Friday, February 15, 2013

McDonald's - The Best Service in Dubai

Service in Dubai in generally good.  I think this is one reason why tourists are so impressed when they come.  Ya, its all shiny and new, but underneath all that is a lot of people working very hard to make the experience a memorable one.

Service is challenging.  I’ve more or less worked in the service sector all my life – restaurants when I was in school, healthcare – one of the most debated intangibles ever, and now consulting and other business services. 

The definition of good service is never resolved.  Take a place like Dubai with over hundreds of different cultures and you could have yourself a service nightmare due to potential differing expectations.  It does happen sometimes.

However, hands down, there is always one place that never fails in terms of good, consistent service.  McDonald’s.  Yes, I said it.  McDonald’s.  It is out there for public consumption – I go to McDonald’s.

I am not a fan of their food, or fast food in general at all.  However, their ice-cream is really good.  This might be bad for you too, but I strongly believe that is the case for dairy in general.  So if I am going to fall off the non-dairy wagon, I will park my horse at McDonald’s.

I have noticed, they always have amazing service.  And it is consistent – always fast, effective and friendly.  There is not much deviation required in fast food service I assume, but I always see the employees going out of their way and smiling.  They never pause or hesitate at someone's request.  And it seems genuine.

They are really patient with customers – even the angry ones, or those who do not communicate in English very well.  You could probably pay for ice-cream, which I think is 3aed with a 500aed bill and they would not complain or ever ask you if you have change.  If they didn’t have change, they would go find it, rather than make you walk around Dubai and beg for it.  I haven’t tested it, but I did it with a 50aed once.  No complaints. 

Just a couple of weeks ago, I was sitting in the drive through during one of our rare rains.  It was early evening, and starting to get pretty chilly.  There were only three cars in front of me to the window to order, but yet, there was a manager standing out in the rain with no jacket taking orders to expedite the line that already moves faster than any line you will find elsewhere.  If I think of these scenarios in a McDonald’s in where I am from,  I am not so confident I would get the same friendly and fast service.

I think the last time I was at a McDonald’s in the US was on a road trip from Houston to New Orleans 15 or so years ago.  That in itself is another blog post, so let’s just leave it at the service was not good. 

One other place that comes to mind when I think of good, consistent service in Dubai is a very nice restaurant named Le Petit Maison.  The food and service are both outstanding.  Sadly, they are now so popular that they have three seatings a night.  This only allows you two hours for an amazing dinner with good friends.  I am always a bit disappointed because dinner with good friends is an event that should last more than two hours.  Outside of the pressure to depart, if you want to enjoy a great dinner in Dubai, it should not be missed.

In the grand scheme of things, this is not a huge deal.  However, I am curious to test it.  Would McDonald’s in Dubai ask you to leave the table after a set time?  For some reason, I doubt it.

Image from

Friday, February 8, 2013

Boys will be Boys

A few weeks ago I took my son to the library.  He searched all the books laid out for his age group and in the end decided on a Barbie Three Musketeers story.   This was clearly a very “girl” book - long dresses, pink, and all those stereotypes. 

We never pushed any particular gender toys onto our son.  However, he is typically boy – loves cars, construction trucks and many other things that are associated with boys.

I was not so bothered by his book selection, but I thought maybe my husband would be.  I know he loves Erin more than life itself, but I recall his surprise about two years ago when he came into our bedroom to find Erin and I playing in my makeup.  It is only face paint to a three year old.  It has no gender context when it is face paint.  It’s a party.

Erin did scan the book cover and content.  “Look mommy, there are swords”.  I felt a little sense of relief that I would not have to explain his book choice.  But yet, why would I?  We love our child unconditionally.  And the fact that he scanned the book to find weapons - total boy.

In all fairness to the book, it was a pretty exciting adventure and much to my surprise, there was a girl power theme.  There was a prince, but he did not save the girls, they saved themselves - a good message for girls and boys.

After the library we stopped by the local party store to get invitations for his 5th birthday party.  As I was waiting to check out, Erin found another item.  “Mommy, I want you to wear this to my birthday party”.  What?!! 

Much to my surprise, he found a sexy santa outfit on a discount rack that was more of the Victoria's Secret genre.  For sure I would not be wearing THAT to his birthday party.  

I tried to postpone it to later.  “No mommy, you need to buy this now.”  How about another red dress?  “No mommy, this is the one you need to wear to my party.”  Did I mention he was a boy?

Needless to say, we did not buy it.  However, any concerns about playing with make up or reading a Barbie book would instantly be forgotten.

One week ago today we celebrated Erin’s 5th birthday.  The big five.  No longer a baby.  No longer a toddler.  No longer a pre-schooler.  A boy.   All had a great time, and there was no mention of me not dressing like this!