Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Hi all,

I'm back with E-journal 03
this month with more important things that I have learnt

[Tact for Face]
Our club is such that we allow our members to charge their meals into their card to be paid at the end of the month. However, very often we found members who's cards are rejected upon payment. When we call up the Membership Department, we were told that the member have not been paying his/her charges. Shame! We do get that handful every week.
However upon presenting the bill, we do not tell the member "I'm sorry sir, your card has been suspended due to overdue payments. You need to pay non-member prices." in front of his friends or business associates. We choose not to embarrass the staff.
The amazing thing is the guest, in order to save his face, will always say things like "Your card system always have problem. Please ask them to make me a better card." or find fault with us to get out of embarrassment such as giving feedback on bad service or food quality. In mandarin, we call this - 声东击西 (to create a distraction; or displacement act)
Learning point: Wait staff are not the lowest of the lowest jobs, but in Singapore's F&B industry we are. We are nothing but clowns who puts on a smile to unreasonable demands and complaints, for the organisation's interest.

[Bad Idea from Bad Management]
As our restaurant is losing its market in the F&B industry due to the change in management. Our earlier management was employed by SICC for 3 times the pay he is getting from Lagoona. Hence now, Mr. S takes over the throne and while our incompetent HR Department is screwing up on employment. Mr. S tries to solve the problem by implementing the [Tuesday $1.99] promotion, to attract new customers and to regain loyal customers. A selection of 12 meals were served in 200g portions to let the guests have a taste of our food, to attract them back. This promotion is opened to public. Hence on Tuesdays, our restaurant is filled with office workers, thrifty aunties and "kiasu" Singaporeans.
My opinion on this promotion - shallow and improper
Why is that so? Allow me to explain. As good as the chef is, when 20 portion of different food floods the kitchen, food quality is compromised. When 40 tables are to be attended to at the same time, service is compromised. Outcome is unsatisfied guests and discontented staff. This is a ultimate failure. Let me give you a prophecy that there will be lesser guests coming though its $1.99, handfuls of negative food reviews for Lakes Cafe and more Medical Certificates for staff on Tuesdays. We shall see.
My solution to the problem is simple:
1. A'la Minute style - set up counters and let the guest watch the chefs perform their 12 signature dishes and queue up for their food. Queue lines has proven to increase the desire and value for the food.
2. Limited Ordering - all guests are to be registered, including members of the public. Each guest are only entitled to one dish per dining pax. This is dish tasting, not ordering three $1.99 dish to fill up the stomach.
3. Limited Timing - the promotion should have ended long long time ago. I'm sure the restaurant is not making money selling a dish that has 2 prawns for $1.99.
It is an absolute failure and disaster that damages both the organisation's current guests and staff welfare. Like I mentioned earlier - Mr. S has proven to be no more than an excellent waiter.
Leaning Point: Bad management helps the company to lose money. When a promotion or plan fails, withdraw as soon as possible to avoid further losses; Not dwelling deeper and when things are beyond hope, blame it on your subordinates and shame them to leave.

[Outsmarting the System]
Again, this issue has got to do with our [Tuesday $1.99] promotion. We have a policy that we do not do take-away and delivery to other outlets. There were smart customers who outsmarted the system - By ordering a lot, leave the food untouched and gets the wait staff to pack them up claiming that they ordered too much to finish.
Bravo! Just as I predicted. (Somehow I always seem to be able to see things a step ahead of the management. Yes, I am just a polytechnic student. I do not understand why it just keep happening.)
Learning point: There is always smarter people out there. In mandarin - 一山还比一山高,人外有人,天外有天 (A mountain is higher than the other) If the management is not the higher mountain, it should not complain that the customer is cheating, instead have the generosity to reward its guest for the valuable lesson and education process.

I belive I have written long enough.
I shall not go into food poisoning and hygiene, I will be writing till tomorrow morning and ole-bb will be flooded with 40GB of my essay. And its not halloween yet, so I do not see the point in scaring anyone.
Happy Memorial Day, fellas! =)



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