Mickey Malta

Notes from the zone where 'normal' things don't happen very often

Posts Tagged ‘Restaurants

Mickey poll on restaurants

with one comment

I know I’m no Gallup or Zagat, but after an exchange of opinions with a restaurant owner, I decided to launch this poll. The best people to judge whether generally speaking, restaurants are: CHEAP, WELL PRICED, or OVERPRICED are the clients themselves.

Before casting your vote, please take the following into consideration:

  • Quality of food (taste, texture, and presentation)
  • Quality of Service (friendliness of staff, speed of service, and order accuracy)
  • Ambiance (seating comfort, aesthetics, and decor in general)

Written by mickeymalta

07/04/2009 at 21:59

Posted in Blog Main Page

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Gluttons for profits

with 10 comments

He'll be using the 'F' word more frequently, and he'll suffer from compulsive kitchen nightmares if he had to look into restaurant operations here. Wouldn't he?

He'll be using the 'F' word more frequently, and he'll suffer from compulsive kitchen nightmares if he had to look into restaurant operations here. Wouldn't he?

I was planning to write about restaurants in Malta but, unfortunately, this morning I found out that someone has already plagiarised my thoughts before I could even express them.

It’s amazing how women can read people’s minds . . .  even if they’re tens of miles away! Some form of creature who lives on Planet Mona (I couldn’t find this odd planet on the Atlas) elicited a number of observations that I was going to write about myself. In a nutshell, this week’s restaurant review an talks about the way restaurants on the Rock are facing the credit crunch, as opposed to other restaurants on the continent. I was gladto find out that I’m not the only one who thinks that we’re taken for a ride by many restauranteurs here.

However, since I’m a very deep person, Mona (Lisa?) didn’t manage to steal ALL my thoughts about the issue. I do agree with her that many restaurants here don’t seem to have struck the right balance between the quality of the food they offer, and the price they charge. There have been very rare occasions where I went to a restaurant and felt that it was value for money. The (even more rare) occasions where I left a restaurant feeling good about the quality of food and service are few and very very far between. you can read the full review on the following address:  http://www.planetmona.com/index.phpid=116&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=560&tx_ttnews[backPid]=128&cHash=29ed2466bb.

Like many people, I also happened to visit a number of eateries outside the Rock, and I am surprised that some restaurants here are more expensive than better eateries in their same category in Europe’s main cities – where costs (like rent and salaries) are higher.

To make matters worse, many restaurants in countries where normal things DO happen very often are slashing prices, or offering attractive deals to keep their business afloat. Needless to say, our situation is different here. It has to be. If it weren’t, the MHRA and the GRTU will have nothing to whinge about. At the end of the day, they only form part of a segment which is be treated with velvet gloves – like in the case of the capping of energy bills plus a gazillion of other subsidies for the “tourism industry”.

What these people fail to see is that they have saturated the already saturated market. Yes, that’s right. We’ve saturated the saturating point of this market. No wonder that many restaurants do badly – especially in times like these. To use a common metaphor, when the cake slice is getting smaller, and there are many mouths wanting to take a big bite.

That’s right. Not just a bite, but a big one. Preferably, big enough to fit the whole slice in one person’s mouth. This kind of greed leads to higher mark-ups; and higher mark-ups mean higher prices, and sometimes lower quality. In their bid to maximise profits, some restaurant owners opt for cheaper quality products and charge the same prices they would have charged if they used better ingredients. And when it comes to the beverages (especially the wine list)? Don’t even get me started.

Lack of innovation, imagination, and poor service are also ever so present on this issue’s menu. Servers in many restaurants don’t show gratitude to clients for choosing their establishment oover the many others on this little overpopulated rock. Neither do many owners. Just try to voice a just complaint, and you’ll see how it is highly likely that this will be thrown back at you by the typically defensive owner.

To add insult to injury, many – and I reiterate – many restaurants do not charge cheaper prices for take-out food. Why should customers pay for a service they’re not enjoying? The reason why a dish at a restaurant costs approximately three times the price it would cost you to do it at home is because of the costs involved: ingredients, staff wages, building upkeep and décor, utility bills, and profit. In the case of take-out food, customers shouldn’t be paying for servers’ service and restaurant utilities.

In reality, in most cases, people end up paying top prices for low quality products. Then, instead of doing some soul searching exercises, the owners and their organisations blame everyone and his dog (except for themselves, obviously) for their poor performance. The problem is that the buck doesn’t just stop there. They want us to pay for their greed, incompetence, and deficiencies through our taxes.

People travel quite a lot now, and even the Ta’ Soldi and The Avenue crowds are able to tell the difference.

Written by mickeymalta

07/04/2009 at 16:23

Posted in Blog Main Page

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