07 November 2005

5 Things (Part 1) - Good Food vs Good Service

Got shot with another meme from Nadnut to do 5 Things. Funnily how I suspect this is a rehash of the AKK's and Little Dowager's* "Se7en meme" or Vandice's "Three Random Facts" meme but since it's from Nadnut, cannot don't do right?

Before I start, here's a message to the next meme starter. Can try something else? Something more original? Thank you.

Like I mentioned earlier in one of my audio blogs. Good food is nothing without good company. Well, I would like to add a bit more here and that includes the important factor of good service.

Assuming that good company is a given, if a restaurant offers so-so food but their service is excellent, I will return. Good service not only demands courteous treatment from the staff but also a good knowledge of their products and delivery. Attentiveness is a plus and the ability to anticipate ahead of the customer would be that gold medal. In service, we have the Soaring Eagles and the Sitting Ducks.

Here's the Sitting Duck. You asked for a glass of water and you get a glass of water. Period.

Now the Soaring Eagle would have noticed that you needed the glass of water to take your medication and therefore takes the initiative to ask if you would prefer to have a glass of warm water instead.

Another fine example of a Soaring Eagle would be how the waiter would switch your pair of chopsticks to the left side when he noticed that you are a south-paw.

Flipping to the other side of the coin where we have excellent food that sends your taste-buds to heaven with every morsel but crappy or worse, snooty service. These are the restaurants that I would definitely cross off my list and take my business elsewhere.

Point to note that this applies to all food places. From the most atas fancy smancy restaurants to the most humble roadside hawker stall. The yardstick of service may vary slightly up and down the scale in accordance to the respective price points. The underlying principle, however, applies to all.

I have stayed in the Ghim Moh area for over 20 years already and some would know that there is that one famous Char Kway Teow stall in there. Truth to be told, I never bothered to queue for it after a friend told me his unpleasant experience with the rude wife of the hawker.

The first proverbial slap in the face was that the wife said to my friend JY that he shouldn't bother to order if he can't afford to wait 45 minutes for a plate of their Char Kway Teow. That was even before JY had the chance to do so! As it turned out, JY being the nice doormat of a person, timidly agreed to wait for it.

The next slap was when the $3 plate of Char Kway Teow arrived and JY paid her with a $50 note. The rude woman immediately went on to unleash a torrent of verbal abuse in front of everybody, accusing him of making her life difficult. The unfortunate JY, really did not have money of any smaller denomination at that point in time. I can understand the hassle of having to find change for the $3 plate but certainly the ruckus kicked up was uncalled for. I mean where is the appreciation of giving them the business? What? We have to be thankful instead? Something is definitely not right here!

Smart-assed waiters also don't not go down too well with me as in the case at Senso back in September. We asked what would be a good wine to go with dinner to which, the smart-alec curtly replied that all their wines go well with their dishes. That was so god-damned patronising!!

Wouldn't it be better if the waiter proceeded to recommend Wine A if we are having this or Wine B if we are having that? Throw in a short introduction of each wine and its merits and we would all have been happier diners.

Think about it. The end result would have been the same as all the wines on their list would have had a chance of being recommended as good. However, the poor delivery of the presentation, if you can call that at all, marred what would have been a enjoyable dining experience.

The trouble with this is that the 10% service charge is already precluded in the bill and therefore a) the waiter has no motivation to do better and b) the waiter can get away with bad service and still get the same amount. I say this should be abolished and let the customers decided how much to tip with respect to the level of service satisfaction. If the service is excellent, I don't think anybody would deny the good waiter a fat tip.

Then again, given the kiam gana mentality of the the typical Singaporean, the mandatory 10% has to be in place just so as to prevent us from getting away with acting blur as far as tipping is concerned.


- Voxeros

1. Zhe Bin left...
Monday, 7 November 2005 4:01 am
I think you will make a good boss leh. And I think that idiot who said all wines are good is, an idiot. Very patronising.

But in my opinion, those people who don't want to give tips, are exactly the same type of people who would not really care about the service/or would be rude customers. So I think the tipping part can forgo lah. Yi fen qian yi fen huo mah. Haha.

2. JayWalk left...
Monday, 7 November 2005 9:44 am :: 
Zhe Bin: I think this is slightly more complicated that we can imagine as this involves changing the entire consumer culture of Singapore. For so many years, we are used to not tipping extra and suddenly we have to do it?

For those who have traveled overseas, this would be an easy transition as we understood and have seen this concept work. What about the rest of the people?

3. akk left...
Monday, 7 November 2005 11:12 am
Hmmm...A usually goes for service while I go for food. Maybe becos I'm a girl, just pretend pretend damn blur blur with many many 'sorrys' and 'thank yous' and fawn the uncle and auntie a bit, they tend to lighten up after a while...but of cos, having me to act like that already quite jialat, but seriously, I haven't been to many places where i get snubbed. The worse being the XO Fishhead. That one I avoid almost at all cost unless some1 else orders the dish for me. Now I think service is better now in eating places, seldom meet any idiots...

4. mihuatang left...
Monday, 7 November 2005 12:59 pm
got this feeling yr 5 things may come in more than 5 parts.
last week surgery, this week golf tournament. you sibei can lah!

5. JayWalk left...
Monday, 7 November 2005 1:04 pm :: 
akk: I may be wrong here but ladies get treated better at the tables and so the chances of getting poor service is lower?

mihuatang: Dunno lah... squeeze 5 things into a single blog kinda cramped (no pun intended) my style leh.

I rather take it easy and do one at a time.

6. nadnut left...
Monday, 7 November 2005 5:14 pm ::
not my fault. chao barney arrowed me!!!!!!!!!!
get well soon wor. wanna go eat shaslik with you!

7. JayWalk left...
Monday, 7 November 2005 6:14 pm :: 
nadnut: Shaslik... hmm... well as long as you don't give the Ah Peks heart attack hor. :P

8. milktea left...
Monday, 7 November 2005 8:17 pm
the char kwai teow wife is everywhere. thing is, they're so confident with their product that they don't bother to take care of their patrons. their attitude is like, take it or leave it but we have the best so deal with it. grrrr.

9. JayWalk left...
Monday, 7 November 2005 8:39 pm :: 
milktea: Well for me, as long as the money is still in my hands, I will have the final say.
And I say, leave it.

10. nadnut left...
Monday, 7 November 2005 9:06 pm ::
i wont be able to give them heart attacks lah. hahahaa

11. JayWalk left...
Monday, 7 November 2005 10:11 pm ::
nadnut: I think I'll just bring along the defibrillator, just in case. :P

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