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.