Hospitality Schmotality Not! Hospitality 101: How Not To Earn Your Tips


I left the manpower outsourcing industry close to 3 years back. Thats what happened when you have a major life shifting event. A real bummer really but life must move on.

One of the core businesses we did (and we did extremely well) was total outsourcing to the hospitality, service and leisure indutries. 60% of the revenue came from the hospitality services so it spoke a lot of where we did extremely well, and right too.

The service crew were spiffy clean, well trained, well behaved, drug-free, medically certified, bilingual and went through all the necessary shots. And most of all, they had passion and the willingness to work and learn.

And so, clients had no qualms in paying my crew premium fees. And that does not include my fees.

Anyways, why am I ranting about the level of service in eateries today? For one, I have low tolerance for shitty service in an upmarket establishments. This happens a lot nowadays, at least in my observations. You pay a good RM12 for a cup of soup, RM45 for a plate of shrimp aglio olio and wash it down with an RM18 fruit juice. All these minus the Government tax. So, what do you get in exchange for this?

  1. You need to constantly remind the server to refil your glass of water
  2. I could see finger smudges on the cutleries
  3. The server need to be educated on personal hygene. Body odour does not work well when you have quite a close proximity to customers when serving food especially those customers whose olfactories like mine will be so offended to these kind of sensory overload.
  4. Try bantering with your customers? Choiced sentences such as “Please understand that we are busy today” will NOT earn you brownie points with customers. Forget the tips if you do this. This was exactly what I get today at this locally conceptualized Italian restaurant at The Curve.
  5. I needed to walk to the sauce station and make myself at home with the ketchup, shakers and parmesan cheese as my three attempts to call the server failed. Eye contact! Eye contact! Where the heck was your eye contact!!
  6. Restaurant lingo should be next to breathing and that includes understanding the local nuances of asking for the bill by waving a hand and gesturing as of writing something on a piece of paper. Unfortunately this chap who had braved enough to be my second server didnt understand this. Not even when I said, “May I have my bill?”. He blinked at me and so I repeated in another way, “May I have my check? Please?”

              Blinked again. This time he mouthed something inaudible.

              I stood up, pointed to another server who was busy doing nothing by another station and gave her the whole buffet of signals and hoped she should be smarter than this guy who stood next to me. Hands making the sign and lips mouthing “BILL”.

She got the message. I almost wanted to send a smoke signal.

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2 Replies to “Hospitality Schmotality Not! Hospitality 101: How Not To Earn Your Tips”

  1. Last Saturday night I had dinner at a restaurant called Indigo (Yard) in Edinburgh. It was the last weekend of the Festival, everywhere was crowded, the restaurant was packed to capacity.
    THe food was excellent and the service brilliant.
    These days this is so unusual that I want to tell everyone! If you ever go to Edinburgh, try Indigo (Yard).
    I don’t live in Edinburgh, and rarely go there so I have no vested interest.

  2. Yes these good things can happen if all the restaurant’s “machineries” are in place. Meaning the food ordering system have been fine tuned so that orders could get to kitchen on time, culinary staff are well trained, floor crew are well trained and empowered to make certain decisions, there are enough manpower to go around. It takes a lot to make a meal appear infront of a customer and make him part with his money happily.

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