Pancake House Needs to Put House in Order

I was gladdened when I saw the Pancake House full-page colored ad in Sunday’s Inquirer because it said Pancake House is coming home, meaning that it is going back to its heritage.   

The branch in Lipa City is the first to feature the restaurant’s new design concept of a place just like home.  However, the new owners have to do more than just give the restaurants a new look.  They must also put the house in order to make customers feel at home.

At the Molito (Alabang) branch, my family’s orders were served much later than the group that came 15 minutes after us.  When I asked the manager for an explanation, he said they were short-handed that day, a Sunday.  I told him that was no explanation for our being served later than customers who came to the place much later than us.  After grilling him (I don’t let things pass easily), I learned that he had put our order slip aside instead of encoding the orders in the computer right away.  He noticed it only after he had encoded several other orders.   It turned out he was not the regular encoder of orders.  The regular encoder was absent that day.   That is why his explanation for our delayed service was that they were short-handed that day.  Anyway, when our orders were finally served, we had to ask for the utensils. 

At the Dao I (Legaspi Village) outlet, our business group ordered fried chicken and halo-halo to go.  (We were on the 6th floor of the same building.)  The store personnel should have known better than to give thin plastic fork and knife.  They broke at my first attempt to use them.  They should have given instead thick wads of paper napkin with the take-out fried chicken so we could have just picked up the chicken with our hands.     

The mitamis na saging na saba in the halo-halo was so hard like it had just been taken out of the freezer.  Also, Pancake House should not call that ice delight halo-halo because other than its minatmis na saging, the other ingredients are far different from the traditional mix of caramelized fruits.  It is the kind of halo-halo one would find at a Chinese noodle house – a merry mix of fruit-flavored gelatin and kaong.   Since the new owners are bringing back the old concept of a shed, Pancake House halo-halo should also be prepared like the traditional halo-halo sold in sheds in town plazas or poblaciones.

At the Alabang Hills outlet the golden brown waffle served me was burnt brown.  As to be expected of a burnt waffle, it was as crunchy as a wafer.  In a previous visit with my family to the same outlet (a 3-minute drive from home), my order was never served.  This in spite of the order-taker repeating the items we ordered before turning in the order slip to the kitchen staff.  The kitchen staff simply missed the item in the order slip. .

As for the branch in the parking lot of Cardinal Santos Medical Center, the interior of the restaurant is like a narrow hallway, leaving not much space where waiters can stand by.  They tend to stay in the vestibule in front of the rest room.  Customers at the far end of the restaurant have to walk towards that area to get the attention of the waiters.

Jim Fuentebella, Branding Director of Max’s Group, Inc., (Max’s Fried Chicken is the original business of Jim’s family) is quoted in the ad as saying: “The effort now on our part is to really streamline the system, so the brand can focus on the things it does best.”  I and my family have been patrons of Pancake House since the time when the branches had that advertisement for the movie “Adventures of Robin Hood” (the Errol Flynn version) covering an entire wall, in spite of the poor service, because they do pancakes and waffles, chicken salad and chicken sandwich, and the omelets well.  We are glad the Max’s family, the new owners of Pancake House, have taken over the operations.    We expect the service to improve markedly.

Call Twoanyone

If you want your favorite food delivered to your home but the restaurant does not have its own delivery service, you can call Twoanyone or 212-1212. They will pick up your food from the restaurant and deliver it to your home.  However, you must be willing to wait two hours before you get your food.

One Saturday evening, when I had a craving for Banapple’s Hickory Smoked Barbecued Country Ribs, I called 212-1212 to ask what the delivery charge was for Banapple.  Ten percent was the answer.  At six pm, I placed my order for Banapple’s Hickory Ribs. With my family’s other orders, they said the total bill was P962, which included the 10% delivery charge, and that we could expect delivery in one hour and a half.   I told them to bring change for P1,000.  They called five minutes later to say that the delivery charge for a Banapple order was 15%.  

When no delivery took place after one hour and a half of waiting, I followed them up twice.  Both times they said the driver was on his way.  He finally came two hours after we placed our orders.  As he didn’t have change, I told him I’d pay when he got back with the change but for him to leave the food so we could eat as were starved.   He came back minutes later with the change.

It turned out he had two deliveries to make on that one trip.  The other delivery was for a resident on the same street.  So, he was able to give me my change after he got paid by the other customer.   That is why it took him 30 minutes longer to deliver my Banapple order.   He had to pick up from another restaurant the order of a neighbor.   That is probably the reason the delivery charge was raised from 10% to 15%.

Senior Citizen’s counters   inutile

In most fast food outlets, like in Burger King and KFC, senior citizens wait just the same at the counter supposedly reserved for senior citizens.  That is because when the lines in front of the regular counters are two or three deep, most customers, even if they are not seniors, go to the counter reserved for senior citizens which invariably has a sorter line or no line at all.  The store attendants service these non-senior customers.   So, when a senior comes along, he waits just as he would at the regular counters.

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