By Komu, local employee from section 1
‘Exotic tastes must motivate exotic customer experience innovations’
Says Anita Nielson, the Restaurant Manager at ‘City View’ Restaurant, Tuala, Kajiado County. City View is a popular joint for Chinese workers on the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) project.
Before the SGR construction started, entertainment joints in this sleepy town considered themselves lucky if they slaughtered two goats and sold out before the weekend was over. Eating houses considered mandazi (buns) and chai (tea) a surer business bet; most of their customers were stone masons from the nearby Nkurunga quarries.
But the railway construction has changed all that. As the exit point for the SGR from the Nairobi National Park on its way to Uganda, Tuala is stirring; people are putting up homes; visitors are trooping in and; business is brisk.
The management at the ‘City View’ has come up with innovative customer satisfaction ideas. The ‘Out of Bounds’ notices on the doors to the kitchens- what looks like a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) in the restaurant business- have been thrown out; the Kitchens are no longer out of bounds to Customers.
City View, ever mindful of customer feelings and public health regulations on food preparation, has designed a separate kitchen where customers, closely watched by in-house chefs, are allowed to prepare their own meals.
‘Our regular Chinese customers had complained that our in-house delicacy- mbuzi choma- was becoming a bit boring’ Anita explains ‘that’s when one of our chefs came up with the innovative idea of inviting one of the customers to the kitchens to show him how they do Chinese meat delicacies; we have since learnt to do many more dishes’.
‘Fried noodles, spiced with hot pepper and stir- fried herbs is a delicacy I never envisioned before my Chinese customers prepared it as I watched’ says James, a chef at City View. ‘My Chineses customers now confidently order it, since they know I will deliver’.‘Some of our non Chinese customers have started asking for this in-house delicacy’ Anita adds- evidence that interactions between the Chinese and locals have left an imprint on the local cuisine. By Komu local employee from section 1