Sep 26, 2011

McDonalds in Mauritius

As promised to nobody in particular, this is a post and a quick review about McDonalds in Mauritius. I recently blogged about KFC in Mauritius, mainly as a knee-jerk reaction to the launch of their horrible website. Make sure to check it out as it trumps anything published on the Internet about Kentucky Fried Chicken in Mauritius.

Since it would be unfair and downright inappropriate to focus entirely on KFC (since, you know, it sucks!), this is my opinion about McDonalds in Mauritius. I did publish a more general write-up about fast food in Mauritius a few months ago. You may also want to read it as it's been proven to have a positive effect on the sun (which we all need).

McDonalds took a very long time to come to Mauritius. This may be due to the fact that Mauritians are in general completely infatuated with KFC or McDonalds just did not give a damn about a small island in the Indian Ocean where many people do not eat beef. However, as fast food started becoming a staple of the famous Mauritian culture (currently for all the wrong reasons), it became obvious that we would one day see McDonalds competing with KFC.

It happened several years back when the first McDonalds Mauritian shop opened in Port Louis after much hype and anticipation. It is fair to say that this McDonalds shop pulled off a real coup with its extremely strategic location near the Caudan Waterfront passageway. It's hard to miss and is consequently almost always chock full of McDonalds lovers and potential KFC traitors. This Port Louis shop was recently joined by a Phoenix one, which is not so strategically located since Phoenix is pretty much a ghost town. In fact, I foresee every mall there closing within the next two to three years (check back here for updates).

Mr. T likes McDonalds
McDonalds wants you.


There are several noteworthy points about the McDonalds shops in Mauritius, especially if you are not based in Mauritius:
  • The food is actually good and is nothing like the McDonalds in Europe or the US.
  • The burgers are however smaller. I have no idea if McDonalds thinks that we have smaller appetites or if they are just tapping into the apathy of lepep admirab too.
  • McDonalds' menu is slightly more expensive than KFC.
  • Their milkshake is sweet as hell and is certainly not for people who need to watch their sugar levels (unfortunately an increasing proportion of the hungry Mauritian population). Mixing it with a lot of water does not seem to work either (nor does vodka). It is however pretty tasty.
In fact, if you have to choose between McDonalds and KFC in Mauritius, it is wiser to choose McDonalds. Both are pretty unhealthy, but McDonalds does not yet have a history of poisoning its customers and does not seem to have a hidden agenda at the moment. It is however less fulfilling than KFC due to the smaller size of the burgers, so you may wish to compensate with more fries (or booze).

My main gripe with McDonalds is that the customer service can be pretty poor at times. And by "at times", I obviously mean almost always. I don't know if their staff are trained to do so, but they always forget to include napkins, ketchup (which also tastes really weird) and chilli. Unless you take the time to thoroughly check your order before leaving the shop, it is almost certain that something will be missing.

I used to shrug it off and believe that these were honest mistakes but the consistency at which this happens has caused me to change my mind. I have also had instances of real screw ups in the food order with small chips being served instead of medium ones. Still, the McDonalds fast food in Mauritius is quite good and a good choice whenever you are hungry. More McDonalds shops in the island would also be welcome, especially in busy towns like Rose Hill and Quatre Bornes.

Sep 15, 2011

Mauritius Commercial Bank (MCB) Internet Banking website - an analysis

One of the first posts I created for this blog involved creating a list of the main banks in Mauritius. While the complete lack of comments may indicate that it was a waste of space, rest assured that it is actually one of the most-read posts on this blog (thanks to an incredible combination of insightful knowledge, good English, blogging skills, and a horrible layout). If you have not yet read it and shared it with your friends on Facebook or Twitter, I highly advise that you do so.

In keeping up with my efforts to make this website the best source of information for everything related to Mauritius, this blog post will be dedicated to an analysis of the Mauritius Commercial Bank Internet Banking website.

I have picked the Mauritius Commercial Bank (MCB) website for three main reasons:
  • It's the most popular bank in Mauritius.
  • It supposedly has the best Internet Banking section of all the banks in Mauritius. I do not advance this statement as a fact since I have personally never used any of the other Mauritian banks' Internet Banking services. I have however surveyed a lot of people who use other banks in addition to the Mauritius Commercial Bank.
  • I have nothing better to do.
There are many issues with the MCB's main website itself but I will not be covering those since it is distinctly user-unfriendly and there's not much to say about it anyway. It probably does a good job of providing information but is decidedly extremely ugly. As a side-note, its loan calculators never seem to work, so don't bother.

As far as its Internet Banking website goes, the MCB redesigned it in 2010. They essentially took a crap but functional website and made it a bit pretty but less functional. There are numerous issues with the new version, but I am however going to address only a few of the most glaring flaws. I have also tried to limit this post to include only those issues that people are bound to encounter regardless of the transaction they're trying to do on the Mauritius Commercial Bank website.

The login page

Considering everybody needs to first log in to the website, this is the most logical place to start. The first thing that you will notice is the big warning that both your User ID and Password are case-sensitive. This is funny considering that the MCB's User IDs are always numerical. It sounds like a minor issue, but I've actually had the bank's support staff telling me to ensure my ID is case-sensitive while nevertheless knowing that there are no alphabetical letters in it.

Mauritius Commercial Bank Internet Banking login page

Case-sensitive numbers: serious business.


One extremely frustrating thing about the log-in process though is that it seems to do some sort of encryption on the client-side as soon as you submit the form. Consequently, you suddenly see the number of characters you typed in the Password box change right before your log-in details are sent to the server.

I don't know who decided this is good idea, but it can be frustrating for users, particularly those who may think that something is wrong with their password. My guess is that many people are having log-in issues due to this.

The dashboard

The dashboard suffers from not displaying the relevant information as it loads to show an extremely useless Initiated Transfers screenshots (basically online transfers and MCB Refills) screen, which nobody even bothers to look at for more than 1 second. It would have made more sense to show the last transactions screen since this is what actually interests internet banking users, particularly at the end of the month where the number of log-ins probably goes off the roof. As it is, the MCB Internet Banking website breaks all usability rules, as it requires people to click at least a couple of times before being taken to their transactions.

This is at least somewhat better than when the new website was initially launched as these transfers used to be ordered in such a way that you would see your oldest transactions first. Thankfully, they did change this after some time.

Error Messages

Another huge issue with the MCB Internet Banking website is that its error messages (which will probably occur a lot!) are as unhelpful as Scooby-Doo. If you mess up your password while attempting to initiate a transfer, the only notification you will get is an "Error 400" (or some number; I'm sorry but I'm not very good at remembering random numbers that are not associated with any descriptive text and which do not mean anything to me) warning. Good luck trying to figure out what you did wrong because the MCB website specializes in cryptic error messages that would make even Bill Gates groan in his sleep.


This is how he sleeps.

Loading times

The Mauritius Commercial Bank's website also suffers from atrocious loading times. I cannot count the number of times I've had to close it and attempt to log in again because it was still loading after 5 minutes. The good news is that these loading time issues can pop up at any time, which makes using the website as fun as slamming your head into an oven (while it's on).

The problem was noticeably worse during the first five months after the website was launched (officially dubbed the most ill-fated website launch in Mauritius) but does occur less frequently now. However, the fact that I try to log in to the MCB Internet Banking website during off-peak hours may have something to do with it.

The MCB should definitely have a different team look into all these issues since they make the website extremely frustrating to use. Or just revert back to the old website, which at least was not so slow. Additionally, if you too are using MCB Internet Banking, don't forget to share it. The more people complain, the more likely we will (not) be heard. After all, this is Mauritius!

Sep 8, 2011

KFC Mauritius has launched its new website

A few months back, I blogged about fast food in Mauritius and did a small comparison between KFC and McDonalds in Mauritius. The fast food war was horrible and took many lives, but in the end, justice prevailed. The outline is that fast food in Mauritius is the complete opposite of the situation in other major countries such as European nations and the US. Basically, it means that KFC Mauritius is crap while McDonalds is excellent, and both are in almost the same price range.

KFC Mauritius

KFC Mauritius recently launched their website which is available at www.kfc.mu. Obviously, since this relates to both Mauritius and the Internet, it is downright impossible for this to go unmentioned on the world's greatest Mauritius-related blog (which is why you should bookmark it and share it with your friends).

This new website is great news for KFC-lovers (99.5% of the Mauritian population) around Mauritius as it has a lot of useful information, including menus, store locations, and a whole load of finger-lickin' crap. It also has a games section, which is a huge waste of space. I'm hoping McDonalds also launch a website for their Mauritius branches since their menu is more exhaustive and I know a lot of Mauritians know absolutely nothing them.

Overall, it's a neat website but it does suffer from a couple of serious flaws. The one thing I absolutely hate about the KFC Mauritius website is that its integration of Facebook comments into the website is quite poor. The website itself uses red (KFC official colors) while the Facebook background is white, which leads to a vicious clash of colors. They are also using the non-vanity Facebook Page URLs in their footer, which is a really poor decision as it needs to be redirected to the vanity URL once someone clicks on it.

Finally, the whole website is in French when Mauritians are more inclined to perform online searches in English. Ideally, the whole website should have been in English or it should have included both an English and a French versions. Funnily enough, the website, which was launched a couple of weeks ago, is barely visible in search engines even for brand name searches as shown in the screenshot below (although this situation is likely to change thanks to this post - you're welcome, KFC!).

KFC Mauritius in Google
Not so finger-lickin' good!


Hell, even this blog is faring better for many KFC Mauritius-related searches, which is why you should keep sharing it.

The problem with LinkedIn

I used to admire LinkedIn. It served a purpose, had a solid business model and meant recruiters could easily find me and contact me. LinkedI...