Thursday, March 16, 2017

Tropical Hut | Tuna Salad Perspectives!

03.16.2017 – When you look for an affordable meal as much we Flipinos have three things that comes to mind. They are affordability, quality, and something we can benefit from it.

In the case of quick dinner from last night it was unexpected that sometimes we put expectations on something we do not have any control.

We try to find affordable place to eat and at the same time hoping that what we’re getting will be satisfying our eyes as well as our stomach.

But that’s not the case and this is where expectations versus reality played when dining at Tropical Hut.

Tropical Hut was one of the early fast food restaurants established in 1962 even older than Jollibee, the current global face of Philippine fast food industry that’s beating McDonald’s in their own turf namely in North America. But Jollibee is another success story we’re talking about Tropical Hut an ageing fast food restaurant aching to be dinosaur that probably be extinct by now.

But they continue to be relevant in dictating what a Filipino taste looks like. I often order their hamburgers because they’re not like Burger King, Jollibee or McDonald’s it has this distinct Filipino personality that makes it unique and I’m not even talking about the taste. Its just that for more than 50 years Tropical Hut is still standing and fighting for their own market, which is the below average blue collar Filipino.

They had many firsts when they where starting, but they seem to lose the market to Jollibee were taking over and Tropical Hut being a shadow of its former self. I have dined at Tropical Hut several times and most my years working previously in BPO industry it was either breakfast before heading home or dinner before going to work. These days it’s by chance I always get a burger I rarely order any rice meals now. But just like the height of Tropical Hut those where the glory days of my youth.

So fast forward from last night I was hungry and I couldn’t decide where to have dinner. I lined up at KFC but my stay in Australia and having chicken most the time either we ordered take away or dining in has gotten my taste buds wanting something else even though the taste are different.

I decided why not Tropical Hut since there’s no such restaurant similar to that during my stay in the land down under. The branch where I had dinner takes me back to my BPO industry days and put some nostalgic about going to this restaurant. I placed an order for a Tuna Salad, the small one going for PhP 70.00 pesos since I want to budget my funds and I see in the product photo I wanted something green since most of the menu in the Philippines doesn’t carry them with the exception of Wendy’s.

Tropical Hut kept the old school vibe of an American inspired diner everything from the tables to the colors looks antiquated like a time lost place. Probably for the average Filipino they just go there and dine for the local menu that popular fast food restaurants don’t carry.

After waiting for the Tuna Salad it arrived and in the picture on my mind was the one in their product menu. The one that arrived on my table was extremely not what I had hoped or expected, but got me caught off guard as my thoughts screamed – WHAT THE HECK IS THIS?! Clearly as much as I tried to dissect the situation in my mind I immediately accepted what I learned from staying in a foreign country. The Philippines may have affordable food, but quality is not one of their strong suits. The Tuna Salad in the product menu is 180 degrees different from the actual product. This is the reason why Tropical Hut is a forgotten franchise. They serve and earn as they go without the international quality or standard of an actual fast food restaurant.

Well for the Philippines they just brush this off a way not to improve themselves. Seventy pesos for a Tuna Salad that’s not even what you expected. I’d probably have gone to Paotsin instead and I get fewer twenty pesos extra to spend for bottled water. But Paotsin is off the radar and I was near my area already to travel farther.

I’ll explicitly not going to suggest ordering a small Tuna Salad meal at Tropical Hut. They’d rather have just one Tuna Salad with bigger serving still at PhP 95.00 pesos, and make sure they don’t give everyone the expectation they present in their product photo. Because it’s like lying to your customers, and you’re only after their money not giving the value that made you sort of an iconic restaurant.

Clearly Tropical Hut need to re-organize itself from the ground up what they should be not trying to be something they’re not. It’s obvious I would feel disappointed but it’s also a choice, and then again you get blamed for it instead of giving them a proper feedback as this is the reason why Jollibee is still trying to get in the Australian market. That country has a very high standard not only in food, but how you should maintain your business. This is the reason the Philippines do not have that kind of agency that is stringent quality as a standard and most of you already know that.

This is the reason you get the answer through your food just like Tropical Hut serves. The low quality service and unsatisfying culture that breeds how the Philippines’ standard won’t progress to even level with other countries is truly that depressing.

The verdict is Tropical Hut is not entirely that bad they just need to improve with some of their food and focus on what identity they really need to be. Jollibee has left them in the dust a long time ago let’s not hope they don’t disappear like Cindy’s because one customer wrote a story how their Tuna Salad was not the one in their product menu right?

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