“Hi, welcome to Sugarloaf!” the maître’d who identified herself as Ling Sin Yee, greeted me as I waited to enter the cafe. The moment I set foot into the premises, a flurry of activities blinded me.
Customers were queuing for their food, sharply dressed waiters busily doing their rounds and chefs cooking up a storm in the open-concept kitchen. Sugarloaf, a café run entirely by students during selected periods in a year, bore no signs of being a student establishment. It was run like a professional café and credit must go to the efforts of our Hospitality Tourism and Management (HTM) students and the mentors and lecturers.
The lunch service being run by the students was in fact the culmination of an intensive 14-week programme where their final grade will depend on the performance and efficiency during this crucial lunch service.
Well, as far as first impressions go, all of them are heading for an A-star on the report card.
A chat with the affable course manager Mr Tan Hsien Wei revealed even more. Students had in fact been hard at work preparing for this service well before its operational date. Tasked with a thematic project, students were responsible for publicity of their lunch service along with decorating the restaurant according to their selected themes.
I was fortunate enough to have visited Sugarloaf where the theme of this particular lunch service was ‘Fairytale’. I even had the pleasure of being greeted at the door by my very own fairy godmother! Okay so no wishes were granted by her, but her warm smile made up for everything. Sin Yee who made a great impression on me upon arrival left me wondering what was in store next.
And boy was I surprised! The restaurant was run efficiently and delicious food was flying off the counters. Sugarloaf which can accommodate 70 people both indoors and outdoors, was packed to the brim without an empty seat in sight. The wait staff looked like they had been doing this for all their lives as food reached its customers without much delay and a lot of that was down to the efforts of head waiter Wesley Goh Yew. Looking dapper in a suit, Wesley ensured that the turnaround was swift and that customers were happy.
An interview with Wesley and Sin Yee at the end of their shift revealed more about their experiences in running Sugarloaf. “I am just glad to have my team who are very capable and have supported me very well” Wesley said when asked about his experience running Sugarloaf.
The confident and well-spoken second year student also revealed his dreams of pursuing a career in the hotel industry. Sin Yee also spoke about the invaluable experience of learning the two key words in the service industry which are responsibility and teamwork.
By now, my tummy was filled and I could barely walk out of the main door but it was truly, a memorable first visit to Sugarloaf and I’ll definitely be back for more.
And as for Xin Yee, Wesley and their classmates, I am sure we will be seeing them as leading lights in the service industry soon as they continue their journey towards their own version of the ……………. Fairytale.
To find out more about the Diploma in Hospitality and Tourism Management, CLICK HERE.