Hospitality: A skill?
When my mother was out of the town these initial winter days, cooking was one thing I always loved to ditch to spend more time in movies and sleeping. With lazy afternoons swaying away and chilled winter breezes entering through my window, I suddenly felt like going out for dinner.
Without thinking much about anything else, I called my friend Shoptorshi and asked her if she would like to take that night's dinner with me. She said that she will be free in an hour or so from work and asked me to pick me up from her office.
After I met her, we both were very excited as it was the first week of November and our salaries had just been transferred to our accounts. "We are rich today," she said.
"Then we should surely go to someplace expensive and waste our money," I added to her thought, mocking the whole money dilemma.
With a couple of thousand bucks in our wallet, we went to one of the newly inaugurated buffet restaurants in Dhanmondi. Sadly, we had not made any reservation and they were full. However, the manager at the reception was very warm and apologised for a couple of times. It felt like he was also feeling about having to let us go.
We just went off to another restaurant close by with a bit of irritation. As soon as we entered, we saw how the whole restaurant was almost full as well. Shoptorshi asked one of the waiters to assist us in finding a table close to the window as it was the eleventh floor and she likes to watch the view of a city from the top.
The response of the waiter totally left me speechless. He said, "Can't you see we are almost full!" And after saying this she just rushed back into the kitchen. I was very upset with his behaviour. I had visited many foreign restaurants and many well known local restaurants as well. However, this is one thing that I have noticed while dining in many places.
While we have a new specialisation in the technical industry known by the name of 'Tourism and Hospitality' where students are taught the skills of hospitality and hotel management along with all other services related to this sector, it is very sad to watch such behaviour from waiters and other employees at a restaurant.
On the dinner table, Shoptorshi shared another incident which added to my irritation regarding this matter. She said how one of her colleagues had faced a similar incident. While her colleague Diya was shopping at a well known super shop, she had forgotten to take up some juice containers. With the trolley waiting at the cash counter queue, she rushed to the juice shelf to grab the containers.
When she returned, the cashier lady, who was standing to collect the bills said, "Heaven's know where these villagers come from. They have no manner to shop at such stores. They keep leaving their trolleys here and keep running from shelf to shelf, grabbing one thing at a time."
After hearing this Diya was very upset and thus asked the cashier if she was new to the place. The cashier said no she has been working here for more than two years now. While this conversation was going on, the manager of the store came in and politely asked if there was a problem.
Diya informed him about the behaviour of the cashier and said how she was not expecting this sort of behaviour from the staff. The manager said sorry on her behalf and also informed how the staffs here are not trained. They just come up here and start working. Only a day's briefings are given and while recruiting only the presentable ones are called upon.
So, if no training is given to these service providers, how are they supposed to serve the customers? It should always be kept in mind that stick and stones may break your bones, but only words can hurt your soul.
As this is an industry like any other and is providing service, a nice tone along with a warm smile can lead to better profit as well as customer satisfaction. Just think, will you not like it if your waiter is nice to you while you arrive?
The writer is studying at Department of English, Notre Dame University Bangladesh