Image and Customer Satisfaction

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Select a restaurant where you have eaten recently.  Analyze the atmosphere and physical environment of this service establishment.  What image does the environment convey?  Were you satisfied with the experience?  Did it meet your expectations?  Should the owner change anything to make the environment more appealing to customers?

I recently ate at Alquimia Bistro Club at Gallery Plaza in Condado. The restaurant is a joint venture between the entrepreneur Tony Hernandez and singer Gilberto Santa Rosa. It is conveniently located on the ground floor of the building and you have the option of entering the restaurant through the main entrance or through the bar if you don’t want to enter the dining room. The dining room consists of an upper and lower level. There is a wine “cellar” which can be dined in and a room for private activities. Aside from the main dining room there is a small theater with a stage for performances. We sat in the upper level of the main dining room.

The restaurant aims to provide a relaxed and comfortable yet sophisticated atmosphere. The lighting is relatively low and the music is soft and inviting. The tables are immaculately set. If all worked, had it not been for previous engagements we would have stayed well into the afternoon. The ambience was one that invited you to relax and get acquainted with friends.

If satisfaction was based solely on the atmosphere then Alquimia would have been a hit, but in the end it isn’t. The food did not live up to expectations. You are led to believe that you will be taken on a journey of culinary alchemy but you are not. What you end up with are plates made up of ingredients that do not work well together. The satisfied members of the group were those that opted for the “criollo” dishes.

One of my suggestions for Alquimia would be to tone down on the dishes, maybe just stick with the typical food and elaborate a bit not go off the deep end. Sometimes less is more! As for the environment the owners...
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