate drinking ease. But the lady had beautiful heated up the coffee just right.

In a single word – “Wow”. Well three more words- “New found respect”.

What did Costa do, that Coffee Day did not ?

  • Opened their stores on time.
  • Realize the full potential of the market. There are folks who would want to come in for breakfast and a coffee.
  • Cheerful customer service.
  • Luring the customer in.

And yep, Costa did it right. Good going guys. You guys just got a regular customer.

Categories
bangalore Restaurant Review

Restaurant review: El Tablao, Koramangala, Bangalore

Location:

On the road connecting Sony World Signal to Jakkasandra (Koramangala I Block). When you come from Sony World signal, it is within the first few buildings on the right hand side. The restaurant is above Reliance Jewels. There are three restaurants on the same building (Great Indian Thali, El Tablao, and Barbercue Factory).

The Good:

  • Good authentic Mexican food
  • Fairly extensive wine menu (though we didn’t order any)
  • Menu is found here -> [link]
  • Good service
  • Food arrived super quick from the kitchen
  • Reasonably priced
  • Awesome location

The Bad:

  • The ambience could be much better. It is exotic  cuisine, and good food at that. It would heighten the experience so much more, if the ambience is spruced up.
  • Not too well lit. Seems to be forcibly pushed into the fine-dining-ambience-template !
  • Most Mexican restaurants that I have eaten (in the US) are loud and raucous and bright.