Subway lost its way in India

19 Aug

So I’ve tried to be fair and give these jokers some time, studying them over the last year. I figured they need to learn the ropes, understand their operating model, iron out the issues. But with every passing order, I’m indubitably reassured – Subway has totally lost the plot in India, when it comes to their home delivery system.

To back my case, I’d like to present a few choice gems from my Indian interactions with the world’s largest single-brand restaurant chain. As always, incidents are served fresh, with no extra sides of exaggeration!

1. The case of address amnesia

Franchise: Baner, Pune

Order time: 12:30pm

Context: Multiple employees at my company order from this branch everyday, to the extent where they know the names and extension nos. of all the regulars

Story: Placed my order, gave the address (including landmarks, etc.), contact details (even though they have them on record), and was told by employee #1 that it would take 30 minutes. Ok.

1pm: Employee #2 calls up (from in-store) and asks for the address, can’t understand anything, and takes 10 minutes to re-write it all down. Patiently re-dictated.

1:15pm: Employee #2 calls up again (from in-store) and asks me to explain the directions he just wrote down 15 minutes ago (even though it is super-easy, they come here everyday, and I’d given it to them twice). Explained anyway, though probably a little less politely.

2:20pm: Employee #3 calls somewhere on the way, and asks where our company building is.

Threshold=crossed. Note that its TWO hours into the order, and the fourth time they wanted a known delivery address ‘explained’. I said they had ten minutes, and if they could find the address, they can deliver, else enjoy a stale salad lunch themselves.

They never showed. Or called.

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2. The case of the morphing bacon

Franchise: Koregaon Park, Pune

Order time: 7:00pm

Story: Placed my order for a chicken and bacon ranch sub, gave the address, contact details, and was told that it would take 40 minutes. Even though it was down the road, meh.

7:45pm: No sub on the radar.

8:30pm: Contemplating chewing fingers out of starvation.

9:30 pm: Delivery guy shows up 2.5 hours later. We were so hungry and hallucinating, we gave in weakly, paid for the sub and tore into it.

Oh wait. After all this time, it wasn’t even chicken, bacon, or ranch. Upon close inspection, it appeared to be a collection of random ingredients (hopefully not spoilt – we were too hungry to notice) thrown together inside bread. At this point, we’re wondering if it was a mistake or a cruel joke, but tearfully soldier on anyway. Whole new meaning to ‘yellow submarine’.

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3. The case of the adventurous chicken salad

Franchise: Baner, Pune

Order time: 12:00pm

Story: Placed my order for a roast chicken salad, gave the address, contact details, and was told that it would take 40 minutes. Ok.

12:45pm: Called Subway about my order. It’s on its way Ma’am, promise.

1:30-2:30pm: Called Subway at least 10 times in that hour. If nothing, it was to at least cancel my order, since I had meetings later and would have to starve instead.

3pm: Delivery guy shows up THREE hours later (sadly, I kid you not). Says he left at only around 2:20pm, and got caught by cops for speeding. He then proceeds to hand me a soggy-ass salad container, with mayonnaise, water and the remains of BBQ sauce/lettuce dripping out of it. Like it’s been run through a washing machine. Ugg. He also cheerily hands me the bill to pay for this rotting, leaky, fetid unholy abomination of meat-veggie-sauce combos. Here’s an info-graphic to explain this particular experience.

3:15pm: Tried called the store again, this time from the delivery guy’s cell-phone (surprise surprise, it worked), to inform the manager I’m not paying for this slop. Ran inside for my meeting which I was late for because of Subway’s shenanigans.

4pm: My colleague (who, bored of working, had followed my unrewarding quest for lunch from the start) took a call from the Subway manager. They ‘explained’ that the delivery guy had been in an accident at 1pm, and thus the order had been delayed. Aww. You couldn’t be mad at them for that, right? Thankfully, the only ‘accident’ the delivery guy had was when he had accidentally told us the truth.

Not sure if he lied to the manager or the manager was lying to us, but we smelled a rat. Or maybe that was the salad…

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I have at least 10 more Subway delivery horror stories, but they’re not half as amusing as these.

What’s my point, you ask?

Subway’s been around forever, globally (46 years to be exact). They’ve been in India since 2001, have over 215 stores and have had a decade to figure their game out here. Granted, India’s a ‘unique’ marketplace with its own set of monumental challenges. But hey, peers such as McDonald’s, Pizza Hut and even Dominoes (though there’s another story there 😉 ) have implemented great systems for home delivery in India, with varying degrees of success (all drastically better, though, which is the point). Why is Subway FAILing, hard, repeatedly and in so many different ‘ways’? My sample size is currently limited to Pune, and hey, maybe they’re better elsewhere, but I’m willing to bet that they’re not.

In the meantime, I’ve lost my appetite, Subway – FAIL!

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RSS involvement in IAC movement!

18 Aug

 

 

 

Justdial pimped me out!

17 Apr

Seriously! There’s no other way to say it.

Yesterday I needed to send an international courier. Like any self respecting netizen, I of course consulted Google. But you know how well Indian businesses are promoted and updated online. Option no.2 – Justdial. Now I have to say that I’ve used these information providers in the past, for listings to everyday things like cinemas, hairstylists and restaurants. Great service, polite and prompt, I was quite the Justdial fan. Yeah, was I in for it yesterday!

I called them, and was greeted by a polite young man, who greeted me by my name. Warm fuzzy valued customer feelings, right?  I’d asked for the BlueDart office closest to Koregaon Park. A short 30 second conversation later, I got a handy text on my phone. Additionally, I also got a 50 page long list of other international courier companies around KP that I may be interested in. Meh, thinking nothing of it, I called BlueDart, and found out what I needed.

That’s when things started getting really creepy.

Approximately 5 minutes after my conversation with Polite Justdial employee, I started getting calls one after another, from EVERY international courier company in the city! All of them had my entire data, including full name, phone no., area, and god knows what else Justdial threw in their pimping deal!

The calls persisted through the evening. It really didn’t help that I was at a multiplex trying to watch a movie.

I’m not sure exactly how their business model runs, but whoring out private customer data, without permission or intimation or even a courtesy ‘fine print’ clause, is definitely a BIG FUCK!NG FAIL for an information provider like Justdial!

This can’t possibly be legal for a business to do, can it? Granted, India’s consumer data protection laws are nothing to get excited about, but this just doesn’t sit well with me.

Next time, I’ll just stay blissfully ignorant, thanks for the superior customer experience, Justdial!

McInappropriate Delivery

23 Jan

Me: “Hi, I want a wrap, three shakes, and some wedges.” [Ok, I made that up, the shock has made me forget what I ordered]

McDonald’s home delivery: “Madam, can I hold you for one minute?”

Me: “WHAT?”

McDonald’s home delivery: “Only for one minute, Madam.”

Me: “You want…to hold me?”

McDonald’s home delivery: “Yes, please, Madam, for quick delivery.”

Me: ಠ_ಠ

I smell a lawsuit.

We’re the GPRS (ripoff) boys!

7 Nov

 

Here’s the deal. I recently purchased an awesome Android phone, the Samsung Galaxy S. My first smartphone, and my first opportunity to use a mobile phone for everything except making calls. Couldn’t wait to show off all the awesomeness… including apps such as Layar, Icanhazcheezburger, Comics, Time magazine mobile, Bump, you name it.  The flaw in the plan? Most of these things required the internet to function on my phone. Outside of my wi-fi enabled home, where all the people were. And I’m a Vodafone subscriber…

Researching the mobile internet (GPRS) market for the first time in India, I was pretty shocked by the absurdity of Vodafone’s data plans, in comparison to everyone else. I looked at postpaid GPRS plans for Vodafone, Idea, Airtel and TATA DOCOMO, and as they all required regional selection, I went with Maharashtra and Goa. Here’s what I found:

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The ma(u)lling of Vladivostok!

3 Nov

This one should be well remembered by family and friends. I’m talking, of course, about my brush with ‘Jewel Square’ – Pune’s first posh mall (or what we’re told is posh anyway). Hmm, although it was far beyond a brush, more like… an intense brush. This will all make sense soon.

Having practically spent my entire life-after-work there in sale week, I pulled into Jewel Square once again that rainy July evening. I was driving my trusty n rusty Wagon R (christened Vladivostok), and was there to collect a particularly ill-fated pair of trousers. The guards had their customary cursory glance at my 4-wheel breadbox. Feeling like being pampered, and also because it was raining (and you know what basement parking is like in the rains…floody, cementy, dank and totally avoidable), I handed in my car for valet parking. They had a huge ‘VALET PARKING AVAILABLE’ sign put up at the entrance, and a whole fleet of valets standing by expectantly. Meh, what’s to think about, right?

So my colleague and I spent a few hours at the mall, pimping out our wardrobe and whatnot. We headed out at about 7:30pm, handed in our valet receipt, and waited patiently for Vladivostok to arrive up the exit slope.  Except, we remained standing for a good 15 minutes, and the gelatos we were having weren’t distracting us enough. Several other fancy cars had come and gone, why were we left behind? We made an attendant radio the valets below, and the next thing you know, we hear tyres screeching wildly, and my car literally flew out of the basement…crashing magnificently into the metal gate separating the basement from the slope!!

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Thugs unite: Standard Chaatu and HS(mc)BC

12 Sep

You remember all those mafia movies where the dons sent thugs after their poor victims, for their weekly ‘cut’? Yeh, in my house, we’ve been feeling like those victims for the past few months. No, we haven’t been mixing with the wrong crowd. We’ve had the sad misfortune of having my sister get married and move base to the US…without settling her bank accounts with Standard Chartered and HSBC.

Now I understand that Collection is a very important administrative activity for banks. They need to get their moneys from defaulters and overdrafters and the like. I can’t remember who these guys outsourced the collection process to, but my entire family now knows first-hand – they’re not paying their employees to use any brain cells on call. None. Over the phone, the fingers are typing, the lips are moving, but there’s noone home! Let me explain.

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