When Alex Win’s bosses at Nerovivo offered him a promotion to be Assistant Manager his first reaction was “Why me?” Having only been in the F&B industry for two years and with no professional training or experience in the field, Alex was a little daunted by the huge step up.
“I started as a part-time waiter at Nerovivo. I worked hard to improve myself, my English, customer service, knowledge about the food and wine.
After eight months I was given a full-time position and the promotion followed shortly after,” he recounts. “When my bosses promoted me I was very nervous, it was a big step forward and big responsibility. I had to learn very quickly to become a leader.”
Four and a half years later, Alex Win has his hands full as Restaurant Manager at sister restaurant Neroteca where he is responsible for everything from managing the floor and kitchen to a 13 member team.
“When I was transferred here, I began to feel more like a manager. My confidence grew and I was more confident with my role. The important thing is to respect each other,” he says of his team comprising fellow countrymen from Myanmar. “I treat them as my friends or family. That improves teamwork.”
Humble, yet expressive when talking about his good fortune to fall into a career that he loves, Alex is keen to give credit to the people who helped him succeed.
“I learnt from observing my seniors and my bosses. I also learnt from my customers; I would pay attention to their words and grammar and correct myself. I would then practice it on other customers. It wasn’t taught to me,” explains Alex.
“My previous boss Paolo, was like a mentor. He was a great guy but very serious when it came to service. How he trained me is how I train my staff now.” And it is evident that he has taken the time and trouble to impart his knowledge and experience by scheduling daily training sessions before the dinner service.
“I always tell my staff, I want the customers to remember them by name. That’s the bar I’ve set. I mean, the customers are paying for the service but you can make their dining experience satisfying simply by making sure the food is to their taste, serving them on time and offering recommendations. They appreciate it and will be impressed. Customers will only notice you if you strike up a conversation with them.”
As Alex muses about coming such a long way in such a short time, he reflects in awe and gratitude. “I never asked for the position or promotions. I just did my best. I noticed how happy I was to do this job. I love it. The more involved I became the more I found it suitable.” He shrugs and smiles, “I don’t know if it’s because I worked very hard to get where I am, or if I’m just lucky.”