When watching someone in the service industry do the job, I never doubt their ability to do the job well. To me, it\’s all about how they maintain a relationship with the customer. Being social creatures, the social exchange–even if it\’s only less than a minute–is the most important thing in a service.

So today, at Yokoso! Japanese Steakhouse at the waterfront for Gary\’s birthday, I felt sorry for the Hibachi chef who couldn\’t do his fancy tricks of twirling his spatulas and shakers. He told us he was going to do an egg roll, which I assumed was a spinning of the egg on his spatula, but it ended up falling onto Thi\’s plate. Then he dropped his spatula a few times. It was just somewhat embarrassing to watch and I sat there a little uncomfortably viewing the entire show. In my deeper thoughts, all I could think was I am hungry! The guy was rather nice, but had this nervous laugh. I winced and wished I could have struck up a conversation with him to ease the tension. He said that he had been doing this for 3 years. Then that was to the extent that we asked. The food itself was not that bad although I felt there could have been more.

Speaking of which, why is it that I feel always so hungry nowadays? Why is it whenever I eat out, I end up finishing my entire plate of food and still feel…so hungry?

But on the side, we can\’t blame the chef for just…being bad. Sure, he didn\’t perform as well as he could. But there could be attributed to so many factors–overworked chefs, poor training, a family emergency happening that day. Yet, what then is good service? Isn\’t good service always meant to be good? That unhappy people are supposed to put on a happy face for their customers? The service industry establishes only one-way relationships where it\’s about the customer and not about the employee. Where\’s the humanity in that?

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