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  • andychalk


by Andrew Chalk

Fine China, a high-priced Chinese restaurant at The Statler in downtown Dallas, opened in July 2018. I dined there on July 14th of that year and wrote that:

  • The food was priced much higher than the same food at authentic Chinese dim sum and Peking Duck restaurants in DFW. It was too early to review, but would have to be spectacular given the quality of those authentic restaurants;

  • The concept was in the wrong place at the wrong time;

  • I questioned its survival prospects. Privately, I gave Fine China between six months to a year before it was replaced with a more prosaic concept.

The restaurant met with a wall of obsequious lovey-dovey reviews from other critics in town. I don’t recall anyone questioning its viability. I was astonished what an easy run they gave to an expensive establishment with such obvious flaws.

Going into its eleventh month, it may be about to make a liar of me. However, the heavily promoted opening chef left after five months, obviously with a cover story, but that, and the fact that the replacement is not even mentioned on the restaurant’s website, hardly augurs well.

I had flushed memories of Fine China from my mind until I checked my email today. They sent me a survey about my experience! And only ten months after my visit. It says that they would “love to hear about my experience”.

Obviously, there has been an IT error. Sending surveys to diners ten months after their visit makes no sense, unless you want to make a laughing stock of yourself. Also, I would not even respond to this (or any) survey, even if it arrived the day after my meal. The reason that we are all seeing more surveys of our opinions on our experiences at restaurants, fast food, airline flights, condom use, etc. is not that suppliers care more, it is because companies like two billion-dollar valued ‘Survey Monkey’ have lowered the cost of creating surveys, so everyone is sending them as marketing flotsam. Don’t be so naive as to believe that the results change anything, or that anyone even reads them. The exception is when they pay you for your opinion.



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