What happens when nightclub service meets daily dealmongers? Basically the worst possible outcome. Throw in a random government ban on liquor and you get the daily deal from hell.
In any properly offensive nightclub, there should be at least four people doing nothing at any one time and regular customers should always wait. After setting up this impenetrable wall of incompetence, you then open a small door and charge people exorbitant amounts to get to the other side, where drinks appear and people are nice. That seems to be the rough business model.
Now let’s look at the daily deals business model. Companies lose money giving absurd deals in the hopes that people will A) come back again or B) buy other stuff.
The problem is that a lot of people going for a deal are cheap and will never come back for full price. They also tend to be unwilling to pay anything extra, unless you offer really good service. If you can impress these people they will convert, but daily dealmongers are hard to impress.
In this case, we were the dealmongers. We’d paid Rs. 2,000 for dinner for two and, while we were quite inclined to buy cocktails, we’d need some convincing to buy something else. When we went in we asked for some water to start. This immediately got things off to a bad start.
Water is a bad word in nightclubs. It sobers people up and is basically free. Our waiter instinctively recoiled and said, hopefully, ‘bottled water’ and we were like ‘table water is fine’. We were waiting for a menu and were just thirsty from the road. So the waiter pulled out the big guns. ‘But then we’ll have to give you tap water’. This isn’t India where you’re playing intestinal roulette, but still, extremely unusual behavior from a supposedly posh place.
It seemed clear that Glasse was going to pull out every stop to squeeze some money out of us. In the course of the night they delayed our simple set menu food by an hour, sent over three waiters and a manager to sell, and mentioned tap water again at least twice. Oh, and the manager type actually asked what we ordered (the steak set) and said that it was local and probably not that good. This was the first time I’ve had a restaurant tell me their food was bad.
Worst of all, they never actually brought a drinks menu. They annoyed us repeatedly to buy drinks, but never offered any options. We felt like they were holding our food hostage till we bought something, but there was nothing to buy. I finally walked over and got a menu for myself. It had one page on non-alcoholic beverages, and that was spelt wrong. We ended up so annoyed that we resolved not to buy anything extra on principle.
When the food finally did arrive, it was quite good. The sushi was well prepared and came with interesting sides, including miso and some steamed fish. The steak set was local and a bit tough, yes, but well seasoned with wasabi and served with mashed potatoes and roasted garlic.
The food being quite good, however, is largely wasted when you’re eating it in a nightclub atmosphere where the staff is just looking at you as wallets attached to a human being. We complained about the food being late and them not having table water and someone said sorry, but still a bad experience.
It was all rather futile in the end. The staff never brought us menus, so their up-selling was annoying without having much chance of success. They also made no attempt to talk about or otherwise turn the good food into an experience that we might remember.
Who’s to blame here? We have to say the management at Glasse and, by extension, the staff. The government banning liquor that day was out of their control, but how you deal with problems is what sets good service apart from bad.
Instead of preparing a special non-alcoholic menu or even showing the menu they had, the staff just harassed customers. Alternately, instead of just writing off the money and trying to give a good experience, the management hustled for every rupee, exposing how little they seem to care. In the end they ended up with neither money nor good-will. Basically a bad deal for everyone.