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    It can be said that the waiter and waitress are the direct connections between diners and a dining place such as a restaurant, bar, coffee shop, etc. Looking at the manner of just a waiter or waitress, the diners also can rate the dining place somewhat. In addition to the taste of the dishes and drinks or prices, the staff’s attitude at a dining place is one of the most important factors affecting the customer experience as well as their decision to return.

    Promoted from the waiter position, Doan Khac Vu, Restaurant Supervisor at Mövenpick Resort Waverly Phu Quoc, confided that this job is still not appreciated by society. “I am lucky to have the support from my family. However, many people, especially the older generations like our parents and the elderly, often think that working as a waiting staff is nothing to be proud of.” So, whether this profession is to be proud of or not, let’s listen to the insiders!

    Anyone who receives a warm welcome and dedicated services will feel happy and comfortable. Khac Vu commented: “When entering a restaurant, although the food does not meet the customers’ expectations, they will still be satisfied if the staff is attentive. And vice versa, even a restaurant that is famous for many delicious dishes but the service attitude of the staff is bad, customers only visit once and don’t want to come back.”

    Taking orders, serving dishes, cleaning and setting the dining area are indispensable, but they are not enough to help a waiting staff to grow in their career. Ho Thi Nhu Hong (commonly known as Hong Ho), former Assistant Manager of INK 360, now doing freelance business in the F&B segment, shared: “In order to do well and advance from a waitress, people need passion and love to take care of others. Next, they have to be very hard-working, industrious, and never stop learning. A big plus is the ability to read customers, understand what they need and even remember the tastes of regular customers.”

    If a person doesn’t like taking care of and serving people, they certainly can’t work in the hospitality industry, especially when having to directly interact with customers and listen to all of their requests as a waiter/waitress. Hong Ho said that she used to work as a waitress at a bar, a manager and a supervisor at some restaurants under big resorts such as Pullman Saigon, InterContinental Phu Quoc Long Beach Resort and Six Senses Ninh Van Bay. Those jobs have taught her a lot and at the same time required her to learn many things such as the type of wine, dishes, etc. Khac Vu shares the same opinion with Hong Ho, that the ability to observe and predict the wishes of guests is also one of the outstanding qualities of a good waiting staff.

    Talking about his chance to become a waiter, Khac Vu, a student of Literature, said this profession chose him. In 2015, while looking for a job, Vu happened to know that Vinpearl was hiring a waiter. Seeing that this job was quite hot at that time, he applied. The young man had worked at Vinpearl Phu Quoc’s buffet restaurant for about 4 years, stepping from the position of a waiter to a service leader and then to a restaurant supervisor, then the pandemic broke out. Last December, Vu joined Mövenpick Resort Waverly Phu Quoc as a Restaurant Supervisor, continuing to engage in the F&B industry.

    Hong Ho, who used to be a pharmacy student, said with a smile that she was “recruited” by a friend to work at their bar. With her friendliness, openness, and love to take care of others, Hong quickly adapted and found joy in waitressing and then joined the management team after more than a year. Not only that, but the girl born in 1993 also received many other opportunities as well as great relationships thanks to her profession.

    Hong Ho used to be loved by some customers and they invited her to work for them. However, she didn’t want to get a job through a relationship, so she applied for the job by herself, then went through several rounds of interviews, and found out that senior managers in that business were her guests.

    “And yet, I also get to eat and drink for free when trying new dishes in restaurants & bars and learn to savor them more and more. I can use the knowledge I learned for my family such as how to mix a drink or make a delicious and proper dish,” said Hong happily. “I still maintain good relationships with many customers, and at the same time inspire and guide the waiters and waitresses who used to be my juniors. Most of them are now on the management team step by step.”

    Used to work as a waitress at a bar and often stayed up late, Hong Ho’s health was affected. “I know my family is worried, but because I like it, I still try. One day, when I came home late at night, I saw my father holding a stick waiting in the alley. I asked and found out that my father was sitting there to protect me if someone was going to do anything bad to me, not waiting to scold me,” she said.

    Used to work as a waitress at a bar and often stayed up late, Hong Ho’s health was affected. “I know my family is worried, but because I like it, I still try. One day, when I came home late at night, I saw my father holding a stick waiting in the alley. I asked and found out that my father was sitting there to protect me if someone was going to do anything bad to me, not waiting to scold me,” she said. Working in the hospitality industry and usually being away from home, Hong doesn’t have much time to spend with her family. After the pandemic situation stabilized, Hong decided to move closer to her family.

    Working in the hospitality industry and usually being away from home, Hong doesn’t have much time to spend with her family. After the pandemic situation stabilized, Hong decided to move closer to her family.

    Khac Vu shared that thanks to his job as a waiter, he trained to be patient and calm. “I often joke with my male friends, if you get married, marry someone who works in the service industry. In addition, I also improve my communication skills and feel happy when creating joy for customers.” Vu has gained some new interesting relationships but also lost his relationships with some old friends because of the difference in the timetable.

    Another loss according to Khac Vu is society’s respect for the waiter profession. “An interviewer once said a sentence I still remember that to become a competent person, you have to learn about everything, from basic things like how to talk, eat or treat people. We work in the F&B industry, one of the most important industries for people, so there is nothing to be ashamed of.”

    Besides the pleasure of directly serving and taking care of customers, the waiting staff also receive many other joys. Hong Ho once got an offer from her guest to work for a mechanical engineering company. Meanwhile, Khac Vu delighted a foreign guest and received a hand-drawn thank you card from her son. An interesting coincidence is that both Hong and Vu were photographed and praised by guests on the famous travel review site TripAdvisor. Not only customers, Hong said that she is also very loved by her colleagues. “When we were working in Phu Quoc, our team was as close as a family.”

    Both are optimistic and happy types of people, Hong and Vu often don’t remember much about sad stories at work. Maybe there were just sometimes serving fastidious customers. Hong said: “There was a guest who was very upset because he had to sign the confirmation after paying by card and entered the pin code because they don’t do that in their country. Or there was a customer who was determined not to exchange Vietnamese currency according to the rules of his bar, but only paid in dollars. Everything then was resolved properly for both sides.”

    Khac Vu also had a similar story when customers brought food and drinks from outside and didn’t want to be charged extra. Due to language differences, the two sides did not understand each other, resulting in a dispute. In the end, the restaurant still eased up and apologized to the customer. Vu confided: “Working in this industry, there are times when we have to apologize even though we’re not at fault.”

    However, that is only a small part, Khac Vu affirmed: “People often say ‘laughter is the best medicine’. Bringing joy and smiles to customers is the greatest value for me in this profession so that customers can enjoy not only their food but also the spirit.”

    In the near future, Khac Vu will try to improve himself, and learn more to step into higher management positions. Hong Ho, who is currently running an online bakery, will continue to engage with the F&B industry in a different way. The young girl expected to open her own F&B brand, offering delicious cakes for her guests.

    It can’t be denied that waiting staff, whether respected by society or not, play an important role in the development of a dining place, and make a great impact on the customer experience. It’s not exaggerated to say that the waiting staff is the bridge between the diners and the restaurant, with the ability to make customers return again many times and give positive reviews about the place. If a waiting staff receives comments like “you spent too much time and effort on studying but ended up working as a waiting staff”, you should think in a different angle and be proud that you are working for one of the most important industries, that is F&B.

     

    #Not-So-Ordinary Jobs is a series unfolding indelible moments, the gain-loss and the joy-sadness of the people in tourism.

    Waiting staff: The link between diners and dining places

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