Falling service standards in mid-tier restaurants

The overall standard of service in food and beverage outlets has been falling over the past few years.

This is especially apparent in middle-tier restaurants, where a main course can cost upwards of $30.

The service expectation for the premium paid is not aligned with actual service delivered. Issues such as not having your order taken for almost half an hour, the order being taken wrongly, the order being forgotten, and wrong billing are all too common in such establishments.

The excuses of finding it difficult to hire staff or that the Government's foreign worker levies are too high are inevitably trotted out whenever these issues are put to the owners.

To be fair, some have tried to reduce their reliance on workers by getting customers to place orders through tablet devices. This has worked to a certain extent, but the upfront capital cost to the restaurant is often the prohibitive factor.

Systems that allow patrons to order using their personal mobile devices and pay before the order is sent to the kitchen are already available. All that is needed would be a runner to serve and clear the table.

So why are restaurants not implementing this?

The declining service standards make it unlikely that the interaction between server and patron is a positive one and more likely a cause of stress, especially if the patron is entertaining guests.

Tong Hsien-Hui