I was sitting in a popular dumplings restaurant (under the Paragon shopping centre on Orchard Road) in Singapore. It is obviously popular because we had to get a number and wait to get in. And the place was packed from about 6pm when we arrive to 9:30pm when it shut.

Despite its popularity, several factors made a potentially chaotic and unpleasant situation painless and transparent.

The meal was great. Despite the business there was not sense of rushedness or chaos. Despite their busyness, they still made customers feel valued. Such service and consideration!

I could not help but contrast this with a couple of yum cha restaurants in Sydney which I refuse to go to. The maître d’ never looked you in the eye; there’s never any obvious waiting area, and no attempts at ordering the chaotic crowds. The maître d’ screeched your number across crappy sound systems – nowhere else is Cantonese and English numbers made to sound like cuss words.

These nasty experiences communicate a clear sense of “we have more customers than we can care to service, so we don’t have to give a shi*t about you. If you don’t like it, you can go elsewhere” And I and my friends do!