30 °C Manila, PH
2nd December 2023

Omens of bad service


This article was published on January 25, 2015 in Hospitality News Philippines’ print edition. For updated analysis and intelligence affecting the hotel industry, subscribe a copy through link


Going into a hotel restaurant or a free-standing restaurant, you will probably notice a few things from the moment you sit down until you finish the ordered food and drinks.


Very noticeable are: table cloth showing the after-fold finish mark, cloth napkin odor, filmy glass or plastic glass, water marks on plates, sticking piece of dried rice on the back of the plate, stained coffee cup, and maybe greasy cutlery. Buffet service setup may have smudgy chafing dish covers and a peculiar smell emanating from the burnt fuel of the food warmer.


The restroom will tell you many things if you see stained fixtures and stained lavatories that are not anymore shiny, even toilet bowls and urinals are off-colored. In some instances, there may be the unlikely smell of washrooms.

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The bedroom and bathroom have telltale signs too of irregular housekeeping practices such as dust on surfaces, mushy odor that definitely comes from the carpet, linen whiteness, pillowcase odor, bath towel softness, bath mats are stained with dirt, and soap scum deposit on the fixture, shower handle, and shower curtains.


A customer noticing the above will tend to ask, Is it clean? The odor, the stain, and the feel of the environment will lead him to doubt.


A well-versed housekeeper will know that it is not only the whiteness for the white bath towel that matters but also its comfortable softness when you wipe it on your face with the corresponding light fragrance you smell. The pillowcase must be white without any small stains and of course, funny smell.

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The bathroom must be stain-free starting from the fixtures. The lavatory should be free of soap scums, while the curtains, aside from free of such scums, must be nice to touch and look at. A bedroom and bathroom that do not smell clean is not clean.


Meanwhile, F&B professionals understand that kitchen and dining rooms are subject to food safety, and thus they need regular and deep cleaning activities. Aside from the scheduled cleaning programs, everyday quality checks are needed to solve the problems at once. Anything that concerns the appearance, odor, and feel of particular objects in the dining and kitchen areas is always checked. Definitely, no fishy smell. Chopping boards must not be stained, while kitchen tools for raw and cooked food are identified properly and flat grills are carbon free. Ice machines should not be moldy or slippery inside, while the appropriate scooper is tied to the ice machine. It is necessary for antibacterial hand soaps to be available in every sink, and gel alcohol are available too. Rugs are white and regularly sanitized.

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For establishments with the dishwashing machine, the tall order is to avoid wiping. All the dishes coming from the dishwashing machine should be air-dried in minutes.


There are many things I can still enumerate to ensure our customers’ safety not only in foodservice but also in the housekeeping and laundry aspects. Remember always that HACCP must be practiced.


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