In the movie Midnight Run the hero, a bounty hunter manages to arrest his bounty, a fugitive accountant rather easily. When the accountant asks the successful bounty hunter what he will do with his reward, the hunter replies that he intends to open a restaurant. The accountant advices his catcher not to, saying that the restaurant business is too risky. He has seen many restaurant businesses fold after a few months.
Sad to say this is the state of affairs I see among Malay restaurants in Seremban. We have many fast fast food, Chinese, Indian and Mamak restaurants in town but very few Malay restaurants. There is a Mamak restaurant operator who has five branches in town. Even among the few Malay restaurants most are offering tom yam food with Thai workers. Most of the time is is embarrassing for me when a friend from another state pays a visit and asks for Negeri Sembilan Malay food.
There was this restaurant in Seremban 2 which was serving Negeri Sembilan Malay food. It opened about two years ago with the name Kafe Batu Keras which is the direct translation of Hard Rock Cafe. It served authentic Negeri Sembilan Malay food, which should not be confused with Minang food. You can find Minang food everywhere but not Negeri Sembilan Malay food. A few weeks ago I passed by the restaurant and noticed that the name has changed. Surely the ownership has changed too and I wonder whether they serve the same food.
From my experience both as a customer and law enforcer I found that what is lacking among Malay restaurants is the service. The food being prepared may be tasty and clean but they cannot beat the service given by Mamak restaurants, for example.
Yesterday we celebrated my youngest daughter's birthday. It was agreed that we dine outside. My wife and daughters made their own survey and chose a Malay restaurant situated in a nearby housing estate. It had been in operation for the past six months, unknown to me. They booked the food chosen from the restaurant's menu. Fortunately for us at least the operators did not ask for any deposit. We had done this a few times before at other restaurants as we did not want to wait for our food to be cooked and served.
All the food ordered were at the table when we arrived except for the drinks and rice, which was quite normal again. The drinks came but it took about half an hour for the rice to arrive and this too after us giving two reminders. In the meantime we were eating the other food and when the rice came half of the other food had been eaten. Maybe this is a strategy by the operators to save rice I never know. Because in the end only half of the rice served were eaten by us. The offered excuses like some customers coming late after ordering and some not coming at all.
Whatever excuse they made surely did not encourage me to go there for a second time.
Your lament over a Malay restaurant is nothing new. Malays have many dishes which can be offered. Sadly our people just have no thought for customers and what make them return. It is the quality as well as service. Without these two aspects being given special attention how can one expect customers returning.
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