I first visited Seoul Jjimdak at City Square Mall last month and found out that the local boss of this Korean eatery has a real estate background just like I do. This time round, I managed to meet him in person and while there’s much to chat about the sluggish property market, I found that Anthony has a lot to share about staff retention and welfare. This is probably why service is good here. 🙂 If you’re at the City Square Mall / Little India area and want to enjoy decent food at reasonable prices, with free wifi, head to Seoul Jjimdak at the fifth level of City Square Mall. It’s right next to the cinema.
Also, please do not misunderstand: Jjimdak is not a duck dish… it is actually braised CHICKEN. 😀 For some 30-odd dollars, you get a huge serving pan of the chicken dish which you can enjoy, communal style, with friends.
The Seoul Jjimdak (braised chicken) was still as good as what we enjoyed a month ago (thumbs up for consistency) and I suppose it tasted even better this time with the addition of cheese (I have to thank my pal for the suggestion). Also, the appetizers now feature egg and cucumber too. You’ll definitely want to ask for top-ups! 😀 (*Tip: if you have a cough, like I do, order a cup of their hot citron – it’s rather soothing)
As mentioned earlier, I was impressed by what Anthony had to share regarding staff retention. I’m thankful that he let me pick his brains for a bit as I know that it’s very tough to hire staff for the F&B industry, and I wanted to find out what he’s been doing well HR-wise so other bosses reading this post can learn too. 🙂
Anthony shared that while some of his staff have followed him from his previous work / ventures, for this current Korean food joint, he is happy about the ‘hype’ surrounding Korean food and pop culture. He believes that more people would be willing to work in a Korean restaurant versus a Western one as the environment is attractive (listen to nice Korean songs while working, enjoy the food tasting sessions, etc).
On top of that, on the topic of (new) competitors, Anthony said “You can copy my recipe, but you can’t copy my culture.” And what is this culture that he’s talking about?
For one, he brought his staff with him to Korea for a week to understand the Korean culture. For many of them, it was their first trip overseas. When he ventures into other upcoming F&B businesses, his staff will also get to visit other countries. Also, the staff get to try all the food at Seoul Jjimdak, and this helps them become more confident in making recommendations to customers. They are also paid well and receive AWS (i.e. 13th month payment). [I didn’t confirm this with the staff, so I’ll just take Anthony’s word for it :D] What I think is most commendable is that staff at Seoul Jjimdak are empowered to make decisions on their own. For instance, if a pancake gets burnt, they trash it, they don’t serve it.
Even for new staff, as long as they follow Anthony’s three steps, they “should be fine”…
- Repeat the Order
- Ensure there’s no empty glass – there are transparent carafes for water. (Customers can help themselves to the water. Wait staff will refill the carafe when they see that it’s empty.)
- Check back to ensure everything is ok
It was supposed to be a simple meal with my pals, but I’m glad that meeting the boss of Seoul Jjimdak gave me an insight into good HR practices. 🙂
If you’d like to try the Korean food served at Seoul Jjimdak, simply pop by City Square Mall (located above the Farrer Park MRT station). If you’re lucky, you might meet the warm and welcoming boss, Anthony.