Restaurant service in Singapore
If you’ve ever dined in a restaurant in another city or even had an exchange with service personnel outside of Singapore, you’ve probably noticed that we aren’t exactly doing well in that department. Instead of warm glowing smiles and benevolent service, you’re more likely to get scowls and very average run-of-the-mill service devoid of any soul.
Well I’ve dined and worked at enough restaurants to tell you that while it may be difficult to find great service here there are some things you can do to make your experience better!
1.Learn your waiter’s name
This tip is so basic and so effective, but hardly anyone ever does it! Addressing your waiter by name establishes a friendlier relationship right away, and makes it way easier to get their attention. In a sea of people waving their arms for attention and aunties yelling “excuse me!”, “Hey Kevin, could I get a glass of ice water please” makes all the difference.
2. Make a reservation
Even if you think the restaurant isn’t going to be full, you’re more likely to get that table by the river if you make a reservation, instead of the one directly in front of the live band. Play it safe, and make the reservation! Especially if you have a large party. There’s no better way to make restaurant staff hate you than to arrive unannounced with your secondary school reunion ten minutes before closing.
3. Ask questions
Ever so often, you’ll meet waiters who are actually passionate about their jobs and aim to deliver the best. They’re probably really proud of the restaurant and the people working there, and like any proud parent, they love it when you talk about their baby. Show some interest by asking more about the food, or the inspirations behind the restaurant because trust me when I say that these guys just wish someone would do it. You’ll learn something new, and they’ll definitely remember you on your next visit.
The video sums it up pretty nicely, don’t be Mr Pink. I know, I know, you already pay the service charge, but a tip is a reward, a gift, and like any gift it should come from the heart, not because the government mandates it. It’s a to thank them for giving you and your friends a good time, and it might just be what the service industry needs to strive for better standards. While the commonplace elsewhere is about 20% of the bill for a generous tip, I would have been happy with 10% back in my day.
5. Take it easy and forgive
Mistakes happen! And as the saying goes, “let it go!” any self-respecting restaurant will apologise for a genuine mistake and make amends by throwing in a free dessert, a discount on the bill and so on. If none of that happens and you genuinely feel offended speak to the manager. Good service staff thrive on service recovery, turning a disaster into a good memorable experience is something they strive for. Take it from someone who has spilt a cocktail on the Assistant Director of F&B for Marina Bay Sands.But that’s a story for another time!
6. Don’t leave the table in a mess
Trust me when I say we’re always appreciative of guests who keep their tables clean. There’s nothing worse than clearing a table that looks like a hurricane just swept through. We will remember you, and you will be marked for death.
7. Suck up to your waiter
Remember that time you wanted a raise, or you needed that extra mark for making the A grade in school? Or more importantly the things you said to make that happen? Turns out it works great if you like good service! While we’re certainly not looking for praise every time we refill your glass, a little “Thank you” here and there never hurt anyone. Extra points if you tell us how awesome we are at our job.
8. Don’t be afraid to send food back
If you think your chicken is overcooked, don’t be afraid to send it back. We’d much rather you do that than begrudgingly finishing it and then proceed to post a one star review on Hungrygowhere. It’s your money, you paid for it, and you deserve what you paid for. Just ask for it, if there’s something consistently wrong with the dish, chances are the restaurant will be grateful for you pointing it out so they can iron out some kinks.
9. Learn the right signals
The art of signalling a waiter in a busy restaurant can be a frustrating one, but here are some basic tips. Make sure someone is looking in your direction before signalling, don’t flail your arms until someone notices. If you want the cheque, signal by signing something in the air. Done with your food? push it away from you or leave your utensils on the plate at a four o’clock position.
10. Have fun
Going to a restaurant should be a fun experience, and having fun is infectious, even to your waiters. Your smile means they’re doing a good job, and you’ll be making their job more fun than it already is.
Restaurant service tips
Now that you’re packed with this insider info, go out there and wow your waiter! If you have any other tips and hacks, let us know down in the comments below!