Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Finally, a Great Waitress in the Philippines

I have been coming in and out of the Philippines for the last three to four years. Six months here. Two weeks there. A month here and there. And I've eaten at restaurants all over Makati and Manila. TGIFridays. Chilis. Outback. Itallianis. Most restaurants at Greenbelt Three. Some restaurants at Greenbelt Two. Some in Libis. Some in Malate. OK OK, everywhere in the greater Manila area. Oh and at Fort Ilocandia, which is considered as one of the better resorts in the Philippines.

And in these past few years, I've never experienced a really really really, and I mean really personable dining experience. It's always the what's-your-order-here's-your-food-thank-you-ma'am-sir-come-again type of service. Usually, it's the raise-your-hand-i-need-you type of service. They never want to talk to you; only when you raise your hand. If I had my own restaurant, I would never want to train my people like that. My employees will not be robots. They will be empowered.

OK, so what's the deal? What's the scoop?

Well, tonight, I had an excellent waitress. The best ever in the Philippines. And you know what? She was shorter than 5'2". And you know what else? She was not mestiza. And you know what else? She wasn't 18-22 years old. See Pinoys. See Philippines, you don't have to be taller than 5'3", meztiza, and 18-22 years old to provide great service. In fact, all the tall mestizas I've dealt with were bitchy wannabe's. No offense to mestizas, of course. It's just my observations. Not all mestizas are like that. I wouldn't want to commit what they call in logic, the fallacy of hasty generalization.

So what made this one an excellent dining experience? Our waitress actually stopped to converse with us: me, my business partner, and my Indonesian friend. She actually took the time to say, "how are you guys doing?" She actually asked us how are experience is so far in the Philippines. She smiled. She was friendly. She was sincere. Our food was brought on time. She kept refilling our drinks. It was warm. It was comfortable. And I saw her as a beautiful human being. Not some robotic server of a waitress. She was actually organic. So sad to say, when I go to restaurants in the Philippines, I always picture the waiters and waitresses are robots programmed to simply take your order and bring your check when your done. I know it's wrong to do that, but perhaps I have also been programmed to think that way.

I know there are some pretty good managers out there who train their employees to be human. But I also know that a majority of them train their employees to be robots. How sad. Next time I go to another restaurant, and I have a robot server, I will tell the manager to eat at Bubba Gumps; he may learn something there about customer service.

Thank you Bubba Gumps Green Belt Three. Thank you Malou. Great job. We'll come back soon. And we'll bring more people with us next time.


jhay said...

That's a gem. Then again you could hardly blame the rest of them; basic pay, the working hours, plus a-holes for managers. Still plenty of room to improve on.

AL said...

:) I was eating there too when I was in Manila early this year. I like that place too.

DannyRay said...

HELP ME PLEASE :) Hi everyone. My name is Daniel and Im a US Citizen living in Manila Philippines and I came as a tourist but I would love to stay here now and live. Does anyone have any information on US Companies doing business in Manila or foriegn companies that you could recommend? I would appreciate any information you could offer. My email address is: dangeline25@yahoo.com
Thank you, merry christmas and happy new year.

Tea said...

hi! thank you for that nice comment. spirit. yikes!

anyway, with the system that you talked about, we cannot blame anyone if the system, robotic as you call it, is like that. for me, customer service is attending to the needs of your customers. it's not as if waitresses/waiters are to entertain their guests. yes, it's true that they have to, but we have to understand that it's also their work to attend to other customers who might be in need of other services, not just a simple talk.

and well, it's a job. we all know that by talks, people could get personal.

and with finding Malou, i'd say you're lucky.

Analyse said...

it's always pleasant to get better service and good human contact. i'll note that restaurant and check it out..

merry christmas!

Anonymous said...

You paid php 500 (or roughly US 10.00) and you got good service? I wonder if you can get that kind of service in the US of A ? if you only paid US 10.00

SO much for all you foreigners travelling to 3rd world countries and the do nothing but whine and complain.
Much as everybody would like to provide good service this is sometimes impossible simply because of the salary scale. You go to any country in europe and you will find bad if not worst service. NOT UNLESS YOU GO TO A FINE DINING RESTAURANT and I am sure you need more that US 10.00.

bingskee said...

it would always be the service that would count. customers will always look for good service, notwithstanding the thought if they are paid fairly.

Anonymous said...

Most Filipino waiters/waitresses are just afraid to converse in English especially with Americans..