Dinner and a Movie? Great Service Means….

August 30, 2017

in Editor's Bite,Food for Thought,Front of House,International,Side Dishes,Wine Cellar 13°C,home

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Written & Photographed by: Tom House

Remember restaurant owners and service staffs everywhere. People are coming into your restaurant as part of their evening out for entertainment. Did you ever think about the possibility that the lady you are waiting on spent a few hundred dollars on her new dress just to come to your restaurant? The people you are serving have been planning this special occasion for weeks! Make it memorable for them!! Here are some ways you can insure your guests will leave impressed and return with more people!!

One of the keys to great service in any restaurant is the time invested in staff training. Training is that magical word that brings preparation and passion together to make the elusive magic known as excellent or even five star service. Whether you are opening a new restaurant or trying to fix your existing one, start from scratch and take the time to train your staff thoroughly with great attention to detail.

No Matter if it is Fine Dining or Casual, Service Must be Consistent

What are your service policies? Do you have any? Create service policies and parameters for your staff to work within. Make catchy phrases that depict the type of service you want your guests to experience! For example: Treat all of our guests like Kings and Queens! Here is another: If you treat all your guests like VIPs, when you get a REAL VIP, you don’t have to change anything you are doing! These are actual phrases I have used in my Celebrity Service Seminars to get through to FOH staffs of today and give them something to strive for and relate to.

One of the scenarios I have always hated when I was a server was the manager creeping up behind me as I am greeting a new table and he says in my ear, ”These people are VIPS so take very good care of them!” Is the manager implying that the rest of the guests on my station are a bunch of losers and I should treat them like shit? No…of course not…but my statement was born – If you TREAT EVERYONE LIKE A VIP, WHEN YOU GET A REAL VIP you don’t have to change anything you are doing!

Back to training! I always have my staff study all existing menus; drinks, wine, dinner and lunch. I then give unannounced quizzes to ascertain who has the best knowledge and who doesn’t really care. You can even post the test scores and create your server and bartender schedules based on the best scores. That will get their attention and suddenly everyone cares!!

Next I like to address techniques of service. Everyone should handle wine service the same way… from the moment the bottle is retrieved, on its journey through the dining room, to presentation to the guest and ultimately opening of the wine. Everyone should do these important tasks the same professional way. I have seen servers carrying a bottle of wine through the dining room as if it was a chicken and he was choking it by the neck! Why not have a linen towel in your hand, cradle the bottle in the napkin and carry it respectfully through the dining room? This is the kind of finesse many restaurants are missing…and it is all so simple really!

I always remind front of the house employees that great service is really just a series and combination of lots of little details that when skipped, create that lack luster service

Give Wine and Your Guests the Respect They Both Deserve

we see all too often at restaurants big or small. Example: When a guest gets up from the table to use the bathroom, any employee near that table should quietly come over and refold the napkin the guest typically just drops on the table or chair. The look on the faces of the people still at the table says it all…IMPRESSED! If that same guest asks you where the bathroom is, don’t just point and say THAT WAY… take a moment to walk them ½ or all the way to the bathroom!

Something as simple as delivering a hot towel to a guest can be made very special too; bring a plate with the linen folded into a triangle with a slice of lemon on top and a tea pot of hot water! Pour it in front of the guest warning them to be careful! You can do this for as many as six people on one cocktail tray! Arrive at the table with flair, pour the water over the top of all 6 hot towels and deal them out like a card dealer!  IMPRESSIVE!

Make Sure Service Staff Knows ALL the Products Available

There should be finesse and flamboyancy involved in restaurant guest service. Ever heard of that saying DINNER and a MOVIE? Well if going out to restaurants was NOT entertainment, why doesn’t everyone just eat at home and then go to the movie?

I have so many more “tricks of the trade” I share with restaurant and nightclub staffs as a working consultant, but I will spare you and stop here. I truly love my consulting “work”. I could not get out of the restaurant business so I figured I would start teaching and problem solving from my 46 years of experience, and it has been rewarding in more ways than one.

Remember hospitality service people … GOOD SERVICE MEANS NEVER HAVING TO ASK FOR ANYTHING! See my Electronic Portfolio at ABetterHouse.biz

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