23 December, 2008

Redbelt Blacklists Chili's

Chilli's is one remarkable restaurant. A historic restaurant. It first opened up in Bahrain in the dawn of the Seef Mall era. lines of people waiting to sample its delicious food and did not mind waiting for hours. It was the hip place to be and any body who was somebody was seen at Chilli's .
Not anymore.

Chilli's "celebrate" now the opening of their 10th branch. I mourn a once prestigious brand.
Ever since the Jawad group acquired Chilli's from its previous owners and the quality of food and restaurant experience declined really hard. Jawad does operate some good restaurant. I am a fan of the Great Kabab Factory for example. But they really screwed the Chilli's brand.
I would usually say that this is my humble opinion. But it's not. This is fact. And I have photographic proof. I'll get to that in a second, but first of all let me discuss what I don't like:

lower food standards
Everyone is talking about this. Have you looked at your dish recently? There are no broccolis anymore. There is Cauliflower instead. Why? It is CHEAPER! Yes, they are cheap.
Zucchinis are no more to. Instead, you have carrots. Again they are cheaper. My friend Nawaf innocently called a waiter to alert him to this situation:
Nawaf: "Excuse me. There is no Broccoli in my plate."
Waiter: "Yes sir. We are serving Cauliflowers instead."
N: "Cauliflower? did you run out of Broccoli?"
W: "No sir. We have updated our steamed vegetables. We don't serve Broccoli anymore This is it now"
N: "B..But the pictures in the menu is different!?"
W: "Yeah...... well.... we don't have Broccoli anymore. This is our NEW steamed vegetables."

Not only do they not serve it. Broccoli became a black market item at Chilies! At another visit"
Nawaf: "Excuse me. There is no Broccoli in my plate." (Please read the conversation above again then follow up with this)
N: "I don't care. I WANT BROCCOLI. I want my food the way it was meant to be!"
Waiter: "But we don't have any!"
N: "OK. Take my dish back. I don't want it."
W (thinking hard then looking left and right): ".... ... OK, OK..... let me see what I can do. I'll try to secure some for you."

At this point my jaw just hit the floor. THE WAITER WAS GONNA HOOK US UP WITH BROCCOLI! I felt like I was buying drugs! It was there in secret and all hush hush! WTF?

Customer Service? Why?
Chilli's always greeted patrons with a smile. The waiter / waitress helped us rather quickly and get down to their knees to take orders so they would be at our seated eye level. No more.
Now you wait, wait, wait, call, call, stop, call again then SHOUT so the waitress comes and hands out menus to you and leaves. When they take orders they no longer kneel down anymore.
This might be insignificant to some, but it shows that the value of the franchise simply eroded.
In my last visit to Chilli's @ Dana mall, no one came to take our orders. The restaurant seemed obviously understaffed. We begged for menus, just the menus. The supervisor threw the menus at us in a hurry and said that they were busy, with a nice frown on his bald face. Wow. Thank you for making me feel welcome. Guess which finger I'm holding up?

The Smell
Being greedy, Chilli's management are trying to adopt the Costa Coffee approach: be in as many places as possible. This caused rather unsuitable locations. Like the Chillies @ The Centre. It is so small that patrons clothes reek of cooking odours because the kitchen is too close to the seating area. Also the sound of pans clonking, orders shouted and food sizzling is exactly what I need to relax.

The destruction of a Concept
Chilli's was a "Casual Dining" experience. With the number of restaurants there is now and the lower standards, "Casual Dining" just changed into "Overpriced Fast food". It is. It's just is.

Lower Hygiene and Cleanliness
It is not strange to see things on the floor, spilled drinks on the tables and tables that are just not cleared. I took pictures in my last visit to Dana Mall branch. Just look:


Look at the table: Empty bottles, half drunk glasses, a bag full of garbage on a food counter, bananas thrown on the table after Hastingly preparing something. It was messy.
Look here:

Garbage greeting you at the entrance.


And in between the tables inside as well.
The staff were simply walking past / walking over the trash.

Chilli's Bahrain was asking for it for a long time now. TheRedbelt.com is blacklisting Chilli's Bahrain on the following charges:
  • Bad Service
  • Low Hygiene
  • Bad Quality
At least these three problems must be solved before their name can be lifted from my list.

This blog post will be sent to officials at Jawad Group and also submitted to Chillis .com via their feedback form.
Kindly leave your opinion on the poll to the right and on the comments to this post. I look forward to hear what you all think.


lizardo said...

i went to chilies once since it started and never agian cuz it sooo overprices for nothing special

Nawaf said...

I totally agree with you, currently I avoid going to Chilli's. Before one month I went to Chilli's city center branch with our friend Nader and his nephew, and after few hours they had a food poison! They ate chicken crispy and luckily I did not! I am confident that the reason of the food poison was the staff hygiene NOT the food.

With the current increased competition it is really wrong time for Chilli's to have such bad quality, bad service and low hygiene, personally I have much better alternatives such as Friday's, Apple Bee's, Bennigan's in Juffair or even Hard Rock!

Yousef said...

going to chilies bahrain, became a nightmare, food not as used to be, and which is worst than food, service. its JAWAD , he ruined everything nice about chilies:

1- they bring stuff from their supermarket, which i have nothing against, but the problem, they bring cheap stuff.

2- the prices became bit overpriced, and i will understand this if they wanted to keep the same old quality, but more money and less quality?? as u said the replaced the vegetable only cuz they are cheaper.

and you know wats worse of all this, they will never listen, cuz u know the bahraini standred " NO STANDEREDS ", all wat they care about is how to make more money, unless the main company force them to change something. We all know wat they will say , ppl still coming to us , yeah, cuz have u thought wat other opitons we have in bahrain?? very limited, but i think now with " friday's " opening, am sure many ppl will change their place to eat.

Anonymous said...

Want to see bad and dirty service, try eating at Chilies Egypt, or even at a fast food franchise in a busy area in Paris. Service was better in most fast food joints in Bahrain, but even now it's better than many places in Europe.

The Dude said...

Yeah. I agree entirely. Stupid Jawad ruin everything they touch. Like McCosta McCoffee. And Dairy Queer. http://letsblamesociety.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Rancid oil was used to refly chips in bottomless chips - yukkie smell and taste at Chili's at Dana Mall. At least they admitted the oil was bad and did not charge us.