I started out my F&B career after I graduated from my junior college. Just before I enlisted for the Army, I worked at raffles hotel as a room server. That was my first experience in F&B and it turned out to be pretty enjoyable though it was both physically and mentally tiring for me. After my National Service, I continued my studies and took the conventional path to study in NUS business. I was planning to work in the marketing or finance industry. But somehow things turned out differently and I started my own F&B business.
I am actually pretty glad that it turned out this way because this F&B experience made me who I am today. It accelerated my learning curve and made a wiser leader, a more understanding colleague, and a more purposeful person. However, I must admit that F&B was probably the last industry I ever wanted to work in. All of us probably know of someone who work in the F&B industry and we know how much sacrifices they have to make. They need to work during weekends and public holidays. They need to work longer hours to cover the off days of their colleagues. They need to constantly stand and move around during their work. And most importantly, compared to per hourly rate for part timers in the other industry (events, data entry etc), F&B can be considered lower than average. But still, why do people still want to work in F&B industry? After being in the industry for 4 years, I found the answers.
1. F&B trains us to handle pressure and resolve problems.
Martin Luther King JR once said in his speech:”The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Working in the F&B industry requires you to react fast and resolve problems on a daily basis. Problems bring possibilities. They help you grow and lead to better things, both in your work and within your life. Being exposed to such challenges help you deal with problems more efficiently. For example, an unhappy customer yelling at you might seem like a problem. But to a person thinking like a leader, that scenario is also a giant opportunity to improve the organization procedures to ensure that it doesn’t happen and to get feedback that may be used to enhance product and services. An interpersonal conflict at work can seem like a problem. But if you think like a leader and use it as an opportunity to build understanding, promote communication and enrich the relationship, the problem has actually made you better. We always have the choice to be strong and positive when things fall apart. It is how we approach the problem. These experiences can make you more adept to handle such pressure on a daily basis.
2. F&B gives us the opportunities to connect with people from all walks of life.
Working in a F&B industry allows you to work with people of different age group and nationalities. That gives us a very good opportunities to work and connect with people who may be very different from us. From my experience, the best performers in business don’t hide behind their desks. They know that business is all about connecting to people and being in a f&b environment, it allows you to do so.
The best managers I know have very good people management skills. The don’t sit down in the office and in front of a computer but rather constantly have rich and meaningful conversations with their team. The best employees I observe also get out from behind their desks to collaborate with their teammates, support their colleagues and to spread their enthusiasm. Business is all about people, if you can’t work with people or manage people, you can’t go far. Thus, being in this industry gives you a very good opportunity to learn how to work with and manage people.
3. F&B teaches us to how to be leaders who give without asking for anything in return.
Eventually, in 10 years time, our generation has to step up and become leaders in their own way. Leadership is shown by the way you do the little things. Leadership is show by the service crew who says hello and thank you with enthusiasm no matter how exhausted he or she may be. Leadership is shown by the cook who has the integrity to redo the order when the food is not up to the standard. Leadership is shown by the colleague who lend a helping hand to others without them asking. Leadership can be displayed by anyone regardless of what his or her role is. I can’t help but notice that my peers who have extraordinary careers and lives are those who spend most of their lives giving their best out on the extra miles. Likewise in the F&B industry, we are constantly “giving” for the happiness of others. We work during public holiday so that families can enjoy their holiday. We work on weekends so that you can have a good gathering with your friends. We work during lunch hours so that other people can fill their stomachs. F&B indirectly instill a “giving” mentality, teaches us to think and care for others.
I understand that all of us want to work for a good company. One that is not only well run but also one that does its part to build a better world. In Greendot, we believe that people who care can change the world for the better. And if you care about this, we can talk more.
You can link up with us by submitting the form below 🙂
– Yong Hong
PS: We have a special career path for young people like you who wants to have a career in F&B. It’s not as difficult as you think it is. And you don’t need any prior experience because I didn’t have any when I first started. I totally understand how you feel. Talk to us to find out more! 🙂