#TeamMayLee had a chance to really get into the service crew scene, and figured out what makes the dedicated team at Bubbles & Bites, Resorts World Genting, tick! Full story: rage.com.my/service-with-a-smile/
Posted by BRATs on Monday, 2 October 2017
By TEAM MAY LEE
THERE is more than meets the eye in the food and beverages industry, according to Bubbles and Bites manager Nazira Banu Abu Bakar.
Located in Maxims Hotel at Resorts World Genting, Bubbles and Bites is a Western-Italian fusion restaurant run by a team of committed and hard-working service crew.
The 38-year-old has 18 years of experience in the F&B industry. The sacrifices she has made goes to show that being a member of the F&B service crew is no easy task, especially if one has to give up on some of the joys of life.
“I haven’t celebrated Raya in 19 years. I haven’t even celebrated my mother’s birthday in 18 years because she lives in Kajang. Of course, I call but it isn’t the same.”
Now, she feels indifferently towards holidays as she is used to working on those days instead of celebrating. “I missed it for the first few years but not anymore,” said Nazira.
Being a manager for four years now, she continues to work her way up in the industry. She got her head start in the industry when she was training at Coffee Terrace, a cafe in Genting Highlands. She described the flow of customers into the cafe as “crazy” as there were so many to serve.
The training she went through there played an important part in shaping her into the manager she is today. “I had three months of theory training and three months of practical; practical was the worst,” she said.
As she struggled with her new-found job, she stumbled and made a few mistakes, like breaking an entire tray of glassware.
“It was just so slippery and difficult to carry that everything came sliding down,” she said with a laugh. “I was really skinny back then, so lifting that tray was not easy.”
Despite the challenges, Nazira is committed to her job. It is typical for a member of the service crew to spend their entire day at work. “You can’t come into work thinking you’re going to only work for eight hours; you have to be prepared to stay until the end,” she said.
‘Being adaptable and versatile’
Ahmad Hafez Mohd Azri, the restaurant’s supervisor, has been in the F&B industry for 16 years. In a month, he works 26 days consecutively and only gets five days off.
As the time he has off work is limited, he makes sure he uses it wisely – he and his wife visit their children in Ipoh, where they are looked after by his mother.
“I spend all my free time with them and hope that one day they will look back on it and understand that I worked so hard to fulfill everything they wanted,” he said.
To work in the F&B industry, it’s more than just serving with a smile, it’s about being adaptable and versatile. Nazira and Ahmad Hafez are prime examples of how far one has to go to adapt to the F&B industry.
However, not all of the novelty in their lives is lost as Nazira believes that what she loses in time, she makes up for in the connections she builds.
The bonds and relationships she has made with those around her, such as her service crew, are ones that she can count on. For those in the F&B industry, their job is not just about serving others and making sacrifices. It is also about being true to themselves and finding their own place.
It’s about knowing what they are working with such as the concepts of the restaurants and whether these suit their personalities.
“Bubbles and Bites is funky, just like me, which is how I present myself to the customers,” said Nazira. The success of any restaurant is only as good as the crew who serves her and the crew at Bubbles and Bites gives no quarter to doing so.
The crew members provide the best possible service they can to their customers. To exude warmth and to be friendly, Ahmad Hafez says that “service must come from the heart”.
His dedication to his work stretches miles as he hasn’t been absent from work for the past 12 years, continuously showing up to serve tirelessly. Peak hours that are around 7pm are “a struggle and very stressful”, according to Ahmad Hafez.
However, the service crew experienced a whole new level of stress when the restaurant had a voucher promotion.
“If you think peak hours are bad, imagine what it is like during a voucher promotion. We worked till our knees shook and there was even an old uncle screaming at us,” said Nazira.
Ahmad Hafez shared that the F&B industry is a demanding one and it requires those involved to continuously keep up with the rebrandings and the technological developments. When asked how he deals with rude customers, he replied, “Just apologise to them and find out what is wrong.”
He believes that customers should be given the benefit of the doubt, and that a smile will go a long way. According to Zidi, the captain of the restaurant, one’s mindset is what makes or breaks one’s job. “You must have a positive mentality to make people happy and to meet their needs,” he said.