The invasion of foreigners in the F&B scene was limited to stalls, then creeped into restaurants. Unfortunately, they’re now being hired by bars and pubs.
(I actually wrote a feature article against this foreign takeover of Malaysia’s cooking & food in The Star a few years back, entitled Fight for Your Food. And in June 2011, my ex-colleague did a similiar piece about service standards, where i gave my thoughts.)
Well, food quality has definitely dropped, especially at stalls. Foreigners are trying to cook Malaysian food, when fact is they have no connection with our great cuisine heritage.
I had a chat with a guy who’s been in the F&B scene for 15 years. He owns a restaurant-bar, and admits service standards have dropped all-round. He says it’s due to the hiring of foreigners.
Hell, we can tell that for ourselves.
Now we’re getting freaks who dont even drink, trying to serve us drinks. How ridiculous is that? Sorry, whatever the justification, I would never trust a bartender who doesnt drink.
I mean, would you trust a chef that dont eat??
As usual, Malaysians get blamed for being “choosy” about their jobs. So? Watz wrong with that? Dont we all choose the jobs we want? Problem is, salaries have remained unreasonable for years.
Its not easy work, sacrificing your nights, and weekends, and new years, and Christmas, and etc on da job. Dealing daily with drunks. And pukers. And obnoxious pricks. And dont forget the bodies. After a few months/weeks, ur bound to think twice, and probably look elsewhere. Unless of course the money is good, which it isnt!
No one can be expected to accept 1,000-1,500 bucks and be content about it. Or give their UNDYING loyalty to the outlet. Bartenders should get at least 2k+ a month. Then u’ll attract some quality.
U pay peanuts, u’ll get monkeys.
That amount might be a fortune to foreigners, who are only here temporarily and normally dont have to pay for lodging, transport, etc, but its peanuts to Malaysians. Also many of these foreigner are without permits, meaning outlet owners can exploit them even more.
Malaysian staff are more “difficult” coz sometimes they dont show up for work – sick, emergency leave, grandma died, etc. Of course foreigners wont do that, coz they’re desperate, and employers can feed on that desperation. Some employers dont even allow them days off.
Many have families back home who are struggling, and surviving on whatever little money these workers send back every month.
So they’re more ideal. More robot-like.
That’s definitely one advantage of hiring foreigners. Advantage to employers that is. Not to consumers.
Some of these guys dont even know what a goddam mojito is! Those places, i end up not goin again. What kind of training are they getting? What recipes do they know?
Many drink requests by a customer has the waiter/bartender reacting like the customer just dropped a fat rhyme in Martian. You gotta waste your own time n effort ‘training’ them about what you want.
Sometimes i just keep quiet, shake my head and ask them to call the manager, who thank God is usually a Malaysian. Being Asians, these foreigners are usually genuinely nice and good-hearted people (at least when they arrive here), but thats not d point.
Multi-award-winning former bartender and Barfight champ Mark ‘Maverick’Robert feels salaries are not keeping up with the times and trends. “U cant survive on 1k a month. That’s why u get MCs, no-shows, etc. A staff would jump to another job even for an extra 100 bucks a month. They’re desperate.”
“Also, u expect a foreigner to try n recommend to us local boyz what to drink?? Come on buddy!”
I dont blame these guys, being thrown into a situation they dont belong in. Its ok if the workers are sent for good F&B n hospitality training, but most employers wont do that.
I definitely have a lotta respect for bars that hire competent Malaysians. Salud to u guys! If they could do it before d foreign invasion and do well, they can sure do it now.
Though it inconveniences customers, as an employer, its more convenient and less of a hassle to hire foreigners, and they can have full staff-strength all d time.
But in my opinion, foreigners have to stay out of the drinking industry. They’re spoiling it for us Malaysians. There needs to be a major revamp in the industry. A college is needed to train Malaysians to be at least semi-professional F&B employees, with good career prospects and a decent salary.
Bottomline: As a consumer, all i know is service standards have never been worse.
In this day and age, that’s just embarrassing.