Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Wait… where’s the service staff?

The staff crunch at eateries is so bad that restaurateurs have had to cut back their operating hours
By Rebecca Lynne Tan, The Straits Times, 10 Jul 2011

Do not be surprised the next time you go into your favourite restaurant and see its owner clearing tables.

Restaurateurs here are facing such severe service staff crunches that some are having to double as runners, delivering food to tables and helping to clear them.

Some have also had to limit operating hours or close off seating sections to cope with the manpower shortage.

When LifeStyle visited newly opened bistro-restaurant The Dempsey Brasserie in Dempsey Hill two weeks ago, the owners were seen pouring drinks behind the bar counter and clearing tables.

Opening hours have been cut too – it is open only for dinner on weeknights, but all day on weekends.

Says the restaurant’s co-owner Terence Tan, 40: ‘I can’t even begin to open for breakfast or lunch on weekdays – we just don’t have the capacity to, in spite of having advertised for staff.’

Over at two-week-old eatery Wild Oats at Punggol Park, its chef-owner Willin Low, 39, had to enlist the help of five friends last weekend to clear tables and serve food. The group, which included bankers and marketing managers, worked an average of five hours each night over Saturday, Sunday and Monday night.

Chef Low says: ‘We probably need about 15 service staff to run our Punggol Park outlet smoothly, but that weekend, we had only eight wait staff.’

He adds that he had to close a third of the 300-seater restaurant because of his staff shortage.

F&B players blame it on the tight labour market.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Fascinating Fact about India

Here's what I learnt this week from an 87 year old leader whom some begrudge his personal assistants.

Speaking at the Future China Global Forum, Mr Lee Kuan Yew's take on India's economic rise as compared to China:

"You look at the construction industry (in India and China) and you will know the difference between one that gets things done, and another that does not get things done, but talks about things....

It is partly because India is such a diverse country - it is not one nation, it is 32 different nations speaking 330 different dialects. They became one nation under the British, but it hasn't changed the nature of the country.

In China, it is 90 per cent Han Chinese all speaking the same language, with different accents, but reading the same script.

If you stand up in Delhi and speak in English, out of 1.2 billion people, maybe 200 million will understand you.

You can speak in Hindi, maybe 250 million will understand you.

You can speak in Tamil, 80 million people will understand you.

So, I think we are comparing oranges and apples. They are different, and the taste is different.


Too full of oneself

Delusional Singaporeans have a long way to go.....

Singaporeans 'could be more gracious'
by Carolyn Quek, TODAY, 5 Jul 2011

Singaporeans think themselves kinder and more gracious than their fellow citizens, according to the latest poll conducted by the Singapore Kindness Movement (SKM).

The findings, in the words of SKM general manager William Wan, indicate "an unhealthy level of self-centredness and self-absorption" among Singaporeans.

The SKM was set up in 1997 to make the nation a kinder place and the findings of its third State of Graciousness survey, released yesterday, revealed that more than 40 per cent of the 1,404 respondents thought they were gracious, but only 15 per cent felt the same of others.

Almost nine in 10 felt they had performed a kind deed in the past six months. In contrast, half felt they had been the beneficiary of another's kindness.

Describing the "big perception gap" as surprising, Dr Wan added that the poll also showed that Singaporeans are "not being aware of and not appreciating the efforts of others".

Another surprise for the movement: Foreigners had a better impression of the Republic as a gracious society than Singaporeans did.