Pilpel is one of my favourite places for lunch. Falafel and houmous may not sound like the most exciting food option in the area and in terms of quality it’s good – but so are other places. The difference is that Pilpel also offers an exceptional customer experience.
What makes the experience so good? They have a simple menu – you can basically have falafel in pitta or falafel in a tub. They come with various salads that are all visible – the default is to have all salads. This makes the choice easy and means customers aren’t stood mulling over the menu feeling pressured as they hold up a queue.
They have 5 staff lined up behind the counter serving one queue each – this means they are able to serve 5 people simultaneously. Psychologically, standing in 1 of 5 small queues feels like you’ll be served quicker than standing in a single long queue, even if in reality there’s no difference.
If you do have to queue, a member of staff appears with a tray of falafels and dip and ensures everyone waiting gets one – and they seem happy to be giving them away. This is something I haven’t seen anywhere else.
Once you’ve been served, you move to the end of the counter to pay – they only have 1 person taking money – accepting money is a much quicker process than serving the food so there is never a queue to pay.
Overall this makes for a consistent, efficient and thoughtful service that means that even when you see the queues coming out the door, you’re happy to wait.
Pilpel can be found on Brushfield Street near Spitalfields Market.