BURNOUT – A Tribute to the Food & Beverage Industry

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BURNOUT – physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress. (Google)

TDMers, i know that i’m suppose to be blogging about Oushin Japanese Steakhouse, but prior to that, on a more serious note, i’ve got some thoughts that i want to pen down on this blog entry and i sincerely wish that you can share it with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media platforms.

Last Friday, as i sat on the comfortable chairs with food on my table, many thoughts and memories came through my mind. I thought that it’ll be nice for me to share with you some of my thoughts and i hope that you’ll learn to appreciate and thank the people who are serving your breakfast, lunch or dinner in a restaurant or cafe.

Let me start off by saying…

Singapore’s Service Standards are like SHIT!

No, that’s actually not what i’m trying to bring across, but have you been one of the culprits who said such things before? Or perhaps you might have heard many of your friends and family judging our service standards in Singapore.

Before we jump into any conclusion, allow me to share my personal experience when i started as a junior employee with a restaurant group.

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A typical day working in a restaurant starts at 10am for me, the moment i step into the restaurant, i would have to start doing the daily administrative work, clearing the cellar, setting-up the restaurant and making sure that everything is ready for operations. At about 11am, we would normally start the day with a row call, which the chef would then explain the specials for the day or if there’s anything that is not available.

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11.30am, the restaurant opens for operations, as usual, we would be serving the hungry diners who are rushing in-between work or meeting to catch a quick bite, in fact, the lunch operations is always a challenge as many would require us to serve fast, be quick and hopefully, turnover the table for the next seating.

2.30pm, the last order for lunch, but that’s not it. Diners who are normally a little more free would prefer to stay a while longer to have their tea or desserts slowly, thus, we would be standing-by, waiting, waiting and waiting.

4pm, we finally cleared the restaurant, and that’s almost 6 hours since i started work. This is when i probably would have my 1st meal of the day.

5.30pm, all geared up, dressed in our uniforms, we are back to set-up the restaurant for the dinner service. 6pm, our second row call for the day, and the chef would now explain the items available for dinner as well as the specials for the evening.

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6.30pm, our doors are open again for dinner, this goes all the way till 10pm- 10.30pm, depending on the chef or maitre’d who determines the time for our last order. Once the last order is made for normally desserts, coffee or tea, diners would normally stay a little longer while they sip their tea and chat with their partners or friends. A typical day ends (weekdays) at 11pm or (weekends) 12am – 1am. As usual, we’re not done yet, after all our guest have left the restaurant, it’s time to clear all the plates and wipe the wine glasses so that there will not be water marks. Next up, something that most service staff hates, wiping cutleries… all in all, these takes about an hour or so, depending on the night’s service. Having said that, most of the time when we are back home, it’ll probably be past midnight, or if you might agree with me, the wee hours…

This is not all, with the clamping down on foreign workers and the lack of Singaporeans who are unwilling to go into the service industry, we are facing lesser and lesser manpower counts. This meant that:

  1. Service quality would be affected
  2. It’ll take longer hours to complete the same task
  3. Lesser people doing more job scope

Conclusion? BURNOUT!

We spend up to 14 hours a day working in a restaurant with minimal rest, more often then not, we spend most of our time at work than to be at home. That’s not all, because of the manpower shortage, many restaurant chains are forced to have their employees to be on a six-day work week.

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I challenge any one of you to try being in their shoes. Take a week and try your hands working in a restaurant, then figure out if it’s an easy job.

So, what i’m driving at is for you to try and appreciate these people who are serving you. Many of them like myself started-off with passion, our priority is always to just do our best and provide you with the best service, at no time are we there to make your experience bad. In fact, despite the lack of time to rest, we always try to put a smile on our faces to make our guest feel welcomed and comfortable.

Like yourself, the service staff are just working hard to make ends meet for their families. We are all mature enough and i trust my readers are as well, let’s not complain so much and learn to be more patient and kind with our words. The next time you visit a restaurant or cafe, learn to recognise the employees, fill up the feedback form, be generous with your words, say thank you, these means a lot to them:)

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Have a lovely Sunday:)

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5 responses to “BURNOUT – A Tribute to the Food & Beverage Industry

  1. yeah I couldn’t agree more. Sometimes I wonder if we make lousy customers 🙂 But good service really makes a difference. 🙂

    • Indeed. Good service makes a huge difference, but we often lack the generosity of sending a compliment letter rather then a complaint letter. Pity, do share this post and I hope that many like minded individuals like you would be generous with giving compliments to omthe service industry:)

      Most imptly, thanks for dropping by! Appreciate it:)

  2. I’ve only been here 4 days, but sofar I have to say the service here has been excellent (and we don’t eat in 5 star restaurants either). So kudos to you and your server brothers and sisters! We are generally very happy with what we get!

  3. Thx for stopping by. While in Singapore you drinking vine in Poland it’s all about vodka. When you will be visiting one day, do not forget to check our famous “Pijalnia wódki i piwa” , meaning – place where you can drink Polish vodka and beer.
    Cheers!
    http://styletravelling.wordpress.com/2013/05/25/cheap-vodka-only-in-poland/

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