David vs Goliath: A Tale of Two Businesses During Pandemic

by | May 14, 2021 | Resources

Once, when a friend of mine had come to town, I decided to take her to one of the snazziest pubs in Bengaluru: Bier Library.

Its avant-garde furniture, chic interiors, and cushy setting make it an obvious choice for a good time. The fact that it has a roomy, open-air ambiance makes the place all the more alluring, given the Covid situation.

It’s one of the new venture-funded setups ideal for millennials. 

Although the venue is exquisite, it was a major let-down to see most of the staff not wearing their masks properly. 

I looked around, and there were other people roaming around without their masks on. The management (who weren’t wearing masks either) didn’t seem to care all that much. 

It made us extremely uncomfortable. Here we were, sitting in one of the hippest place in town, racking up a bill of Rs 2,000, and we were uneasy.

Not the experience you would expect.

So, we decided to bounce.

If a visit to one of the best places in town was such a nasty experience, where could we go?

We spent a few good minutes as we discussed where to go. We asked around a bit, searched for the best places in town to dine at and none of them felt quite right.

What if it again let us down, I remember thinking.

That’s when it struck me. There WAS a place that had never let me down.

It was quite an odd choice, but I knew it was reliable. But with the pandemic causing big businesses to choke, could the tiny place that I had in mind manage things better?

On a hunch, we decided to give the place a try: CTR (Central Tiffin Room), a tiny heritage restaurant located in Malleswaram, which was set up in the 1920s and is famous for its Masala Dosas.

I did have my reservations.

“It’s so tiny,” I remember thinking. “Will it be safe? Will there be enough distance between people? Will the staff be responsible?” and so on…

When we reached there, we were pleasantly surprised, despite the long queue at the entrance.

Everybody in the queue was wearing a mask, with safe distance among them. The usher at the gate wore a mask and made sure people in the queue stood at least 6 feet apart.

Once inside, I noticed the tiny tables had glass partitions installed to ensure social distancing. All the waiters wore their masks and despite its small size, CTR made us feel safe.

How much did we pay for this experience? 50 bucks!

That day’s experience got me thinking.

On the one hand, there’s this expensive, stylish new place where you have to spend a fortune but still feel unsafe and on the other hand you have this tiny, old restaurant that makes sure its customers are comfortable. The luxurious joint with all the resources in the world has such poor service, while an age-old restaurant has such a great pandemic response, is making more profits than the behemoth and making its customers feel super safe.

Where would you rather go?

No matter how dapper your product or service appears, at the end of the day, it’s customer satisfaction that counts. 

What do you think?

Abhishek Bagalkot

Abhishek Bagalkot

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