Good service is hard to find in Kota Kinabalu, and as quick as I am to complain, as quick I am, or really try harder to be, to commend. And this weekend I encountered two instances of above and beyond that I simply must share.
San Francisco Coffee, Warisan Square
I’m not a huge fan of San Francisco Coffee merely because I prefer the stronger taste of the competitor’s coffee.
However, in our quest to find the perfect western breakfast in Kota Kinabalu, Julia and myself thought it’s about time that we tried out San Francisco Coffee’s Big Breakfast, which is served until 11.30am.
So it happened then that on Saturday morning we walked into San Francisco Coffee in Warisan Square, well hungry and in the mood for breakfast. We walked up to the counter and ordered and was happily obliged, except, said the Barista taking our order, because it’s after 11.30am the bottomless coffee/tea is not included.
I looked at Julia, she looked at me, and together we turned to look at the clock on the wall. It was 11.38am. We looked back at the Barista in unison, with equal expressions of disbelief on our face. Without batting an eyelid he said “but no matter, for you we’ll still include the coffee”.
I was literally dumbstruck – not by having missed the cut-off by 8 minutes (it was 11.34am on my watch), but by the way he graciously granted us the benefit without argument or protest – which is usually what would happen in such cases. Both our faces lit up and we were supremely impressed.
Of course, we wanted to fill in a Customer Feedback card, but alas, they had no such tools, so we enjoyed our breakfast in bliss.
Starbucks Coffee, City Mall
Ever since Starbucks in KK introduced the Rooibos Tea Latte, it has been my favourite drink. I’ve had it every time on the several occasions that we’ve been to Starbucks over the months that they’ve introduced it, and it’s been a pleasant experience every time.
At about 10pm last night we found ourselves at the Starbuck Coffee in City Mall, and as usual I ordered the Rooibos Tea Latte. Both the Baristas behind the counter were very friendly and helpful and the order was quickly filled.
I was standing at the counter waiting for the other half of our order when I took a sip of the latte. It tasted odd, watery. I took another sip and realised that I would need sugar, the first time I’ve ever felt the need with a Rooibos Tea Latte.
After we sat down and I started sipping the latte, I realise that something was seriously amiss. It just didn’t taste the same, and it was watery. Markedly different to the many times I had it previously.
I went back to the Barista, after some coaxing from Julia, and asked him if this is the usual Rooibos Tea Latte and that I felt something was missing from it. He said that it was the same as always. I accepted it as such returned to my seat.
Another Barista, incidentally the one who made that very first Rooibos Tea Latte for me in the Starbucks in Warisan Square, appeared from the storeroom and had a chat with the one I spoke to earlier. Moments later he came over to ask if there was something wrong with the latte.
I was surprised and said that yes there was – does he remember the first time he made me the latte? He confirmed that he did remember, there’s not that many tall, bald-headed white-guys in KK. He said no matter, he’ll fix me another one.
I again found myself stunned by the gesture. I didn’t ask for a replacement when I went in, but he came out to check and wanted to give me a satisfying drink. I was pleasantly surprised.
He returned some minutes later with a good old cup of soothing Rooibos Tea Latte. We had a bit of a chat and introduced ourselves – his name is Peachi.
So, at the City Mall Starbucks, you can get the best Rooibos Tea Latte in KK from a guy called Peachi.
Big Apple Donuts, City Mall, KK
Here’s just a Big Apple Donut update, because there were no instances of exceptional service at Big Apple Donuts in City Mall. In fact, they still have 7 or 8 staff behind the glass panels churning out donuts, and only one in the front trying to service the line.
The first update is that there’s now a Big Apple Donuts in Warisan Square in Kota Kinabalu (in the mall part, near Roxy and Charles & Keith). The second update is that they’ve discovered the need for a website.
Yup, Big Apple Donut’s official website will be at bigappledonuts.com – will be, because there’s nothing at the moment, and they actually print on the box “under construction”.
Update 22 October 2008: 8 Months down the line Big Apple Donuts’ website is no more than it was 6 months ago. Guess they didn’t need a website that much after all. And Peachi told me the correct spelling of his name and also said he’s now at City Mall on a permanent basis. You go Peachi!