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  • The Storyteller

Anticipatory Skills (Restaurant) : Who is Faster?

I call this the ‘antenna’ – is it long enough where all unspoken and unexpressed needs of the diners are fully anticipated for? Or is it a case of lacking antenna where Bart Simpson would do his famous “Duh!”? In short, who is faster – the service person or the diner? It also demonstrates the level of attentiveness, empathy (because you can put yourself in the other person’s shoes), and quick thinking. Here are some examples of “Duh-service”:

  • Clearing away my sushi plate but not removing the soya sauce dish. (This is not a buffet meal.) Or the waffle plate without taking away the maple syrup. Or the bread basket and leaving the butter behind. The list goes on….

  • Informing the waiter that the tissue box I had requested for only had one sheet left. He returned moments with another box…..which had two sheets left.

  • Service staff approaching table to top up the water, but not clear the empty juice glasses and empty coffee cups (nor was refill offered).

  • Placing the salt and pepper way out of reach at the far end of the table.

  • Straw was not offered for the tall, slim glass of orange juice (making it near impossible to drink directly from the glass without getting your nose wet!)

  • I am on my phone and they came over to offer magazine for single diner.

  • Informing the hotel restaurant that I could not locate my key card, and the waiter told me to take my time to find it.

On another hand, here are some positive examples of long-antenna service of hotel dining:

  • The waiter at Okura Prestige Bangkok saw that I had placed my vitamin pill into the tall water glass and he promptly swooped over to offer choice of long stirrer, long spoon and a straw – all neatly placed on a lined tray.

  • At Rayavadee Krabi, as I savoured the king prawns of the Phad Thai with my bare hands, the employee came over with finger bowl and paper tissues for me.

  • At Legian Bali, they already prepared a table for one for my breakfast as they knew of my habits from the previous days.

  • At Park Hyatt Saigon, the lounge employee offered me a table nearer to the pianist as I had enquired about the timing of the live performance.

  • At Siam Kempinski Bangkok, the team member at Rotunda immediately brought over the standing fan for guests during warm days.

Reflective thoughts: Beyond the usual functional standards that one delivers in the respective roles, constantly question oneself, “How else can I help?”

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