I am Caucasian and grew up in Ohio (US). Whenever I visit restaurants that sell “Chinese” food, I’m not only served quicky, but also served with a smile (as I speak both Chinese and Taiwanese).
However, whenever I visit restaurants that seem to have a “Western” theme, I have a lot of difficulty being served. I don’t want to cry “racial discrimination” if that is not the case. Let me outline a few instances and I’d like to hear if any other “western-looking” people have had similar experiences.
McDonald’s (Tainan City, Da Xue (university) Road), 1997, 4:00pm, few people there:
I ordered a few fish sandwiches “without the sauce”. They told me I’d need to wait two minutes. After watching MANY Taiwanese people come, order get their stuff, and leave (20 minutes later) I saw them put fish sandwiches up on the shelf. I still waited and told the manager “those are mine” (in Chinese), but he said “NO, those have sauce” so I had to wait even longer. Why make sandwiches with sauce when you’ve got an order to make a few with NO SAUCE???
McDonald’s (Tainan City, Da Xue (university) Road), 1999, noon, the place was packed):
A Western-looking friend of mine and I went into different queues at McDonald’s. I ordered FOUR regular cheeseburgers and he ordered the BBQ pork sandwich. I was told the whole “two minute” scheme and waited over 25 minutes. Meanwhile, SEVEN groups of Taiwanese passed me and got their stuff–all while I was standing there at the register. My blood pressure rose and finally I very loudly yelled “GEEN A LAH!!! WAH BUT DOW YAO A!!!” (Taiwanese for "Hurry up!!! I’m Hungry!!!) The room of possibly 50 people became silent and the girls behind the counter became very nervous. I got my food in less than 10 seconds. It wasn’t that they had forgotten. My food was “hidden” somewhere behind the counter and I got it instantly. I stood while eating waiting for my friend. He had waited for close to an hour. They had already told him to go sit down several times and when I had finished eating, he went back to the counter. She told him “go sit down and we’ll bring it to you right away, OK?” He said “not OK”, she said something and then he said the THREE MAGIC WORDS in Taiwanese that means “(something) your mother”. He got his food in 15 seconds. The food was “hidden” behind the counter–already made.
LAST MONDAY–3:45pm, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Tainan, Hsi-Men Road (across from the old Tuntex Department Store)–almost nobody there.
I have been to KFC many times in Taiwan because I love their biscuits and iced Pepsi. This time I thought I’d try their chicken. I ordered four pieces of “original” and one biscuit–to go (or “takeway” if you prefer). They told me the biscuit would take two minutes. I was given a cup of iced tea and told to sit down. As I sat, at least FOUR mothers with children came in, ordered, got their stuff, and then left. Meanwhile I not only had drank the tea, but also chewed up all of the ice-cubes. Twenty minutes later, my blood pressure rose and I even waited longer. Finally, I went to the counter and yelled very loudly “GEEN A LAH!! WAH EE GING DANG JOK GOO A!!” (Taiwanese for “Hurry up, I’ve already waited a long time!”) Like magic, my food that had been hidden behind the counter appeared and I was served in less than 15 seconds.
TWO DAYS AGO (Saturday, 6/21) , “Tasty” steak, 7:30pm.
My friend and I made reservations for 7:20, but parking was trouble and they wrote “7:39” on the bill. This place has the same owner as “Wang Ping Steak”–apparently Mr. Wang is some kind of rich tycoon or whatever. It’s a seven course meal. During the time we were there, I saw a lot of couples and groups come and leave. We practically had to “bai tuo” them to give us the next course. We finally left at 9:35pm–roughly TWO FULL HOURS from the time we got there.
Does anyone here study “restaurant management”??? Is there some teaching that “western-looking” people want to spend more time to eat? I would really like to know. I’ve heard that steak places like to seat foreigners in the front window as if to say “LOOK, everyone! Foreigners eat here”, but I’m not sure if this is true or not.
One other thing: That “Tasty steak” place—the food is REAL GOOD!! REALLY GOOD!!!
Let me know what you think about this.