I first had a taste of the Ilocano Empanada early 2000 when I was still working as a line trainer for my company. I handled the North Luzon area and it took me in the different parts of provinces of the area which includes the Ilocos region. It was in Candon, Ilocos Sur where I got my very first taste of the Ilocano Empanada and I was instantly addicted! Unfortunately, my new job does not require much travelling and it has been a while since I had a taste of this local delicacy.
Then came Empanada Nation.
An officemate of mine told me about this new kiosk that serves authentic Ilocano Empanada. The good news was that it was just at Pearl Drive in Pasig which was just a stone's throw away from our office. Naturally, I was intrigued so off I went during my lunch break and rekindled my long lost gastronomical love affair with this Ilocano treat. That was two years ago.
Flashback to last Friday. My wife and I ate at a restaurant near our home to try their version of the Ilocano Empanada (which she had the privilege to have previously tried and liked). However, the finished product did not look or taste authentic. It was a copycat and a poor one at that (sorry sweety).
When we went to SM Fairview this afternoon, I had the pleasant surprise of seeing an Empanada Nation kiosk at the food court and I told my wife that she needs to taste this to really know what an authentic Ilocano Empanada tastes like.
Unfortunately, it was a service nightmare! The staff did not know how to manage their customers. There were a lot of customer milling around and I was at a lost as to where the line is to place my order. So I asked the crew to direct me where I need to line up. I stood for a couple of minutes thinking that she will put the customers in order---I was mistaken! I'm a patient man and I don't easily get mad, so just to be clear as to my number in the queue is, I asked the customers who was ordering. Apparently, may were just UZIS (usiseros) and I found myself third in line. Since my wife and I still needed to buy something at the grocery, I asked the cashier if I can just place my order and just fetch it later to which she said ok. I even told her who I was following just to show her that I'm legitimately in line.
Twenty minutes after I come back to fetch my order but to my dismay, they forgot my order! But since they told me that they would just prioritize me, I again switched to my patient mode. Man! Was I PATIENT! I guess the crew and me did not match in terms of the meaning of PRIORITY since there were around four orders that they served before I got mine!
I'm not sure how many turn away customers they had during this time but I was almost one of them. Their product is good but if their service will continue to be the way I just experienced it this afternoon, this business will lose many sales opportunities and receive many customer complains.