Beer and pizza always go together.
But not at the Matalino Street, Quezon City branch of Shakey’s Pizza.
That branch always runs out of beer.
It can serve the most mouth-watering pizzas, the tastiest pieces of chicken, and the crunchiest mojos this side of Quezon City but when you ask for a mug of cold draft beer, the branch comes up empty. When this happens—and it happens often enough for people like myself to actually write a blog about it—you know it’s a national emergency.
Instead of offering an explanation for the beer shortage, the staff—all of whom are resourceful and courteous—always suggest an alternative: a can of San Miguel Light beer that’s warmer than toasted bread at a price so atrocious it’s enough to drive you A) nuts; B) crazy; and C) away to the nearest carinderia with a karaoke machine that plays Air Supply songs by default.
About a month ago, I paid a visit to my favorite Shakey’s Pizza branch because I had a craving for cold draft beer and thin crust Italian sausage pizza after a supposedly hard day at work.
But I heard the bad news even before I dismounted from my bike.
“Wala pong beer, sir,” the security guard told me.
Almost involuntarily, I took my phone out and texted my friends about the venue change. I also apologized to the guard.
“Sorry but I can’t stay,” I said. “My friends can’t just eat—we need to drink too, on occasion.”
Good thing the guard understood the whole situation because up until that time, I didn’t.
Why was the Shakey’s branch on Matalino Street always running out of beer?
Has the world turned upside down? Has hell frozen over? Have I turned over a new leaf and become vegetarian?
I didn’t get it.
But someone who was introduced to me did.
That person told me that it was allegedly a management problem.
The company that got the exclusive contract to distribute beer in the area that covered Shakey’s Matalino reportedly didn’t have enough delivery vehicles.
As it turned out, the company—which got the distribution contract because the owner remains an intimate female friend of a charismatic politician—told the staff to make do with what was available.
Since the company scrimped on every kind of expense, it took time to repair and/or upgrade delivery vehicles. As a result, the lack of working delivery trucks forced the staff to choose which establishments to prioritize. In short, while there was enough beer—draft and otherwise—to go around, the vehicles to transport them were in short supply.
If you were a preferred client, the company would deliver supplies as scheduled—usually in the afternoon—to give the beers enough time to chill in the freezer.
But not if you were small fry.
Since you were placed last on the delivery list—if you made it to the list for that day at all—your supplies would arrive in the evening, depriving your beers the precious hours they could have spent in the fridge.
That’s not all.
These delayed deliveries led to a double whammy.
Besides incurring lost sales, they could also result in lost customers.
After all, who wants to come back to a place that either runs out of beer or serves them warm? No one.
Except for me.
A day or two after Shakey’s beer shortage got me down, I sent them an email.
“Why has the branch run out of beer?” I asked.
Shakey’s customer service department replied promptly and, after a few exchanges, my concerns were resolved.
I didn’t know what Shakey’s management did.
What I do know is that whenever I come visit, I get to enjoy a mug of cold draft beer with my pizza.
Thank you, Emer Ilag, Natalie Recuenco, and Airra Jean Colocado of Shakey’s for your prompt email replies. I owe you one.