Designation Senior Service Supervisor
Year in PS 5-6 years
How did you find PS.Cafe?
I’ve worked in F&B since I was 14. From fast food joints, Japanese restaurants to many years working in bars - naturally, I grew to be familiar with drinks and cocktails, but I really wanted to venture into food. When I saw a Service opening at PS.Cafe - Ann Siang Hill in the papers, I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to learn and grow in this exciting industry, what more in an upscale cafe like PS. Working outside of my comfort zone has always been my preferred option!
And look at you now! Almost 6 years in and 7 months pregnant!
[laughs] I enjoy working here so much that even though I'm now 1.5 months away from delivery, I still want to work! But really, I think working helps, especially during pregnancy when your hormones are unstable and negative thoughts tend to creep in once in awhile [laughs]. It's nice to have happy colleagues and guests around to talk to! Also, I like to stay active as much as I can.
What’s been the most challenging part of working whilst being pregnant—and what’s helped you overcome that?
For the past few years, I was happy doing service at the three storey Ann Siang Hill outlet. However, due to my pregnancy, I was transferred to Martin 38 to do cashiering which the management thought would be a more suitable pace for me. That is really thoughtful of them. I'm also thankful to have such nice colleagues and understanding Cafe Manager that have been very supportive for the past few months. They definitely make it such a pleasant working environment to be in...they are my pillar of strength!
How do you make time for your family given your work schedule?
Something that not a lot of people know is that it is very rare to have 5 days work week in the F&B industry, but PS offers that and have been especially flexible during my pregnancy months. For example, management would thoughtfully select my off days so that I have enough time to rest or work shifts that I could arrange around my doctor appointments. Having my in-laws in the same house helps too [laughs] Luckily my husband works in the same industry as well so we both have a mutual understanding on how the industry works eg. long hours of work, physically tiring, etc. So far so good!
Have you ever thought of giving up (working whilst being very pregnant), and why?
Of course - As much as I enjoy being busy, I can't deny that I often get tired and I often feel that I want to help my colleagues serving but I couldn't contribute much. Also, this baby girl gets hungry all the time! But I can't imagine myself doing anything else, really.
Speaking of which, what is your current food craving?
Ugly Fried Chicken at Martin 38 outlet. That chipotle dip? Hands down.
What do you do for “me time”?
Since this is my first pregnancy, I'm obsessed with reading anything pregnancy or baby-related. From books to online articles, you name it. Other than that, house chores like cleaning and organising feel more enjoyable now. I do think it is important to have me-time though, especially if you work in F&B industry where you are constantly working with people. Having space and also a partner that appreciates alone time too really helps.
Has having children influenced your work at all? Has it made you more empathetic to customers, for example?
It has definitely become a conversation starter between me and our guests. I often get friendly remarks and questions about my pregnancy, suggestions on places to get baby-related stuff or doctors to see and I even had customers share their experience on giving birth as well. I also became more patient working with customers with children because very soon, that'd be me! [laughs] I used to get a bit awkward working around children but ever since I got pregnant, it has become my way of building a relationship with our guests on a more personal level, which I think is the best way to connect.
Who's your role model?
My aunt has always been the woman that I aspire to become. Ever since she adopted my sister when she was young, she moved to Australia without a husband or a job. Working full time as a single parent in a foreign country just so that my sister would get the best education she could get is definitely an inspiration. To me, being a good parent is about being selfless, straightforward, loving and supportive, like my aunt.
Do you have any advice for women who are thinking of having children and who want to continue building their careers?
Find a job that you love that offers work-life balance. In today's age, it is great to see mums that still work during their pregnancy or having a family - it shows how strong you are. Just know how much you can contribute. Doesn't matter if it is 4 or 8 hours, but make sure to deliver your best within the time frame that you can. It will be difficult, finding the time to make sure everything goes as planned, but it's part of the process. I think the most important thing is to strike a balance. Once you do, you'll be fine. I mean, if others can do it, why can't you? Why can't I?
Designation Service Crew
Year in PS 1 year full time, 5-6 months part time
How did you start working at Chopsuey Dempsey?
I was working in an animal welfare organization at the time when my soccer buddy, Simon (Café Manager) told me about an available part-time position at Chopsuey Dempsey. I went ahead and applied for the position thinking that it would be an interesting experience to work in a completely different industry. I had no experience in F&B as I have always been active in non-profit organizations previously. Being a part timer has allowed me to get a taste of what it is like being in this line – Few months in and I realised that I thoroughly enjoyed it, so I left my non-profit career to be part of the full time service crew.
Tell us more about your non-profit organizations' background!
Prior to working in non-profit organizations, I was actually doing sales and events related jobs. I hit that point in life where I wanted to give back to the society. Being in non-profit organizations allowed me to do just that – for example; my previous job in an animal welfare organization was definitely fulfilling. I mean, how could anyone say no to taking care of animals on a daily basis? [laughs] I have a miniature schnauzer with my girlfriend that I really care about as well. It ticked a lot of boxes in what I wanted in a job.
Was it difficult to adjust from a non-profit environment to F&B?
I would say actually both works quite similarly, whereby you would improve the lives of others. Take an example of working with pets in an animal welfare – when I was helping and taking care of my customers’ pets, I created some sort of special bond with them. Same goes to working in food and beverage industry, I have a chance to create a special relationship with guests through good service and good food on a daily basis. It is practically the most satisfying part of the job.
What’s your most memorable experience in Chopsuey Dempsey so far?
Recently we had new guests from London, UK, which first knew about Chopsuey Dempsey through their daughter’s wonderful dining experience. They came all the way in between their 6-hour flyover in Singapore from their travel back to London because their daughter can’t rave enough about it. How cool is that? Building a good relationship with people just like that through service and food.
Favorite spot at Chopsuey Dempsey?
Definitely the covered veranda – it is cozy, not too stuffy even in our weather yet still facing the greeneries!
What are the perks of working in CS?
It’s inevitable that I start to pay more attention to my meal, ambiance, and service experience whenever I dine out. Recently I was promoted to join Wine Guru – it’s a wine appreciation program created by PS.Cafe for their service crew to understand wine and its food pairings as well as technical knowledge on each grape and varietal. During the last exercise, we tasted wine with different mixers like vodka to enhance their complexity. I’m glad for this sort of exercise at work because it trained me to not solely serve food, but more proactive and appreciate everything else that comes with it.
How do you spend your off days?
I am trying to practice work-life balance, so I’ve been taking a break every 3 months to go on vacation. My next destination will be Krabi, Thailand. Other than that, I would scuba dive or play soccer with Simon! [laughs]
Any advice you would give to people just starting out their career in the service industry?
I personally think there aren't many ‘how to’s’ in this line because Service is different; you learn on the job. Which means you have to be open-minded and have a positive learning attitude throughout the whole journey. Ideally you should enjoy dealing with people too because communicating with customers would create a more personal experience and lasting impression. It is not just about taking in orders and clearing tables - know that the learning curve is steep. Coming from someone like me with no experience, really, there are only two options here: either you runaway from the overwhelming experience or learn your way through the opportunities given. Luckily the latter happened to be the one I took – so here I am 1.5 years later and still enjoying every bit of it.
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#PSMEETTHETEAM : SHAWN (SERVICE CREW, ANN SIANG)
Designation Service crew
Year in PS 3 months (2 years contract)
Hometown South Korea
When did you move to Singapore?
I was contemplating between joining the Army straight after high school or taking a gap year, so I jumped upon the chance to move to Singapore when I received a call back from PS.Cafe about 3 months ago. Having the chance to move abroad was exciting because it means I could learn English at the same time, so here I am!
How’s your experience so far?
Thankfully I enjoy summer the most, so being in a tropical country with 'summer' all year round makes me really happy. I find Singapore very vibrant, there’s always things to do here for me. I think people here are friendlier than back home - although I wish there are cheaper Soju around!
Language is probably the only issue for me so far, because of that, I would commute everywhere via the MRT (train) only because it’s easier to understand. [laughs]
Tell us about your difficulties working in an English-speaking environment.
It’s good because it forces me to learn on the job - Other than from my colleagues, I learn it too by watching tv series. I especially enjoy the American series' - Modern Family and Big Bang Theory; Cameron and Jim makes learning English way more fun!
What do you love most about your job?
Constantly surrounded by great food, the café’s nice ambience, friendly colleagues and supportive seniors and managers at PS.Cafe ASH makes it an enjoyable place to work. Even though I'm currently still learning English, which makes it difficult to communicate here, I love the opportunity of meeting people.
What’s your all time favourite PS dish?
I love beef, especially pork - so St. Louis Ribs would be my favourite dish. Although I have yet the chance to try the PS.Burger, I can't help but drool over it because it smells amazing!
How do you spend your off days?
I don’t like staying at home, so I’d spend most of it outside - either for dinner at “Korea town” aka Tanjong Pagar or shopping around Town. I’ve got 2 friends from Korea working at PS as well, Amy and Bonnie, both of whom I would meet up occasionally. Other than that I would play soccer with my other Korean friends every Wednesday after work and last but not least, Karaoke!
What’s your best karaoke songs to sing lately?
Justin Bieber “Sorry”, Adele “Hello”, Sia “Cheap Thrills” and of course, K-pop songs.
Tell us about your favorite spot in ASH!
The newly renovated Attic bar & lounge area. I like the on going events here at ASH, such as Truffle Thursday and Saturday Night Diva, not only is the atmosphere lively, I also get to practice my Japanese by conversing with DJ Shigeki.
Anata wa nihongo o hanasemasu ka? (Do you know how to speak Japanese?)
[laughs] Hai, chotto! (yes, a little bit)
If I weren’t at PS I would… be joining the Army, which eventually I still have to after 2 years. After that, I wish to study Hotel Management and Hospitality, hopefully somewhere abroad such as Canada where most of my Korean friends are. Although I’m not looking forward to the cold winter there! [laughs]
#PSMeetTheTeam : Ansari (Operations Assistant)
Designation Operations Assistant
Year in PS 25 years
How did you start working at PS.Cafe
I started working as a personal driver for one of the directors in the early 90s; however, they needed someone to be in charge of delivery when the company began to grow in ‘92, that’s how I started working full time at PS and have stayed ever since. Has it been 25 years already? [Laughs]
What’s your most memorable experience in PS.Cafe so far?
Seeing how the company has grown and evolved through my years working here is definitely memorable. How they started from producing clothes, moving on to bags and accessories and now into F&B. I have been with them through the ups and downs, and those experiences are really what makes PS.Cafe feel like one big family to me.
How’s your typical everyday work schedule look like?
I start early at 5.30 am to make sure all outlets receive their freshly cut flowers and other deliveries. I think it is the best time of the day to deliver goods because the weather is cool and the roads are clear which helps shorten travelling time. After that, I’ll stop by HQ to check if there are things that need to be delivered to the outlets. I’m a planner so before I end the day, I’ll check with each outlet / kitchen / warehouse for things that need to be done the next day, that way I can plan my journey ahead and ensure that things get done promptly and efficiently.
That’s early! What’s your morning routine look like?
Everyday I wake up around 3.00 am and then will take some time to read the news. I like to know what’s going on around the world. I don’t normally eat breakfast, but black coffee is a must. Dawn is very peaceful because most people are still asleep. It is very important for me not to rush things before work, so I’ll take my time with my coffee. After that, I’ll take a cold shower to freshen up!
Do you listen to CD / radio in the car?
I listen to Radio Gold on most days, but weekends are my favourite time to tune in because they will play a lot of 70’s hits. From Celine Deon, Bread, Bee Gees, and so on. Jamming in the car is definitely one of my guilty pleasures. [Laughs]
What’s your favourite song?
There’s too many to mention, but off the top of my head would be Celine Dion & Bee Gees’ “Immortality”.
How do you spend your off days?
I grew up doing a lot of sports from soccer, cycling or anything sporty really, so I try to do that whenever I can. Otherwise, I will be at home resting and spending time with my family.
Tell us about your dream vacation
One day I would love to go back to Puncak, Jakarta (Indonesia). Even though it is cold up there but I like the view from the top of the hill, I think it is the best place to rest while enjoying a cup of coffee and eating freshly roasted corn.
If I weren’t at PS.Cafe I would…
I can’t imagine myself working elsewhere.
Any advice you would give to people just starting on their career?
Be prepared that things don’t come easy, so you have to work hard and take your responsibilities at work seriously. Do not wait for instructions to do your work, plan ahead, take initiative and don’t be calculative about things like your job scope. So set your priorities. For me, at the end of the day, it is about working hard and taking care of my family and my extended family of PS.Cafe.