Thursday, September 23, 2010
Crust are the DEVIL!
Some of you may be fans of the new, hot franchise on the block - Crust Pizza.
Don't be fooled. They are the devil.
On Koornang Road, Carnegie (for instance) there are a plethora of pizza shops. There are: Herb Pizza, who do a very god job with some interesting pizzas (although they dropped a notch when they delivered a pizza practically cold); Gabriella Pizza, who have also added some nice gourmet selections and smells like a good old-fashioned pizza house; and Rimini Pizza, who provide good, huge, tasty, cheap pizzas (even if they can be a bit cheesy).
So why in the hell do we need an extra pizza shop wedged in between Gabriella and Herb, who are already absurdly close to one another as it is?
Crust have spent thousands refurbishing a shopfront there making it all look nice and spiffy. No doubt with the mega-bucks of a powerful franchise behind it. It is all neat design and clean lines and modern graphic design. As well as that there are external speakers piping music out onto Koornang Road at all hours, just so as you can't forget they're there.
Who decided to put this Crust franchise in this particular shop? It seems madness. Either this franchise is destined to fail (which I'll look at shortly), or it is going to drive one (or both) of the existing establishments out of business.
As for the franchise failing. I have witnessed many times before a shiny new franchise trying to muscle out an established local business. And, interestingly enough, the example I'll use is Mussels. Once upon a time there was a Fish and Chip shop on Carlisle Street Balaclava. Lets, for argument's sake, call this shop Megas Seafoods. Let's also, to further illustrate a point, suggest that Megas was in dire need of a good old fashioned kick up the arse. The shop appeared to have been passed down from the original Greek proprietor into the hands of the sons, with Yiayia providing token support. The sons appeared to have grown tired and cynical over time (perhaps they thought of a brighter, more prosperous future for themselves in - I don't know - real estate or something) and standards had slipped considerably. The service was lacklustre, the cleanliness standards had slipped a little, and it just seemed like they were lazy with a captive clientele.
Enter Mussels. The swanky new squids on the block. They were fresh, clean, modern, friendly - everything you'd hope for in a fish 'n' chip shop. But it was a franchise. They had these Fish Bites, see? They were deliciously golden fried morsels of chunky fish fillets in fresh tasty oil aaaarrrggggghhhhh. So these fish bite were insanely good value. They were something like six for a couple of bucks and they always seemed to throw a couple of extra in for goodwill. Point is, it wasn't long before Megas Seafoods's doors seemed to close. Well, I thought, serves them right for leaving the door ajar for a competitor to come in and knock them off. But then something entirely predicable happened. Suddenly (almost as soon as Mussel had seen off Megas in the battle for Carlisle Street fried food supremacy) the fish bites got a little smaller. They suddenly stopped throwing in the extra fish bite or two. The very friendly man who had served me weeks earlier was now nowhere to be seen, replaced by a couple of good-for-nothing, couldn't-care-less teenagers. The side serving of chips was now mean and cold and pre-cooked. Basically, Mussels had dropped the ball the minute they destroyed Megas.
However, Mussels hadn't considered one very important point. Those Greek sons weren't stupid. They were just lazy. So what did they do? They sold their fish 'n' chip shop to a Chinese family who came in and kicked arse. They cleaned the place up, implemented a service regime of military precision, and suddenly there was a phoenix risen from the (oily) ashes. It wasn't much more than a matter of months following the re-launch of the now Asian inspired Megas Seafoods that Mussels disappeared from their cosy perch, never to be seen of again.
I've had a Crust Pizza before. It was okay. It was nothing special, and they make a big song and dance about their 'Gourmet Options' that quite frankly are all about ripping another couple of bucks out of your pocket. But the bottom line is it's only a pizza. And once the special deals (there must be special deals - the place has been full all opening week with Indian Students) have evaporated we'll be left with another food franchise staffed by people with no vested interest in the shop's bottom line. You will get tired and sloppy service, and the pizzas will inevitably start to suck arse. The other downside to this is that one or both of Gabriella or Crust maybe forced to disappear unless they each take steps to lift their game. Not that they are necessarily doing much wrong.
Anyone remember the queues stretching for miles outside of Krispy Kremes? Arf! What a laugh. Wasn't long before everyone saw through the hype and realised that, hey, these are just fucking donuts. And crappy, expensive ones at that.
Crust, I admire your corporate ethic, but you are what's wrong with the world. FOAD.