It was supposed to be an uneventful and relaxing evening but it turned into something I least expected when I ordered food from Chowking to be delivered at home.
This post isn’t about my food experience but about how their food is served, specifically the plastic cup that contained their Nai-Cha drink. This cup almost brought me to the hospital (or at least a small jagged piece).
Remember that hole on top of a plastic cup where you insert the straw through it? Usually it’s circular in shape and rarely comes off, or if it does, it would be too big to fit in a straw. That is how it is designed for safety reasons. The Nai-Cha cup comes with a big straw in order for the jelly to fit when you sip the drink. But, the top wasn’t designed to have a circular shape. It was just cut into a cross so that the straw can push right through it.
So, there I was enjoying my siopao, mami and Nai-Cha drink while I surfed the net. One sip after another and suddenly I felt something hard and sharp on my tongue, at first thinking it might just be a hard jelly, but soon enough I realized it was not. It was a bit too late and felt a sharp pain in my throat. I rushed to the bathroom and placed my finger at the back of my throat to force it out. I felt it slowly going up but also saw blood in the sink (excuse me for the gross imagery). After a few minutes, I successfully got it out.
That missing piece (triangular in shape) you see in the photo is what fell into my drink and scraped my throat. I took a few more shots of what it looks like.
I was lucky. If I ignored it and swallowed that piece, I’m not sure how much harm it would’ve done to my stomach. I can’t imagine the horror if it happened to a child.
I’d like to call the attention of Chowking management, not just to complain about my experience, but to let them be aware of the danger of the cups they use to serve their Nai-Cha drink. There are hundreds, maybe even thousands of these cups and they are going to be given to unsuspecting customers. I’m hoping your solution is not just to warn customers of the danger, because we all know that this is not going to be 100% effective, knowing some staff members will either forget or ignore the policy.
I am not only writing this for Chowking but for other food businesses that might have the same cups. Check the supplies you order because being in this industry is not just about having clean and good food, but everything that comes with it. The safety of your customers is always a priority.
We are all customers and we have every right to be safe.
I’ve sent an email to their customer service team and gave them the link to this post. After a few hours, I received a call from one of their managers in the branch that delivered my food. I’ll give them points for responding quickly.
Unfortunately, the manager Jennel clearly didn’t know how to handle a customer complaint call and didn’t take ownership. I was waiting for her to offer a solution and she asked what the complaint was about. This frustrated me a little bit and asked, “Weren’t you given any information to the nature of my complaint or receive a copy of my email?” She answered, “What information?”
Since I didn’t have time, I gave her a summary and she then continued on stating that it isn’t their fault since they don’t have control over the supplies that are being delivered to them. I agreed with her and told her that I was surprised that corporate management didn’t call me instead.
I then asked her, “Do you have any authority to help in a branch level to make sure that customers are warned of the potential danger of the cup covers?” She kept on saying (cutting me off) that it was corporate. Clearly she wasn’t listening. After I asked her 3 times and mentioned, “Shouldn’t you be warning your customers?” That’s when she acknowledged and said, “Ah yes, we can do that.” It wasn’t reassuring.
To make the long story short, she gave me the mobile numbers of her area and operations manager. I called the operations manager, Art Aben and sent him the same email. He was helpful and after a few hours, the area manager, Lee, called me as well.
I will give him bonus points for speed, empathy and resolution. He asked how I was and told me that customer service is one of their priorities. He also thanked me for informing them about the cups and personally checked some cup covers. Most of the stock were not as brittle so he forwarded this to their purchasing department and started the investigation. Lastly, he asked if I could be compensated by stating, “Baka makabawi po kami…” I told him I wasn’t asking for compensation but assurance that they will take action so that it doesn’t happen to another customer.
Overall, I’m happy that they considered this as a priority. I’ll give Art and Lee credit on how they handled the situation. Great job! Now, let’s hope they can fix other consumer’s issues on a macro level to lower the number of complaints from their branches.