alexa THE DISH: My pickiness about restaurants finally paid off- PHOTOS - Daily Nation

THE DISH: My pickiness about restaurants finally paid off- PHOTOS

Wednesday April 17 2019

My go to Happy Hour at Artcaffe drink - the Chin Chin, because whisky is a win win. PHOTO| ABIGAIL ARUNGA

My go to Happy Hour at Artcaffe drink - the Chin Chin, because whisky is a win win. PHOTO| ABIGAIL ARUNGA 

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I have a bit of a reputation among my friends for being picky about food, picky about restaurants, picky about get the drill. I can whinge with the best of them about quality – in fact, for a quick second there, quality control was my job. And not only was I good at it, I very much enjoyed it.

Here's the thing – I strongly feel like the service industry should be serving the people who give them the money to give them a service.

You would think that was obvious, but it isn't. I have been in establishments where the supervisor and waitress say to me, 'The customer is not always right.' Of course the customer isn't always right, but you can't say that to the customer.

You can never say that to the customer (yes, I have never gone back to that dastardly establishment again).

I was wondering where they had hidden away the
I was wondering where they had hidden away the classic Artcaffe slogan. Usually it's written across a wall, but this variation is on a poster. PHOTO| ABIGAIL ARUNGA

There is a way to manage the customer – which, I assume, is what a manager is supposed to do – in such a way that everyone comes out of the interaction relatively satisfied – the restaurant isn't losing its reputation, and the customer isn't losing their mind.


I also think Kenyans complain far too little in premier eating establishments. There are some places I walk into, and they already know what I am going to say, if they haven't changed something that I think is essential, such as cleanliness, or old menus (I hate old menus. Why must they look like they fought the Battle of Jericho when they are handed over to me? Surely, here's looking at your wine list, Brew Bistro, do better). This is always the case when I walk into Artcaffe. And what am I always complaining about? The bill.


Let me explain. As you know, Artcaffe, Urban Gourmet and Tapas all operate under the same umbrella of business.

And so if you have gone to any of these establishments, you know that when they give you the bill, they divvy up the food according to the food itself, then the tax.

And so, your bill ends up having far too many decimals outside of a piece of paper that isn't in a secondary school, and practically ensures at least 15 minutes wasted if you're more than two people trying to figure out who the hell had what.

It's exasperating. It's annoying. And it's unnecessary. According to the supervisors I have spoken to, the reason the bill is split like this is because it makes it easier for Artcaffe to make sure they are remitting taxes already.

But for me, as a customer, it makes my life harder. Why would a place I have come for muenjoyos now want me to work for KRA as I pore over a bill for an hour? (yes, this literally happened to me – at a birthday situation with 24 people in which everyone was confused about the bill and the best mathematician was the birthday girl – who obviously could not be tasked with such hard labour on her birthday. Long story short – I was extremely peeved, as the labour fell to me).

I haven't been very happy about the edits that
I haven't been very happy about the edits that Artcaffe has made lately but this one, I give them props for. No more switching around the taxes - instead, the price you see is the price you get. PHOTO| ABIGAIL ARUNGA

But I have been delivered of my complaining, at last! I went to check out the new LARGE branch of Artcaffe, once again, for Happy Hour – I needed to visit when the hordes were giving it a bit of a break.

After having my usual – the Chin Chin, a whisky based cocktail with a cinnamon and apple kick – I was ready to leave after already anticipating the probability of having to compute a bill for 15 minutes before we left.

But when the bill came – the numbers were organised and tidy, and there were no decimal points, and there was no Math for me to do! I have nothing against math, by the way  - just not after I'm already full and/or tipsy.

To cut a long story short, demand for good service. It's the least they can do.

If you don't like something, say so. And if you do like it, write a whole article about it, and then tell your friends...


Wondering where to get the 411 on what's happening in and around Nairobi's foodie scene? There's a lot of places you could go, but here's where we want you to be – getting the dish on the dish. Get it? We knew you would.