In the food and beverage sector, it is not enough to know how to serve and tend to the guest.
Below are some points to look at, feel free to comment below if you think something is missing.
1. Greetings. First, guests need to be greeted and asked how’s the day gone by. In here, you will determine if the guests wants to be “entertained” or, “leave us alone” folks. You might have a nametag, but you can always mention your name noting that you will be taking care of them while dining in.
2. Guiding the guests to their table. Most case I found for new staff is that, they tend to miss the point. Not more than a meter and half is a perfect distance to meet the guests with eye contact. Bringing them to their table means, saying the words “follow me this way or this way please” will give the guess cue to move and follow you. Again, a good distance of not more than a meter and half.
4. Taking orders. In a casual or family restaurant, you can take both drink and food orders, as long as the guest/s is ready for their orders. This should be your best time to promote any specials that you have in house. Push for it, suggest and let them decide what to order. A piece of advice, being knowledgeable of your menu and specials is a guaranteed “Tip Maker”. Also, make sure that your words are encouraging, and the only way to know and earn this is by practice and a confirmation from your guests.
3. Presenting the menu. Though this is a scenario base, never assume that the guests know what they want to order right away. Your restaurant might be busy, always let the ambiance comfortable and give the guess some time to glance at your menus. In here, if you miss to mention your name, it is always good to say it so that it becomes a little personal, again a customer service practice.
5. Delivering drinks. 1 or 2 guests, you must use a serving bar tray. It is not only looks professional, but that is customer service. Some guest are “picky” eventhough they won’t tell you. Holding cups or glasses might raise a hygienic concern. So, the less and shortest time you hold the cup/glass, the better. Let the tray do its job. Make sure, you hold the cup or glass properly when dropping it to the table. You should not touch 2 inches near to the rim and your cups/glass should be spotless (no lipsticks, no machine dry spots and chip). If you can, just hold it with your thumb and 2 fingers.
As a rule of thumb, kids, grannies (grand dad/mom), ladies and gents. If you could include “nice” words such as “princess”, “queen”, “gentleman” etc, that’s another guarantees “Tip”. Besides, that is the aim of working in the industry, make the customer happy, the company happy, and You are happy.
6. Delivering of food. Another consideration the type of your restaurant, fast food, family or fine dining, time is important. Cold appetizers should come out in 6 minutes and hot apps should come out 10-12 minutes. Again, make sure to serve the kids, aged people, women and men. You can also repeat the “nice words” if you want. Waiting time for the main meal should depend on the guests, though, ideally, 8-12 minutes.
Always make sure, that you check the presentation of your plate. If you are not satisfied with the presentation (scattered food, dirty plates etc), DO NOT serve it.
Important: Check and ask your guests after two (2) bites from their meal. This is to avoid concerns, if there is any, before it becomes a complain. Being diligent is another skill to master in this industry. Happy customer, happy company and you will be happy.
Note: If appetizer and main comes together, just check on them from time to time. If it is not, then clear the dirty plates from the appetizer before you deliver the mains. Always, check with the kitchen by letting them know how far is your guest in finishing their appetizers.
7. Main dish. Check after two (2) bites again, this way you are sure that all is good and guest enjoys their meals. Ideal time to finish meal, 15 minutes. In between, you can glance at the table to know when is best to clear the empty plates. In here, you can check their drinks as well if they want refills or order different drink. Before you clear the dirty dishes, you can ask and offer desserts or coffee or tea at this time.
If the guest say no, then that’s a cue for you to print their check. In some place, they split the check evenly, in some they pay for what they eat. So, better ask if it is on one bill or not.
8. Thank the guest/s. As soon as you received payment, thank your guess for coming by, and always tell them to come back (we will see you again soon). In this part, if your company have a website and in social media, you can mention to them to leave a comment for their experience.
9. Cleaning your table. As soon as you are available, you must clean your table right away in order to be used for the “turn around” (wait lists). Make sure that it’s been wiped properly and sanitized and, if needed, reset and ready for another seating.
10. In some restaurants, there are kitchen helpers and dishwashers. But, in a small restaurant, you might have to help do the dishes yourself. That is, “team work”. You need to be part of the pact.
Last and importantly. Closing the restaurant. Just like any other shift, opening, mid or closing, you have to help clean and organize all amenities in the restaurant. Washroom, kids playroom, waiting area, dining area and others. It is not enough to just sweep, mop and wipe counters. It needs to be done properly.
At the end, the success of the operation of the restaurant relies on the work force. It can only be done when everybody takes responsibility.