Sunday, 9 March 2014

Banquet service - how a little goes a long way

In one of the weekends in March, I had the good fortune of attending 2 weddings consecutively - Sat night at Orchard hotel & Sun night at Fairmont hotel. Off my head I had formed the mental impression that Fairmont would be the one scoring higher in terms of service levels & food quality. Boy oh boy, I was in for such a surprise.

At Orchard hotel, the staff who served our table was a young student working part-time. I was very impressed at his attention to detail, it was apparent in how he set out the bowls & carefully placing down the porcelain spoons without creating the irritating clink-clank noise from the spoon knocking onto the bowl. Right down to the changing of fresh plates, the staff moved swiftly. The service levels were impeccable to say the least. To add onto the excellent experience, the seafood was fresh & portions were so generous!

On Sun night at Fairmont, each guest had 4 glasses of beverage - a cup of Chinese tea, a glass of iced water, a glass of wine & lastly, a glass of soft drink. Thank you for pampering me with so many choices but is this really necessary? With a table of 10 guests, you can just imagine how terribly cramped the table was. The staff faced tremendous difficulty when placing down & removing the dishes, not forgetting how heavy the humongous plates & bowls were.

Each time a staff places down a dish we literally have to hold our breaths, hoping that the banquet staff does not smash any fine china or spill any drinks. The table adjacent to us, the banquet staff has knocked down a drink & it was most unfortunate that the drink ended up soiling the dress of a guest. At my table, the staff while serving the dish had accidentally dipped his sleeve into my friend's cup of tea which he offered to replace afterwards. The overall impression of this dinner at Fairmont was how inexperienced & clumsy the banquet staff were.

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