Customer service is a requirement if you work in the hospitality industry. Except for food, people go out for the atmosphere at a particular restaurant or terrace. In Suriname, however, often you will get the feeling that you are there for the pleasure of the staff if you eat rather than vice versa. Upon arrival, you often wait long before an order is taken and the delivery may take some time. When you get a smile from the staff should you feel lucky.

When entering a restaurant the first impression is important. A costumer than chooses if he goes there for something to eat. The atmosphere ultimately determines if a customer comes back.

The staff does not have to know the menu by heart, but it would be nice if they can recommend a number of dishes and can explain why they recommend it. It is possible that some dishes require some extra time to prepare and it is therefore very useful as it is indicated in advance. Informing the client of developments in the kitchen is quite in place.

For the holidays, I was invited to dinner in the restaurant of Wyndham Garden Paramaribo. The background music was slightly too loud, but the place looked spotless. After being prompted to mute the music a bit, location was perfect. The next step was making the choices for three courses. It was quite strange to order one by one, but I assumed that every restaurant has its own policy about this. But we soon came to know that it just did not work. After the starter, the main course stranded. The staff, who at first said nothing, was to inquire not say exactly when the main course would finally arrive. And, after a half hour waiting we decided to leave anyway without even catching a glimpse the main course. Others have been waiting two hours long for the main dish in that restaurant. We ultimately went to the restaurant Chi Min, waiting for a long time makes you hungry. The food in Chi Min arrived on the tables within ten minutes, despite the chaos around holidays. The evening was saved.

It is therefore important that staff in contact with the client, after an order is made. There is always something wrong in the kitchen, but when the customer is informed in good time he can always be understanding of the situation. Irritation comes when the customer has to guess if something is wrong. Communication is not an option, but a must. Continue contact with the customer even after the course is served. Always question that the client if there is a need to drink.

~published in Victuals Magazine: First Edition; written by Kevin Headley~

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