Yes, ordering food by phone in Dubai can get really wrong .. order arriving late, arriving wrong or missing items, the guy doesn't have change..etc.
However, over the years, I have learned a thing or two about ordering food that can make things much smoother... and I'll be sharing some of those tips with you:
1. Don't be a smart ass
For the 5 minutes you will need to make the phone order, drop your Shakespearian English and take off your grammar cop hat. You are talking to someone who didn't have a father who wasted a fortune -big enough to feed an entire African village for 10 years-, to send his spoiled brat to an ivory league business school in Europe or the US.
Speak in simple English, talk clearly, not loudly, they are not deaf.
Put it this way, if English is YOUR first language, then the phone order guy's English is FAR better than your [Arabic/Hindi/Urdu/Tagalog] well ever be.
A friend who works as a radio presenter once told me that they are always asked to SMILE when they are on AIR. People can, believe it or not, hear your smile. And looking at the number of assholes the phone orders guys have to deal with everyday, trust me, your call will be like a breath of fresh air.
3. Get personal
Start the conversation with a "How are you, today?" Ask for the phone guy's name and use it in your sentences. Tell the phone guy something about your day or how hungry you are and can't wait to eat the food you are about to order from his joint. You'd be surprised with the response you'll get.
One trick i do is that I note down the name of the phone guy of every restaurant on its respective menu. And yes, I have a "menus folder". Mind you, that only works with small restaurants that do not use maga call centres like KFC, Hardeez and the rest of the 'Americana' cartel.
4. Take a chill pill
Never call if or when you are angry or agitated. Negative vibes travel thru the phone lines and the order phone guy may feel that you are not happy with the whole ordering experience; which may or may not be true. Nevertheless, a happy phone order agent will prioritize your order and make sure you get your correct delivery and before anyone else.
It is also recommended not to call if you are bored, horny or
5. Decide before you call
If you don't have a "menus folder" already, start on making one right now. Write down your order, especially if it was a large one or requires multiple modifications. There is nothing more annoying than putting the phone guy on hold while your wife cant make up her mind on whether she wants regular or curly fries.
And not having a menu is not a good excuse anymore, most proper restaurants have websites.
6. Ask for advice, even if you don't need it
Working the phones and asking people whether they prefer their chicken "original" or "spicy" can be soul crushing over time. Be that person who makes the order phone folks feel that their knowledge is relevant and valuable.
Ask what would they recommend as a meal size for the number of people you are ordering for, or ask for their own favorite item on the menu or anything they'd recommend. Acknowledge and thank them for their advice.
This will make the phone order agent feel good about his/her job, hence you're order will get the attention it deserves.
7. The last Tip
Phone guy is happy, he tells delivery boy to take extra care of your order and make it quick. Now, its is your turn to take it home with a generous tip.
Those biker boys literally risk their lives to get your double cheese burger in time. And if you think i am exaggerating, trying riding a delivery bike on Sh. Zayed road with all these Landcruiser Lunatics.
In my case, the tip is the standard 10 percent of the total bill. I usually throw in a 5-er if its extra hot or humid out there.
Also, drivers typically cover the same geographies and DO REMEMBER houses that tip well. In most cases, houses that tip well, get the first stops when drivers have multiple runs to do.
There you have it, 7 different ways of simply 'being nice'.
I know you guys might know more .. leave them in your comments and help spread the love.