Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Horrible Experience with Sbarro Ali Mall Branch


In fairness to the management of Sbarro Philippines, a few minutes after sending my complaint via email,  I received replies from Mr. Fred Salvador, Sbarro's Master Franchisee, and Ms. Yvette Noblezala, the HR officer, apologizing for the ineptness of the managers of their Ali Mall Branch. Yvette also called me up to appease me.  I  accepted their apologies and, of course, their peace offering.   :) 


I'm a regular customer of Sbarro, particularly the SM Megamall Branch, where I have only good things to say about the staff in terms of courtesy and attentiveness. I've dined in other branches as well and I have also been given great, quality service.

I'd say I've never had any bad experience with Sbarro until yesterday when I called up the Ali Mall Branch.   It was a decision I truly regret. 

I called up the Ali Mall branch on or about 3:00 pm, hoping to order food for our yearend meeting.   When the staff, a woman, who answered the phone asked what I wanted, I told her that I’m having pasta and pizza delivered to our office. When I asked how long it would take them to deliver the food, she said it will take about 45 minutes to an hour.  It’s the usual waiting time so I confirmed my order, believing it would be delivered promptly as promised.  I was wrong, terribly wrong. 

At about 4:10 pm, over an hour after I spoke with the Sbarro staff, I called up 709-2821 to follow up  my order.  The call was answered by Mr. Management Trainee (MT for brevity) who assured me that the delivery guy, who left 5 minutes ago, was already on his way to my office.  I understand that it was a busy season so I no longer made a big deal out of the fact that the delivery staff left the store one hour after I called to place my order.  I just trusted that the food will arrive after 10 minutes since our office is located less than two kilometers away from Ali Mall.  

By 4:45 pm, there was still no sign of the delivery guy. (Was he abducted by aliens?)  I decided to again call up Sbarro to inquire why my order has not yet arrived.  Again, it was MT who answered the phone.  He assured me that the food will be arriving soon.  He said that he was able to speak with the delivery boy through phone and that the latter confirmed that he was already very near our office.  I sort of sensed that MT was pulling my leg so I asked him to give me the exact location of the delivery boy when he spoke with him.  MT could not give me a straight answer.  Frustrated, I told him that if the food does not arrive by 5:00 pm, I am cancelling the order because my staff would be going home by then and no one would eat the cold food.    He said that it's okay.  

By 5:10 pm, I again called up Sbarro to inform that my order has not yet arrived.  I told MT that I am very disappointed with the poor service of their branch and that I cannot believe it would take them more than two hours to deliver the food that I ordered.  I asked him to give me the name of the lady staff who took my order, but he said that he still wasn’t around when I first called up so he had no idea who took my call.  I asked him if they keep track of who is in charge of taking calls, but he could not give me a straight answer.  He just said that they were too busy that day and that somehow they forgot to prepare my order.   I asked to speak with the store manager, but he told me that she was attending to some BIR concerns. 

I requested MT to give me the name of their store manager because I intended to write a complaint letter to the Sbarro Management.  After getting the details I wanted,  I quickly ended the call because the more I spoke with MT, the more I got irritated. I did not feel his sincerity nor concern at all.  I was tempted to berate MT for his shortcomings and poor customer service skills until his ears bled, but I didn't want to ruin the rest of my day.  (I was also saving my voice for the videoke session that night.)

I was already preparing to go home when the Sbarro delivery guy arrived.  It was already 5:30 pm, two and a half hours after I called to order food.   I told the delivery guy that I already cancelled the order and hence would no longer accept the food. I added that no one would eat the food because all but one of my staff already went home.  I noticed the delivery guy’s sad expression and asked him if he had been informed by MT of the cancellation of the order.  He said he was not informed of the matter so I authorized him to use our office phone to call up their store and talk to his superior. 

When the delivery guy, whom I failed to get the name, came back to me, he said that he already talked with MT who told him that I indeed cancelled the order.   When I asked who would shoulder the cost of the cancelled order, the delivery guy said that it would be charged against him.  I felt bad for the poor guy.  I told him he should not be punished for the shortcomings of his supervisor. 

Indeed, if not for the terrible organization skills and poor customer service of the Sbarro staff, particularly the one in charge of taking orders and the managers, the incident would not have happened.  If the store was short on staff or had no running delivery vehicle (as what the delivery guy told me) at that time, they could have informed me that they were not accepting orders for delivery.  I could have asked one of my staff to go to the store and pick up our order instead.  

What I don’t like most about the experience was the way MT handled my complaint.   He had terrible customer service skills.  I had not felt his sincerity at all during our conversations.   

I’m writing this with the hope that the poor delivery guy who was sent our office would not be asked to shoulder the cost of the food I ordered and eventually cancelled.  The one in charge of taking the orders, MT, and most of all, the Store Manager should take the responsibility for their oversight.

I’m terribly disappointed with the management and staff of the Sbarro Ali Mall branch. I wonder what happened to Sbarro’s pledge to give excellent service to its customers. Their poor customer service caused me a lot of inconvenience and somehow dampened my staff’s holiday spirit.    

I hope our sad experience will not happen to anyone else.

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