After launching the first ever Waiter and Waitress competition in 2007, organiser Gladys Muyenzelwa told Sunday Standard that she is in the process of organising a 2nd installment of the pageant that has nothing to do with looks but the serving aspect of the hospitality industry.
According to Muyenzelwa, who also publishes Eating Out, a seasonal restaurant guide, Zania Ntwayagae, who works for Mugg & Bean, and is the 2007 title-holder, won the competition by interacting with clients and presenting Mugg & Beans signature dishes to an audience of judges.┬á
“Unfortunately Ntwayagae never got to enjoy her prize of a trip to Food Services International in Yorkshire, on a four month hospitality course,” Muyenzelwa says, “Because we did not manage to gather sponsorship for travel expenses.”
Muyenzelwa says she has been previously apprehensive to launch a second pageant, because of the failure to deliver the prize to her winner, fearing being viewed as dishonest.
“I have also got positive feedback from the previous contestants, particularly those who were runners up to Ntwayagae, Lorato Orapelleng of Botswana Defense Force Officers Mess and Julian Sennanyane of Dros.”
While Ntwayagae could not be reached for comment, Sennanyane, who has since been promoted to management at Dros, said, “Batswana seem not to care much for the waiting profession.”
“University student overseas may take up waiting as a part time job, but here students, are not likely to wait at tables, as its viewed as a lowly job,” he said.
“But this contest actually spotlighted that the hospitality industry is big and a gateway to other opportunities for waiters. There also are plenty opportunities to travel.” He said.
“The profile of waiting needs to be improved in Botswana.”
Lorato Orapelleng of BDF Officers Mess, says that the competition exposed her to the possibilities of the industry. “I learnt a lot about customer service from interacting with the other contestants and got to appreciate waiting as a profession which requires training,” she said.
Meanwhile, Muyenzelwa says the second time around she will approach hospitality businesses to be main sponsors of the competition, to avoid the previous mishap.┬á
“With the 2010 World Cup fast approaching, lot of people will be flowing into Botswana from South Africa,” she says, adding that they will be in direct contact with waiters, so it is high time the profile of waiting is raised with initiatives such as the Waiter and Waitress Pageant.
After only taking entrees in Gaborone in 2007, Muyenzelwa says she will be inviting entrees from Maun, Kasane Francistown, Ghanzi and Gaborone. Areas which she says, are concentration points for restaurants across the country.