Being in the service industry means only one thing – you’re willing to serve customers and not just serve. You have to make them feel welcome and, most important of all, never argue with them. If you’re not anything like the bunny in the Energizer battery commercial or Tigger on a sugar overload, then the service industry is not the place for you. I suppose no one told the service crew of Bekasi – most of them – about that golden rule of the hospitality industry.
Indonesians have always been known for their genial disposition so it’s quite a shock to encounter service staff that is of the opposite demeanor and, to make matters worse, completely condescending. If Singaporeans are irked by the state of the service crew in establishments around their island, constantly complaining about the dismal performance of the staff, I wonder how they’d react if they go to Pizza Hut in Metropolitan Mall at Bekasi. Without a doubt, they’ll be apoplectic and a burst artery waiting to happen. I’m not Singaporean and I was almost livid with anger at the ineptitude of the service crew who seemed to think that they were dealing with a group of Neanderthals.
Don’t get me wrong – some of the outlets of Pizza Hut have cordial service staff blessed an iota of common sense, which doesn’t put a damper on the night’s pleasurable pizza-eating experience. But not in Metropolitan Mall outlet where the service crew turn logic on its head.
There are not visible partitions to demarcate the two areas of the restaurant – smoking and non-smoking – but the crew will certainly point it out to you.
“Smoking or non-smoking?” enquired the server.
“Non-smoking please” was the general consensus and amiable reply.
We were shown a table that was on the elevated area, which was cordoned off by a metal railing, but there was a wee problem.
“We’re near a smoker so we would like that table,” I told the server pointing to another table.
“This is the non-smoking area” was her stoic reply, forgetting a simple fact about smoke from a fag.
“Smoke doesn’t draw a line between smoking and non-smoking areas,” was my terse reply,
She wasn’t happy with our request and she didn’t hide that fact. She proceeded to fix the table we asked for. Her pointed lips could have resulted on a nasty bump on the head of anyone who crossed her path.
We called for the manager who looked like a tenderfoot recently come onboard. His explanation bordered on the point of absurdity, pointing out that Pizza Hut has two dining areas, smoking and non-smoking.
“Why is the area open? Why isn’t there an enclosure for the smoking area?” asked one of our companions.
She continued, not giving tenderfoot any chance to rebut: “If you say that you have a non-smoking area then there must be some enclosure because the smoke will circulate around the area, which is not healthy. You’re just lying if you say there’s a smoking area that’s open.”
“Maaf, Ibu” was tenderfoot manager’s whispery reply.