A POCKET diary is the secret of Mr Kalaichellvan G. Krishna's success.
The 26-year-old is an assistant manager in Jack's Place restaurant at West Coast Recreation Centre. The diary he takes to work every day has the names of many customers, their favourite food, special occasions and the service they expect from him and his colleagues.
There are code words such as sharks, teddy bears, owls and lambs to remind him to provide the right treatment to the different types of people he is serving.
"Sharks are difficult and fussy customers who know precisely what they want to eat and expect the taste of the food to meet their expectations," he says.
"Teddy bears want to be pampered. They like to talk to you and you have to take good care of them.
"Owls listen but don't accept your suggestions and always order what they want.
"Lambs are shy and diffident. They don't want to make a fuss and you have to reach out to them.
"I am willing to go the extra mile for any customer," says Mr Krishna who has worked in different Jack's Place restaurants in the last four years.
He arranged for a couple to get plain mashed spaghetti, something that was not on the menu, for their baby.
Ms Jolene Tan, the baby's mother, praised him in a letter to the director and general manager of Jack's Place Holdings, Ms Suzanne Say.
"He made an effort to keep my baby entertained so that we could enjoy our meal in peace," Ms Tan wrote. "He mingled with the other customers and checked whether their food was okay. Our dining experience was very pleasant. We will definitely dine at Jack's again."
Another customer, Mr Samuel Koh, also described Mr Krishna as an outstanding service provider in a letter of compliment.
Mr Koh wrote: "Krishna demonstrates that outstanding service exists in Singapore. Besides the warm smile and speedy service, he can also strike conversations at appropriate intervals. He goes to different tables to ask if everything is okay and whether the diners need anything.
"Once my family had to finish our meal quickly because we had to rush off to an urgent appointment. With an understanding nod, Krishna served our food in a very short time."
Mr Koh likes Mr Krishna's flexibility. He allowed Mr Koh and his family to change their usual dessert to a scoop of ice cream. Mr Koh's daughter loved the ice-cream, he says. "I think Krishna is a great asset to Jack's Place."
Mr Krishna deserves to be a winner in the superstar category of the national Excellent Service Award (EXSA), Ms Say notes in the citation for his nomination.
She adds: "He makes every effort to remember the guests and greet them by their names. He also strives to remember their favourite dishes, habits and special occasions.
"He is well versed with the menu and will always recommend promotional items to the guests. His friendly disposition and excellent customer service to all the guests, including children, made an impression to the extent that the kids recognise him outside the restaurant."
Mr Krishna has received many letters of commendation from the customers, who praise his professionalism and passion to provide good service.
A winner of Exsa's 2007 Star award, he won the silver and gold awards in the last two years when he was also the company's outstanding performer.
The awards, he says, reflect his friendship with customers who appreciate his work. When he is busy, they help him to clear plates, glasses and cutlery from their tables.
When they see that he is tired, they tell him to drink a glass of water with them, he says."They help me to be happy in my job."
"In the F&B industry, good food complemented by service excellence is key to a great dinning experience. As a whole, the industry has been striving towards service excellence and the Exsa awards give recognition and encouragement to F&B staff for their effort and contributions."
MR Ang Kiam Meng, President, Restaurant Association of Singapore