Learning to Be a Good Waiter

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By Francis Tsawayo WINDHOEK Early last week, a small medium enterprise Rent-A-Waiter started with a month-long training program at the RÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚¶ssing Foundation in Khomasdal. The training program aims at equipping unemployed youths with the necessary knowledge and skills to enter the hospitality and catering industry. The program will consist of five modules which are Mindset, Customer Expectation Training, Selling, Product Knowledge and Management Training Expectations. It will include theory and practical presentations and is in line with the Namibia Training Authority requirements. So far, students both male and female coming from surrounding areas such as Katutura and Khomasdal are taking part in the program. According to Richard Mungendje who is solely responsible for the endeavour, “Youths should take this opportunity as it’s the stepping stone to enter an industry that is growing and significant to the economy of the country.” Apart from unemployed youths, the program also makes provision for employees from the catering and hospitality industry. “For all stakeholders in the catering and hospitality sector who are interested in improving the quality of service, this program would exactly do that,” said Richard. Urging all youths interested in the hospitality and catering sector, Mungendje, who has been in the industry for over six years, shared personal experiences with some of the students. “Beginning my career at the Spanish Embassy as a housekeeper and service ambassador, I went on to work on the Desert Express as an assistant chef and then at the world class Hotel Heintzburg as a waiter,” he told New Era. “After my experiences with my former employers, I went around other local outlets and discovered that there was lack of expertise. This motivated me to take up the initiative and set up the SME Rent-A-Waiter.” Over the last few years, the SME has scooped numerous awards such as 3rd place in the Youth Category of the Sam Nujoma Innovative Awards and the Best National Exhibitor at the Youth Expo of 2005. The initiative has also supplied waiters to numerous leading hospitality outlets such as the Midgard Hotel, the Burning Shore Lodge the famous hideaway for Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, as well as handling important functions such as the Spanish Embassy National Day and the Namibian Tourism Board Holiday Expo. After informing the Students of the Achievements of the SME, Mungendje challenged the youths and proudly noted where he came from – “I’m from the ghetto, Katutura to be precise.” “There is no reason why one should feel disadvantaged,” he noted. Students attending the program also shed light on what they had grasped since the beginning of the week. Wilson Kaura who is taking part in the initiative revealed that though he had been employed in the catering sector before, he described the first few days as eye opening. “I have learnt more in a few days than what I learnt in my previous experience. “I’m greatly motivated, because I’m more aware of the professional aspects of the trade, and the quality of service I will provide after completion would be similar to that people get in a five-star restaurant,” said Nelly Mieze who described the program as “unique”. In his last remarks Mungendje urged individuals to grab the initiative with both hands and also appealed for support from the hospitality and catering sector. “Improving the quality of service of employees does not only benefit the employee but the entity as well as it becomes respected when it comes to professional service,” he said.