Ever heard of Pizza Hut? Of course you have! Not only is it one of the best known pizza joints in the world, it’s a place you’ve probably eaten at at least once. Now, what do you expect when you go to Pizza Hut? Well, if you answered “pizza,” you wouldn’t be wrong, but you would also expect, at the very least, basic service etiquette. Turns out, that’s not the case for the Pizza Hut at Lucky Plaza.
Just yesterday, when my fellow JustSayer Ryan and I happened to visit the branch in question after checking out the Gundam exhibit at Ngee Ann City, we had a dining experience that could only be described as surreal.
Having only made it to the Pizza Hut at 9:30 p.m., we were well aware that we ran the risk of having missed the window to dine-in, so we decided to check the timing of the last order and closing with the waitress… and she didn’t know. First assuming that the restaurant closed at 10 p.m., she had to check before realising that it in fact closed at 12 on Fridays and Saturdays.
Initially settling for a large pizza and drinks, the waitress was kind enough to suggest a promotional 2-person regular pizza meal that could have the pizza upsized to a large. Not being fans of most of Pizza Hut‘s new menu items, we decided to forgo their promotional toppings and stick to a good ol’ meat galore. And being the gluttons that we are, a side order of their Sweet ‘N’ Spicy Drumlets. A simple enough order, right? Apparently not.
The first item we received at the table was a drink. Yes, one drink. For some reason, we were served only one drink and we actually had to prompt the waiters twice before they served the second drink—that too, after checking our order multiple times with the system and the waitress who had taken it down that the set meal for TWO really did come with two drinks.
Following the extremely complicated process of ensuring that we received two glasses of Pepsi (do they brew it in there?) we received the drumlets… and then all activity died for a good 20 minutes before another waiter approached us to clarify that we only had the pizza left. Of course, we still hadn’t received our soup and informed him, prompting him to rush back into the kitchen and initiate the ancient ritual of re-heating and pouring soup. I mean, c’mon, how difficult is it to heat and serve soup?
Slightly ticked off by the horrendous service, I began to observe the staff to see if perhaps they were understaffed. After all, there were only 3 other tables occupied and the total number of customers amounted to less than 20. To my surprise, I counted at least 6 service staff in the restaurant of which only 2 were on the floor at a time and the rest were in the back talking… really loudly. And to make matters worse, the staff had an incredibly annoying habit of yelling at each other, from in and out of the kitchen to either relay orders or enquire whether a set meal for two actually did come with two drinks and two bowls of soup… yes, I’m not over that one.
Finally, the pizza arrives, much to the relief of our quickly rising hunger! That relief, however, was a short-lived one when we realised that they served us the wrong pizza—which they pretended to have been a genuine error, but given that we had deciphered their secret code of yelling at each other, we knew that they had been doubtful as to whether they had gotten our order right from the start. So instead of clarifying the order with us, they simply attempted to pass off the wrong pizza as an honest mistake. And it certainly didn’t help that another one of the waiters’ idea of absolution was to repeatedly declare “I wasn’t the one who took the order! It wasn’t me!” Yes, because that’s what matters—only those who take the orders are given the superpower of actually reading the damn thing right.
Luckily, one of the waiters did practice service recovery and offered us the wrong pizza on the house while they made the right one for us—which we could choose to simply take away if we so wished. Not ones to say no to free cheese and meat on bread, we accepted the offer and resumed with our meal, entertained by the never ending clamour of their yelling and the steady rhythm of one waitress’ dragging feet. Seriously, who needs live bands and violinists when you have these guys?
At this point, I began nitpicking on their overall service demeanour: not only was their behaviour akin to students in a canteen during recess, they looked the part, too—aprons seemed to be optional from staff to staff, at least 3 of them had their uniforms (semi-)untucked and the girls’ hair was on free fall, confusing casual Friday with I-just-got-out-of-bed-damn-if-my-hair-falls-in-your-food-Friday. And, no, the latter’s not a real thing.
Just as we finished our wrong pizza, the one we actually ordered arrived. Now, you would think that everything that could go wrong had already gone wrong. But no, this particular branch of Pizza Hut believed in excellence in disappointment and they weren’t gonna let us down. This pizza was significantly smaller than the last one and I confirmed this by taking a rough measure of it with my phone’s built-in ruler, confirming that it was definitely short of the usual 12 inches (there’s a joke in there somewhere) and was, in fact, closer to 8 inches, the size of a regular pizza.
Calling on the staff for the umpteenth time, we attempted to confirm that this was the correct size. Her response was that it was, in fact, a large pizza but was not 12 inches because it was not “stretched out” and offering us a free refill of the specially in-house brew of Pepsi that they had.
By this point, we we had decided that there was certainly no repair for this experience, so we let it go, pretending to accept the meta-physical theory behind the complex art of correctly sizing pizza.
Ultimately, while the food was still to Pizza Hut’s usual standards, the service was probably the worst I’ve experienced so far, made all the more unacceptable having it come from a well-known international franchise. This is one Pizza Hut I’m certainly never returning to.
The Pezzo kiosk just a little down from Lucky Plaza has got equally good pizza and doesn’t charge you for non-existent service or for the special experience of screwing up your meal.