Jollibee not pro-Latin Zamboanga PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 22 February 2016 13:45

Table Talk

BY Mike S Apostol

There is nothing wrong if you speak Tagalog or Pilipino as your standard of communication in your business establishment but your management should at least show sympathy to and love for the local dialect where you are doing business. For example, here in “mi ciudad de Zamboanga” where Chabacano dialect, a pidgin Spanish, is spoken by majority of the people for centuries, Jollibee, a giant chain of fast food in the country, whose retail outlets are spread throughout the city, but ironically, their employees from waitresses to their managers speak Tagalog. Jollibee’s management must be flexible in their communication standards to avoid misunderstanding and mistakes in taking the orders of customers who do not speak Tagalog. Worse, we gathered information that many of their managerial employees also do not speak the local Chabacano dialect and from worse to worst, they came from other provinces in the country.

* * * *

One incident the other night at the newly opened branch of Jollibee in busy San Jose Gusu, a certain customer from Suterville subdivision, who is a native of the city since birth, complained of wrong serving of his take out order, which he returned and got his money back. The customer was tired and hungry and he just arrived from Zamboanga del Norte and decided to buy a fast food dinner instead of cooking at home, since he is alone and his wife, a nurse is working abroad. As soon as he arrived in Jollibee from his house he ordered for “Chicken  Joy” from a waitress speaking in Chabacano but got a Tagalog answer. “Sir, chicken legs at wings na lang”. Since he is allergic to chicken legs, he ordered for chicken wings. “Sir, in twenty minutes ang order”, “sige ya”, the customer said. Twenty minutes have passed, he went back to the cashier and inquired on his order and went back to seat. Finally, after almost half an hour his order of chicken wings was served and when he opened the box to his aghast and consternation, it was not his order of chicken wings but chicken legs. Angrily, he went to the cashier and demanded to see the manager, who got lost and nowhere to be seen.

* * * *

After a few minutes, the branch manager showed up to the angry customer and his first word is “sorry sir, hinde ako marunong mag-chabacano”. The customer said “ano ka cebuano”? The manager said yes, then let us talk in Cebuano. The customer explained to the manager, your waitress should have told me earlier that there is no stock of chicken wings so I could just go home because I am allergic to chicken legs. After many minutes of conversation, it was getting late, but all went well between the customer and management. So he went home with a heavy heart.

* * * *

There are many similar complaints against Jollibee in the city and not only in San Jose Gusu. Perhaps, if those waitresses working with Jollibee who are not Tagalogs but Visayan from the outlying provinces and Chabacanos from our city barangays are allowed by Jollibee management to speak the Chabacano dialect while on duty, incidents of misunderstanding could have been avoided and Jollibee could have rendered a better service to the city by respecting the dialect of the “only Latin city in Asia”. Also why not localize even their managerial levels?  Zamboanga City’s local talents can be trained to be managers and many are qualified and college graduates. There is no need to import managers from other provinces, the city has a pool of young talents.

* * * *

Scoop: One Jolllibee outlet in the city (not San Jose Gusu) has been a subject of complaint for lousy service and arrogant waitresses. Sometimes they are out of stocks in many of their products listed in their neon lighted menus. This should be checked by their franchise owners. Customers are sometimes disgusted. Agree or disagree.