Serves You Right
Robb Report Singapore|November 2020
Good service can make a difference when you’re dining out, but what are you looking for and what do you need to make the experience as good as it should be?
Andrew Leci

“They also serve who only stand and wait.” – John Milton

WHY DO BRANDS fail? According to quite a few customer service impact reports that I’ve had the misfortune to plough through recently, a major reason appears to be poor quality and rude customer service. If this is true for a product, as I believe it is, I’ve come to the conclusion that the situation is even worse in the ultra-competitive world of restaurants and hospitality.

Dining out is such a pleasure. At least it should be. Liberated from the travails of having to cook, plate and even do the washing up afterwards – although I’m sure that most of us have dishwashers (some of them even have names) – we can sit back, relax and get fed. It’s one of the experiences that I look forward to the most at the end of days, and I approach it with verve, vigour and invariably high expectations.

This is just one of the reasons why, when things go wrong, the senses of deflation and disappointment are heightened. As a diner paying good money to have someone else cook for you, you have the right to expect certain standards, and it’s often frustrating when the food is good, and the overall experience is not.

This all comes down to service, and while customers will differ in terms of what they’re looking for – some like to be left alone, mostly, while others seem to enjoy hoverers at their beck and call – there are a few common denominators that almost everyone will agree create the ultimate dining experience.

Ambience can be important for some punters, but not for me. When dining, it is all about the food and service, but even if the former is right up there in the pantheon of culinary excellence, if the latter falls short of the mark, the overall experience will be diminished. This is why service in a restaurant is so important, and why it is also so easy to get wrong.

“I believe good service to be attentive and engaging,” says Kirk Westaway, head honcho at the one Michelin-starred Jaan. “People need to feel welcome and happy to be dining at an establishment, but meeting expectations is also important.”

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