Judging by what we hear about everyone’s latest dining experiences, it seems that eating out (or ordering in) in Egypt has turned into a constant series of disasters.
The list of problems customers encounter is endless, from ridiculously unjustified minimum charges and terrible service to dwindling portions and equally dwindling quality.
As a result, people have turned to social media platforms to let out their anger by posting incidents of low quality food, portions that are only adequate for a toddler and mishaps that violate every section in any health code.
Here are a few examples that we’ve come across on Facebook:
A bun that’s clearly past its expiry date
A portion of pasta so small it can literally be wrapped around a fork
Hello, little insect!
Uncooked, sketchy-looking piece of meat
A freaking bone!
A fly. Yum!
An iron pin, nothing less!
And finally, some burnt halloumi for breakfast
Sure, the country has been going through economic hardships, but we wonder if this really justifies the continuing drop of standards in Egyptian eateries.
We can’t have a proper meal anywhere without paying a minimum of 150 LE (whether it is imposed by the restaurant or not), and a shisha and a drink will easily set us back 100 LE nowadays.
Not to mention that we have to pay a 12% service charge, even if the service was horrible. On top of that, we are expected to leave a generous tip because, let’s face it, we’ll be complete jackasses if we don’t because the owners refuse to pay their team but a meager sum of money.
Regarding the service, which was taking a more professional turn in the last couple of years in Egypt, it somehow went off track and turned into the waiter/manager-is-always-right, with a sometimes rude and bordering on arrogant attitude.
Why are restaurants taking their customers for granted? When did the integrity of the place and the quality of what it serves stop mattering? Why do they think it is normal for them to ask for a lot of money (an amount that only keeps increasing) for food and service that are way below average? All of these questions lead to an even bigger one: Are we to blame as well?
Maybe if we returned that stone-cold plate of food or talked to the manager about the meal not being cooked properly, they would do something about it. Maybe if we stopped frequenting places that impose ridiculous minimum charges, the owners would change or remove that policy. Maybe if we stand up for our basic rights as consumers and quit being reluctant to cause scenes, something will change.
This definitely may not be the country’s greatest problem right now, but what’s happening is surely not a good indication of what’s yet to come.
And of course, we are in no way generalizing to all of Egypt’s restaurants, as there are many great ones that still choose integrity above all.
WE SAID THIS: Don’t miss The Best Authentic Eats of Cairo in 2014.