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.
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