Search This Blog

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Secrets Playa Bonita Panama: Day Five - Lowered Expectations

Things continue to be laughably bad at times.  The low point for today was trying to get a room service order card for breakfast.  We hit the front desk, asked for one, and were told it would be delivered to our room.  Two hours later we gave up and went to bed.  This was also the second time we complained about our phone not working.

For dinner we went back to Bordeaux.  Part of me wanted to see if the diarrhea on a plate was a one time occurrence.  This time when we sat down, there was no American rock playing.  Instead we got to enjoy some lovely house techno, because nothing says French cuisine like techno.

To our amazement, our waitress, Anjimara, was a Secrets caliber employee.  She was friendly and professional.  She apologized for taking a long time to come to our table initially, and was attentive after that. We even had our wine glasses refilled, Wow!  It took five days to find two Secrets caliber employees.

More about service later.  Now onto the food.

About half of the things that are placed in front of you look appealing.  You already saw the Baby Barf and Bacon soup.  That represents the other half.

This is an example of the good half.  It doesn't mean it tastes good.  That's another matter.  At least it looks like someone cared.  This is the endive salad, it's a little bland but not bad.

Another thing that surprised me this night was the Coq Au Vin.  I had low expectations when ordering it. When it came, I still had low expectations.  It did not look appealing.

I don't want to say what it looks like.
This turned out to be the best thing I've ordered so far.  The meat fell off the bone.  Too bad everything couldn't be this good.

To finish off, I had to do it.  I had to order the poo on a plate.  What I got wasn't quite as bad as when my wife ordered it, but it was still unappealing. 

Mmmmm....poo on a plate...
So what is that?  On the menu, it says it's molten cake (with a peanut butter filling) and raspberry ice cream.  Sure...seems legit!

One - there is no peanut butter on this plate, just a ball of something somewhere between a mildly chocolate cake and cookie.  Two - that's chocolate ice cream.  Three - that's a smear of raspberry sauce.  

Breakfast the next day was surprisingly good.  Why?  Balbino was our waiter!  We got coffee and juice!  He even checked in with us!  Holy testicle Tuesday Batman!  Someone, call the five o'clock news!  We got service at breakfast!

Well, lunch made up for that.  Our waiter was friendly but didn't have a clue as to what he was doing.  I mean he seriously served like someone pulled him off the street and told him to wait tables.  We got water - once.  One drink order and that was it.  I gave up, walked out of the restaurant, and up to the bar to get a drink.

Another couple we've run into a couple of times ended up talking to one of the managers that Secrets imported.  Apparently, this place shut down for a month to train the staff.  The manager then threw the people of Panama under the bus and blamed them for having poor service skills.  

Jokes on you.  I was the trainer. 
I did some research and found what I feel is one of the main causes for the staffs' awful skills.  Panama has an unemployment rate of 2.5%.  In other words.  No one here gives a crap.  They have job security.  If they get fired, they will easily find another job.

In a case like that, the employer has to be willing to lower the profit margin.  Higher pay only does so much.  You need to instill a recognition program.  If a guest mentions you on any kind of positive feedback, you get a small bonus.   It doesn't have have to be monetary.  It can be as simple as a paid day off or other free stuff.  The bottom line is simple.  You have to find a way to make the employees care about their jobs.  Right now they mostly seem to hate being here.

No comments:

Post a Comment