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Username: Natasha_P

Age: 51

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The Zetland Arms, South Kensington

Bizarrely this poorly written staff notice was behind the bar on full display to customers in the Zetland last night:

"We are having a meeting on Tuesday morning due to your repeatedly (sic) failure with guest (sic) journey. I expect everyone to come including kitchen team as well. No excuses."

The current bar staff in the Zetland work very hard and are always polite to customers. Their "repeatedly failure" stems from a complete lack of leadership from the pub's management.

The General Manager is invisible during the evenings (probably because she works during the daytime and is involved behind the scenes on some evenings).

I work in the retail sector and during our intensive customer service training, we were taught that the Customer is King or Queen and that you must put the customer first and give them you undivided attention.

One very good example of the Zetland's "repeatedly failure" is the "prime time curfew" at 10pm. Just as the pub is usually getting busier two team members stop serving customers (no matter how busy it is) leaving just one or two bar staff struggling to serve the growing queues of thirsty customers, who have just arrived from the Albert Hall.

The absent team members are re-stocking and cleaning, which in other pubs is done during a quiet period or when the pub has closed. It's embarrassing to see customers snubbed and told "Sorry, I'm not serving" by staff who have been instructed to put cleaning and re-stocking before customers.

It is the only pub in London where the long beer mats/cloths and trays on the bar are removed two hours before the pub has closed, so that they can be washed alongside glasses in the machine. This leaves the bar in a complete mess, as drinks are spilt and it also gives the impression that the pub in not open for business.

The staff have great potential and warm personalities, but they desperately need strong leadership to inspire them and to stress the importance of excellent customer service. That will help avoid "repeatedly failure" in the future and ensure that the "guest journey" is a pleasant one.

16 Dec 2012 14:41

The Zetland Arms, South Kensington

What a fiasco on Easter Saturday night! (7 April). At 10.30pm the atmosphere was great. The pub was about half full. Everyone was relaxing, enjoying the Easter weekend and looking forward to an unhurried, convivial last few drinks to round off an excellent evening until the Zetland would as usual at midnight.

As a steady flow of regulars and tourists started to arrive, so the lively and friendly ambience continued to grow. Then at 10.45pm, like a bolt out of the blue, with no warning, an agressive short East European barmaid started to slam the bell so hard we thought it was going to fall off the wall. What on earth was going on? Was there a fire? Had a nuclear bomb gone off? Was it free Easter drinks?

No, this was a call (although they never shout 'Last Orders') for Last Orders - but the call was exactly one hour and five minutes early, as this pub is the only one in London to call time at 15 minutes to the hour, instead of the normal 10 minutes to the hour. But why was this fantastic customer experience being killed off one hour early - with no advance warning - when the pub was populated with numerous customer and more were constantly arriving? There was no logical answer. And bar staff were not prepared to speculate or even offer a half-logical answer.

One regular customer asked the Duty Manager to tell him who had made the bizarre decision. The Duty Manager answered sarcastically that it was God who made the decision. A somewhat crass answer and potentially offensive to any Christians gathered to celebrate Easter, after participating in the Easter Vigil in nearby Brompton Oratory.

The pleasant ambiance had been killed, as soon as the bespectacled barmaid had slammed the bell. A group of regular customers who had just arrived were astounded and felt badly let down. The bunches of tourists who'd just entered for a couple of drinks after dinner or a show were equally perplexed. They didn't know what to do or where to go.

So what did the helpful Zetland crew advise them to do? Well they completely ignored the guests, as they were too busy cleaning, desperate to be out of the pub as quickly as possible. Instead it was several regular customers who apologised to the tourists for their unhappy experience and gave them directions to alternative pubs and bars in the area.

The final straw and dramatic finale came when the aggressive Eastern European bell slammer harrassed a middle-aged couple, who were tourists, forcing them to leave their drinks and get out of the pub. The couple understandably told her "You are so rude". Miss Europe surprinsingly retaliated "No, you're the ones who so rude!". The other barstaff hung their heads in shame and embarrassment.

It was just a normal night in the Zetland. Britain's rudest pub! And still no representative of the Zetland has been abe to offer any explanation for the early closing, which ruined Easter for so many peaceful, law-abiding, paying customers.

12 Apr 2012 17:34

The Hoop and Toy, South Kensington

The last reviewer wrote:

"I was shocked to find out that a particularly surly and unhelpful female member of staff is actually part of the management."

You must surely be referring to the Kiwi girl known as "Mad M*". She calls every customer (whom she's never met before) as "Darling" or "Love" - and then proceeds to have an embarrassingly long and inappropriate conversation with the uncomfortable customer, while she is oblivious to the frustrated other customers awaiting service. Regulars see her as a figure of fun - and thankfully she is only usually let out during the daytime, so she can't alienate evening clientele.

30 Nov 2011 16:36

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Natasha_P has been registered on this site since 10th February 2008