How Do They Tell?

I used to give training to waiters/waitresses and the managers of the Golden Peony Restaurant and Oscars (an all-day dining outlet) of the Conrad Centennial Singapore.

The first thing I encouraged the participants was to regard their workplace as if it were their home.

That way, like welcoming someone to your home, as soon as they walked into the restaurant, we say “Welcome to Golden Peony; Welcome to Oscars”.  And with a smile please.

If that same staff was responsible for showing the guests to their table, when they were seated down, the staff would go on to offer “Here is the menu. And the wine list. Would you like to start with tea or a drink or shall I come back in a while to take your orders madam/sir?”.

That, however, is not always the kind of service I experience.

Three weeks ago, I visited Basilico, an all-day dining restaurant at The Regent Singapore (co-incidentally, both hotels are owned by the same family).

The Basilico buffet is mostly an Italian spread, and one of the best in Singapore. So too the service I may add. Except for a particular negligence. And not for the first time as I am a semi regular there.

After being presented with the menu and explained how it works – you can choose to have a main course or not – the receptionist who saw us to the table walked away. I waited a bit longer in case she was going to look for the wine list. That not being the case, I asked her back for the wine list.

This kind of negligence is actually very common in Singapore.

When I was giving training, I always told participants to treat every customer the same. And not guess who they think might or might not order wine.

“How would you tell?” I challenged them.

By the way they dress, walk, talk or maybe they have written on their foreheads “I do not drink wine” I would joke. Everyone laughed and realised how silly that would be.

My point would be made because that last joke is to say there really is no way we can tell by looking at a person whether they like or dislike wine.

Actually, it’s not even our job to make this kind of guesses.

Why bother when it is easier to just give the customer both the menu and the wine list at the same time.

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