I don’t like doing rant pieces but I feel that this needs to be said. Customer service is important in the food service industry. If you want to keep your customers and build a bigger customer base, treating your customers well is cardinal. Its as simple as that. Maya Angelou once said “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”, this is especially true of the service industry.
I find that in Hong Kong good service is not always easy to come by, it sometimes feels as though restaurant and bar employees are doing you a favour by doing their jobs. Point and case our experience last night…
It was a friend’s 30th birthday party, a big event and we had decided to do a themed dinner and free-flow drinks after. Dinner went superbly well. The restaurant in question, Waygu Lounge, provided excellent service. They even did split billing for a very large group. The food was good quality, food arrived promptly and the waiting staff were attentive and friendly.
Drinks happened at a bar just down the road in the L place building, Central (The bar/restaurant in question shall remained unnamed). Upon arrival we were informed that the drinks package could only be provided to us ( a group of 20) if we made one lump sum payment of about HK$6000. This would not be a problem had we been made aware of this once we made the booking. Someone might even have charged it on a credit card if the hostess had just bothered to be slightly friendly. However she had a look of complete disdain on her face I assume because we’re all fairly young and did not wave platinum credit cards in her face. After standing in the lobby awkwardly for almost 20 minutes they begrudgingly agreed to let each couple pay separately, much to the dismay of the staff members who kept rolling their eyes and making rude comments. But what bothered me most of all was the following. My husband does not drink alcohol, if you know him you’ll know that he doesn’t need to. He’s a party all by himself. We waited patiently until everyone paid to speak to the hostess. Very politely we explained to her that there is no point for him to pay HK$300 for free-flow drinks and that if they let him in he would just order drinks a la carte. Queue eyeroll and shrug. After much negotiation they agreed to let him in but only after a stern warning… I’m paraphrasing ” *Furrowed brow* Sir, we are going to watch you. If we see you drinking anything we will stop serving your party“. OK I guess, but a little trust to a group that just spent HK$6000 at your establishment might be nice. How bad could the “being watched” really be. Turns out it’s pretty degrading. For the rest of the night we were followed and watched and stalked. I felt like an antelope of the Serengeti. Turn around and there’s a staff member hiding behind a column (metaphorically). Completely embarrassing and humiliating to say the least.
Now my point is this. We spent a lot of money at this bar and might have spent even more however the hostess/manager made the whole group and my husband in particular feel extremely unwelcome. Having worked in restaurants and bars myself I know what it’s like to deal with big groups but a little graciousness goes a long way. I wouldn’t call myself an influencer (just yet) but when my friends are organising a party, a night out or even a dinner they ask me my advice and in this case study I would definitely recommend Waygu Lounge but I would strongly advise against the second bar. Treating your customers well might not pay off every time but it is worth doing your job with grace and friendliness on the 1 in 1000 chance that someone walks in who could make or break your business. Looks are deceiving, I’m just saying.