To ‘serve’, with love – Offbeat: M. Muthuraman
By Sanjay Pinto


The hospitality industry is known for rolling stones. If the staff don’t end up setting up restaurants themselves, they jump ship in a few years, often for a better pay packet  or designation. But some emerge as rare diamonds, polished by welfare schemes  of their employers.

For close to twenty five years, M. Muthuraman has been glued to brand Sangeetha. As a fifteen year old lad, he landed in Chennai from Arani in search of a job. Starting as a table cleaner,by dint of sheer hard work, he rose up the ranks- water boy to the Meals Section to almost a Supervisor. The loyalty stems from a pro-employee policy of the owner P. Rajagopal and encouragement from his General Manager Anand Mohan. Not only do the staff get the usual Provident Fund, ESI, House Rent Allowance and food, even the school fees of their children are taken care of.

(Pic: M. Muthuraman – Sangeetha, R.A. Puram)

What sets Muthuraman apart is his skill in customer relations. Most of the regular customers know this 40 year old employee by his name,and in turn, he knows their tastes and preferences, be it extra sambar, or chutney or coffee without sugar or more ghee on pongal. On birthdays of customers, he would serve a complimentary sweet.

Pouring outside? Muthu would keep an eye at the entrance to offer an umbrella. Senior citizen accompanying you? He’s there to hold the door or to request the parking attendants to help elders get into vehicles. Urgent home delivery? Call Jeeves.

The man’s demeanour can easily match that of any 5 star hotel staffer. And it is not determined by whether he gets a tip or not. Muthu values positive feedback more than  tips,as his boss forwards it to the entire group. You don’t need to rope in celebrities as brand ambassadors when you have an eager beaver in-house.

(Sanjay Pinto is an Advocate practising at the Madras High Court, a Columnist, Author, TV Political Analyst, Public Speaking Mentor & Former Resident Editor – NDTV 24×7)



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