Sunday, April 11, 2010

Behind The Scenes - A Banquet Boy

Khairul Nizam
Age: 23
Designation: Assistant Banquet Manager

Khairul Nizam started his career as a part time Banquet Waiter at Pearl International, and in the short time frame of 3 years, he has managed to move himself up the ranks quickly and surely. Now, together with his Banquet Manager, he leads the Banquet team of Holiday Inn Kuala Lumpur Glenmarie.

He has a team of 11 dedicated staff, and manages 17 function rooms that span from the hotel wing to the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club. The function rooms vary in size, the biggest one able to cater to up to 500 people.

Above: Khairul standing amidst the set up for a 400pax dinner
Below: Khairul with his team, setting up the Gazebo

With such a young, smart, hardworking and good looking guy (the last point is debatable!), we're taking him out of his function rooms and throwing him into the spotlight!

Q: What's your favourite thing about your job?
A: Being responsible for big functions and knowing I've contributed to their success because of my hardwork. It's pure job satisfaction and makes it all worth it.

Q: You've worked in reputable hotels before this. What's the best thing about working at Holiday Inn KL Glenmarie?
A: My boys! We have a young team here. We're mostly in our early 20s, with a few seniors. People will not believe the level of support here, and the mutual respect among team members. I feel proud to be part of a such a tight-knit team. Their positive attitude allows the team to produce wonders despite all the limitations that we have here.

Q: Why should guests choose your banquet instead of another hotel's?
A: Because of the people. It's a common thing to say, but I know they are the frendliest, most helpful and always available. Most importantly, they are always willing to go out of their way to fulfill their guests' needs. Guests are often surprised at what my team is capable of. For example, the team is small, but we do turnovers for back-to-back functions within short periods of time, sometimes as short as 30minutes. Sometimes they even surprise me!

Q: What do you think people will be surprised to learn about the life of a Banquet Boy?
A: I talk to a lot of organisers and guests, and they're always extremely shocked by the long hours we work. We have to be flexible, as there are a lot of last minute events. If I have to stay back for a last minute event, I do it, even if it means I'm sacrificing my day off.

Q: What was your biggest learning point working here?
A: How to deal with people. I once dealt with a wedding couple who were just not satisfied with anything we did. It didn't matter what I said, promised, delivered, or offered. When I think about all the issues they raised, it's clear that 99.9% of it was not related to myself or the performance of my team, but to another department. It taught me that at the end of the day, I don't just represent my Banquet team, but the hotel. At that time I was only a supervisor, but my Banquet manager and Assistant Banquet Manager were both away, and so I was the person in charge. I learnt to stay cool, apologise sincerely, and most importantly listen. I did my best. We always do our best for our guests.

Q: What would you like everyone to know about the Banquet Team?
A: Banquet is the best department! We're one of the largest revenue contributors to the hotel. And coincidently, banquet guys are the most handsome.
(Interviewer's Note: At this point he smiled and laughed and was very pleased with himself. I personally felt like strangling him, but he insisted that this was true, and so I am obliged to leave it in as part of this interview.)

Q: What would you like everyone to know about you?
A: I like 'soup tulang' and noodles, and I'm looking for a girl who can cook these dishes for me.

Any takers?

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