Them foreign F&B staff

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.

Bars are being hit now

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.

At a bar staffed by foreigners, try not to order anything complicated

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!”

Are service standards at bars up to mark?

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.

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11 thoughts on “Them foreign F&B staff

  1. couldn’t agree with u more. What ever aliens or locals, who ever work in the bar or F&B business, must go through certain training to make sure what they are doing.

    or at least must know how to speak our language to start with.

  2. definitely true what u’ve said. Whilst a small portion of them are really good and can actually do pretty well here, like the ones in The C Club, others are just dump, slow monkeys in my eyes trying to sabotage the F&B scene here. Its not their fault though, its the stupid Malaysian F&B owners.

    So fuck these owners when no one goes to their establishments anymore.

    • Am glad i’m not d only one who’s unhappy. Once bar owners realize dat many of us are getting dissatisfied, then maybe they’ll do sumtin about it

  3. the thing is, poor training (ie staff who doesn’t know drinks) is not directly related to someone being foreign or malaysian. the bigger culprits are the (malaysian) managers who can’t train/do quality control. there are plenty of incompetent malaysian servers, and plenty of competent foreign servers, the migrants are not the problem

    • It is directly related. When u’ve never known alcohol all your life, how are u expected to provide any good information or service? Even training will only go so far.
      And they’re arent “plenty” of competent foreign servers, not by a long shot. They might be polite n all dat, but dats all. In fact there’s this bangla bartender at PJ Trade Center dat thinks he’s God’s gift to bars.
      Half-ass waiters arent as bad as half-ass bartenders. With bartenders, u need more intimate knowledge of not just drinking, but the local drinking culture. U cant learn that if ur just off d boat.
      U need to be able to have a decent conversation (in English) with barflies.
      Anyway, main point is, service is goin downhill, and its d responsibility of owners and not staff

  4. For me, it doesn’t matter what country the staff is from, as long as:

    1) They speak decent English (or even Malay or Chinese) and can speak it decently enough so I don’t have to bloody explain six times what I want and still get me the wrong bloody drink.

    2) The bartender actually knows what he or she is doing when mixing drinks. It’s not just pouring this and that into a glass, chaps. And yes, a vodka orange IS the same as a screwdriver you dumbass.

  5. I think bar owners and d alcohol industry collectively failed to nurture bartending as a respectable profession. Dats why we are where we are now

  6. as an african student working in a bar here i dont think this view is correct i can get how people complain about the waiters here but in all the clubs i go to its always that bad mayb its the places yall are going to…

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