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Q: Do you think the service industry in China will ever improve?

China has absorbed so much western culture but the basic "customer is king" concept still seems completely lost on most restaurant staff. Of course, high-end restaurants are an exception, but the service is appalling in most smaller dining establishments. Just yesterday, I went to a restaurant and the waitress forgot 3 of my dishes. I had to remind them several times to bring them out asap and got no apology or thank you at the end.

6 years 37 weeks ago in  Business & Jobs - China

 
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I find service appalling in the so-called fancier restaurants as well. The only difference between the cheap restaurants and the expensive restaurants in China is that generally the expensive ones always leaves me disappointed, as I think the food taste/quality isn't better than the cheap places. 

 It's of course a general problem not just in restaurants.

If it will ever improve. I really hope so, but it will be an uphill battle. I cannot think anything else than before the establishment of the PRC, it would have been possible to go to a restaurant and get good service. If you compare service in Hong Kong with the mainland, then things could not be further apart. Hong Kong has world class service. If this is the British that has raised the service level, or it is the British that has prevented it from dropping, I cannot tell. However, as the millions of mainlanders who go to Hong Kong every year as tourists, generally are considered by the Hong Kongers as rude, I doubt they get the same experience and as they are just there to buy as much stuff as possible to gain face when they get home, they probably do not enjoy the difference and bring back the story of how nice it is with good service. 

As far as I know, some companies, like Starbucks are fighting hard to train their employees to give good service, this has the result that employees, once they have worked at Starbucks a while, will go hunt for jobs elsewhere as they now has "service" on their resume

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6 years 37 weeks ago
 
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A few fundamental things need to change before that happens – which is a nice way of saying “No chance!”

 

First, Chinese people need to start caring about people they don’t know. Common courtesy to one's fellow human isn’t a concept that Chinese people have grasped yet. In Western society (I haven’t been to America, but certainly in Britain and Australia) people care about the feelings and well-being of other people, whether acquainted or not.

 

When in public, we are considerate of others, because we understand that we are basically the same as them – we have the same needs, and would all prefer to be treated with respect. Thus, we reached the consensus (without even saying it – it’s just that obvious) that if everyone is good to each other, everyone benefits. We are glad to be part of society, so we try (without even consciously thinking it) to maintain that framework by being nice to each other.

 

China does not have social cohesion (let alone “social harmony” – Ha!). Most Chinese people could not honestly care less about anyone they don’t know, let alone care about an abstract concept like “society”. No Chinese person wants to go to any personal effort to make their society a nice place. The idea of showing courtesy to someone you don’t know (unless you stand to benefit materially) is completely foreign to them.

 

So I wouldn’t hold my breath.

 

I went to London a few months ago, and was blown away by the customer service (simply by virtue of having lived in China for 3 years). Service staff smile at you, ask you how your day was, make conversation – and they give you your change instead of dropping it on the counter.

 

Apparently during the Industrial Revolution in England, people (being ultra-materialistic at that time) acted with no regard for society and no respect for their fellow humans. China is experiencing a similar situation now, so maybe in a hundred years they will become civilised, sophisticated and considerate humans. Maybe.

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6 years 37 weeks ago
 
Posts: 961

Shifu

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I have been to plenty of restaurants and am usually quite pleased with the service. Sure no "how was your day, did you enjoy your meal" type conversation but do you really think that the fake be nice to you small talk in restaurants in other countries is generated by anything other than groveling for a tip. Considering how the staff are treated in China by some of their customers I find they do OK. Had a great meal at a BBQ place the other day and both my host (a Chinese businessman) and myself as well as the rest of our party were thanking and joking with the staff as they took orders and served our dishes and it was an efficient, enjoyable and relaxed meal with great service. I have also been to a private restaurant  the same host and it was probably one of the best meals I have ever had and the service was superb. I quite enjoy the casualness of eating in China but that is me and others may like the more formal approach. 

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6 years 37 weeks ago
 
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the restaurants that give me good service have me as a steady repeat customer, but i have to admit, out of 50 restaurants in one kilometer range, only 6 meet the service level of me coming back again, perhaps when labor is no longer cheap, this will change, but somehow i doubt my optimistic thinking.

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6 years 37 weeks ago
 
Posts: 1633

Shifu

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In China: bad service brings about no complaints due to the fact that it may "mess up this harmonious society".  hahaha

 

Complaining sometimes brings about change; but that doesn't compute here whatsoever.

 

Sad.

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6 years 37 weeks ago
 
Posts: 5600

Emperor

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no, slave labor, ignorance, hyper-competition, rude culture, no accountability

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6 years 37 weeks ago
 
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Well if you figure that everything is always changing and that the service industry couldn't get much worse, then yes, I'd say it must improve.

 

I hate when they bring you a menu and then hover over you while you look at it so you feel rushed.

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6 years 37 weeks ago
 
Posts: 1090

Governor

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Ha ha Ha ha Ha ha Ha ha Ha ha Ha ha Ha ha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOL!!!!!!!!!! Smile You're joking right? * It's not just restaurants..it's the dry-cleaners,small markets,supermarkets,the information desk at the metro station,department stores,bakeries,print shops..on and on and on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! * It's not even just about the "customer is king" concept. * It's the constant BORED,UNFRIENDLY,STUPID,ETHNOCENTRIC,XENOPHOBIC,HIGHLY CHILDISH,ANNOYING,STRANGE,PUSHY,RUDE,ARROGANT..HEAD UP THE *** ATTITUDE!!! * Take your pick or a combination thereof!

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6 years 37 weeks ago
 
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