The Ugly face of Momtaz
On Sunday evening, five of us (4 adults & a kid) went to an Indian (Bangladeshi) restaurant ‘Momtaz‘ in Bournemouth. Bangladeshis/Pakistanis in UK who run the Tandoori restaurants call them as ‘Indian Restaurants’ despite the acrimony back home. In some cases, the waiters/chef used to be the guys straight from the sub-continent and at times it would appear that they would need some training on language, etiquettes & behaviour (I mean no offence to the waiters back home. What I mean to say is the people who come to work here would be better off if they learn a bit more about the European culture). It was obvious that the waiter who was about to serve us would fit in the above category.
It was not a busy day for them as there were only two other small groups of people apart from us. We had three glasses of Orange juice and Poppadams (our good, old Appalam) as starters while flipping through the six-page menu. Despite the face that it is an Indian restaurant, as vegetarians, we had very little to choose from. As we were placing our order, the waiter informed us of the never-heard policy of a minimum order of Â£9.99 per person. He further went on to say that we have to order a minimum of 3 main course thalis and they donât consider âNaanâ as a main course. I told him that I am a regular customer to that restaurant and have never heard about this before. He bluntly told, âNo! That is the policyâ?. We thought that this is utterly ridiculous, as we would have to eat something, which we didnât want to comply with the rule. I asked the waiter to bring the bill for the starters and also wanted to talk with the manager.
My intention of talking to the manager was to give him a constructive feedback that it would make good business sense if he relaxed the rule. Although, we decided to move, even in our case, he would be making business worth at least Â£35, which is a good sum particularly on a lean day. The manager, whom I think is also the owner of the restaurant, came all the way and when told about the incident, simply said, âThatâs the ruleâ?. We told him politely that it would have saved our time and embarrassment had this rule been more explicit. Not sure what he thought about, he started yelling at us at the top of his voice and showed the menu where there was a mention about the minimum amount of Â£9.99 in small print. However, the policy regarding the main course et al. were nowhere to be seen.
I was totally taken aback by his unprofessional behaviour that led other customers staring at us and we felt very embarrassed. My friend told him that if he was so rigid about this kind of rule, he could do well to put up a notice in front of the restaurant. He took us outside the restaurant, where they have put up the same menu, inside a small display unit. One would really need a magnifying lens to read that rule. He further abused us with the four-lettered âFâ? word and added, âI donât want people like you in my restaurantâ? (This could very well be taken as a racist remark in UK).
We were presented with a bill of Â£7.90 for which the break up read was Â£1.10 for Poppadams, Â£4.50 for the Orange juice and Â£2.30 for the pickle. We settled the bill and were keen to get away from that sucker and in the process failed to point out that we never asked for pickle and it is served along with poppadams. As if he was doing us a favour he mentioned âI let you off from service chargesâ?. Little did he realise that the restaurants do not levy the service charges (read, tips) but were the prerogative of the customer.
Thinking about the incident after cooling our heels, I donât see anything wrong with this kind of rules that takes the customers away from the business. If the owner of the business is not interested in developing it, why should we bother about that? On a different note, if I had called up the restaurant from home, ordered the same food and had them delivered at home, would they ask me âHow many people would be eating this food?â? Their menu card says that they would do a free door delivery service for orders more than Â£10. But the incident sure brought up several questions in my mind.
>> What made him behave in such an unprofessional and highly undignified manner?
>> Sometimes, people have to be tough to deal with drunken nuts. But, we went there with our families who were startled on hearing him shout at us.
>> Would he have got the guts to say the same thing if a non-Asian had been in our place.
>> Did he behave in such a manner just on knowing that we are Indians or would it be the same treatment for his countrymen as well?
>> What makes him treat us like dirt? After all, I am not eating out of his benevolence.
>> Why? Why this arrogance when he too like me have come to this country for earning his daily bread.
>> How should I deal with this kind of guys when I encounter a similar situation next time?
Obviously, I wouldnât step into that restaurant again in my life. But I am just thinking of ways to make him remember that Sunday evening.