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Why some people go beyond the call of duty.
A bright star shone on my still-budding career as a restaurateur tonight, as high command mailed out a notice stating that one of our guests (in my Holland Village outlet) were extremely impressed with our service during their baby daughter's birthday celebration yesterday evening.

I then realized I was working yesterday as your typical extremely cruel dark elven administrator nailing into peoples' heads the proper way to run a Western food restaurant. But everyone sees that towards customers I'm always exceptionally polite and efficient. That I want everyone to follow. Not loaf around the cashier and bar area pretending not to see to my customers while giving my house such a blatantly unprofessional image.

That's about all. I didn't do any 'special' service for the guests who ended up writing the email, just what I myself would expect if I were to step into a Western restaurant of above 3 stars.

I believe this is the most efficient path to long term success - to be so used to an Olympian standard of excellence that you can do it instinctively and influence others to follow said standard, that you really don't exert yourself at all in doing so.

Indeed for the past year I have been taking a lot of unnecessary shit from my peers because they say I provide too much "extra" service, and am very "slow" in doing so. Well to them I just cast a blind eye (classifying them as navigation hazards) because I have like a huge stack of personal guest feedback. Oh, tell me about how "service is unnecessary in casual dining" all you want, and I'll show you a dozen guest compliments in an hour. And if I was as slow as a sloth in my early days I can move faster than everyone these days providing fine-dining-like service to guests in a chaotic coffeeshop-like atmosphere. Those months spent training in real-life swordplay really pays off! Consider too I work in heavy industrial boots - bought those cos I was fed up of slipping on oil and water during peak hour chaos. Now everyone else is a snail... in footwear I find almost weightless Pfft

It really makes me see red to find myself putting all this effort into my work for a measly $600 student intern's allowance, and full timers expect me to run the whole place for them. Until I realized tonight that some things are more valuable than money, like how I find myself in total control of my ground-level staff, who find it in their hearts to learn to work like myself because I'm that much more successful than your average serving crew in Singapore. Foreign talent better at service? I'm local and I can serve local customers by anticipating way in advance their needs, with the flair and class associated with a French restaurant of high class!

Future prospects? I can resign once my school contract is over (company paying for my diploma in hospitality management now), or I can stay on and tolerate crappy pay as a captain ($1050), way below industry standard. The thing is that if I stay on I enjoy a working environment as easy as A-B-C, with staff fully under my influence and a high command more than willing to stay out of my way because I do a better job than everyone else my level.

And to "increase" my pay I can get the school to get me into the advanced diploma programme and the company to pay everything for that, so netting me another $4000 qualification which will in turn net me, in 6 months (half the time of a normal enrollment!), a gauranteed manager's post along with the option of a degree - again free of charge.

Then you'll see me in RL as a very, very dominant person who has the necessary industrial experience to command (10x worse than I am today), because I gone through hell and back and have accomplished high-level company objectives with ZERO support from peers, and just a handful of untrained staff with no qualifications, and just me to hammer them until they too, act like service professionals and masters of their "household".

An email compliment, as Tristan had put in the shoutbox, requires a guest to love the restaurant's service so much that he or she remembers it all the way home, take a shower, watch some TV, turn on the PC and then remember to write a compliment to the company.

For the past year, I operating alone can never attain such compliments. You need a team of professionals, excellence in service operations, showmanship, and social grace to even get a remote chance in hell of scoring such an email that is distributed on a wide scale.

Well, I guess I'm on the right track after all. Moral of the story - if you spare the rod, your 'children' will never learn. Better to show your true animalistic instinct in training them then unleashing the students into actual warfare, whereupon they will fallback instinctively to their stringent training and perform beyond all expectations, with credit to their name.

All restaurant managers I've met are friendly towards their own staff to the point of forming intimate relationships. When their 'friends' thus make mistakes, they get off the hook very easily and are extremely poor at meeting organizational objectives. They also ignore any attempts at work improvement and generally treat customers like shit while making themselves look like idiots in public.

This is the standard of my company (casual dining). One Hell Week under me and my outlet has the potential to compete with the best of them here in Singapore. And I never have to micromanage my staff. They do what is best without needing me to tell them. Or Else.
Edited by TelQuessir on 02-08-2007 17:20
Tel' if you can afford to suffer your peers and the measly wages, I would highly recommend that you used the opportunity to have someone else pay for professional schooling. At the end of that period you have at least two very attractive options.

1. Stay with the Company who has invested in you and likely is already noting your professional efficiencies. You will have started at the bottom floor and using your tenacity you will likely move up quickly in a profession that (at least over here) is not know for people who have your ethic.

2. Stay the obligatory amount of time for having received the schooling, all the while looking for a better business to move too. Jumping up the rungs of the business ladder is a very time honored tradition.

Either way, you appear to have positive options.
Understood, it seems that I'm stuck on the path upwards and staying on with this Company is the best option because it leaves an immediate credit line open. Relatively low as the full time pay is, this organization is always exactly on time when it comes to paying people.

There is also a very good strategic management team here, one of which, my sector manager, I managed to sit down with today for a heart to heart talk, stating that I'm being misled and asked to sign on with the Company with salary completely inadequate for my domestic needs.

Well he just about told me that the information is blatantly wrong, and that I made the right decision to bypass the chain of command to ascertain the truths behind the matter. High command, by virtue of my stellar performance during the last year as both trainee crew and captain, may probably let me have something in the range of $1400, and the best captains in the Company usually rake in about $1700 per month, better than assistant managers.

This gentleman also understands completely what kind of nonsense I'm going through, that no one else in my outlet takes their business seriously enough... or used to. Those who were complacent and generally got in the way of what I was doing (from negative peer pressure up to active sabotage) were very politely told to leave for "more suitable" places of work, which is why I managed to survive in the first place.

In this very professional sharing of views I managed to put forth the proposal that I be allowed to run the service floor of our Company's latest restaurant concept at a major shopping mall, which I term "fine casual dining" of a higher standard than what I'm in at the moment.

The sector manager assured me that if I kept to maintaining my performance levels and continue to shrug off negative influences from my colleagues, within 3 years as a regular rising steadily through the ranks of management, everyone in the Company will be, in one way or another, be listening to me. Not an unrealistic vision given what I've managed to accomplish in a year with no resources but a fantasy RP character's personality...

And the best thing about signing on now is that I can eliminate time wastage of 2-3 months looking for a new job, with a credit line from the Company still open, I can do that long-awaited racing-spec upgrade to my small yet extremely fast motorcycle.

Besides, my restaurant will be closing down for 6 weeks' major renovation and expansion and I will not be seeing my crew and tactical leadership as a regular captain. That is -exactly- what I want, moving to a larger restaurant in order to be in charge of a bigger team. A fact that the sector manager read my mind about Pfft
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