For 24 years now, I have been providing, critiquing, analyzing and teaching restaurant service from fast food to fine dining and from Tiki Beach Bars to Caribbean resorts. Here is what I have come up with – three words and one philosophy for GREAT Service.
Attitude – Some call it the “un-teachable” factor. I like to refer to this as “The absolute most important characteristic you should be looking for in an interview”. When you have a genuinely friendly person who can pass on a warm, inviting, light-up-the-room kind of smile to your guests, you don’t mind spending extra time to teach them the techniques.
Knowledge – Let’s be honest here, it does not take that much to know how to serve some guests. You need to know the computer system and have a basic understanding of the menu and kitchen layout. The day’s specials and table numbers would help too, but come on….we’re talking about GREAT service here! Service that enhances your guest’s experience – Service that is so amazing that the guest feels like they were the only guest in the restaurant. Knowledge of every single aspect of the entire business is pertinent to execute service on this level.
Attentiveness – The guests in your restaurant want to feel like they are being taken care of and the service staff has to be available to them to do that. Attentiveness will also allow you to be proactive in solving any problem. Every problem with a guest experience only gets worse the longer that they wait.
The philosophy is simple – If you want to give GREAT service then you have to run a GREAT restaurant, and I mean in every aspect of the business! Be great at ordering. Care about your staff. Take care of maintenance issues immediately. Pay your bills on time. In short, if you do what it takes to earn the respect of your staff, then they will be able to give amazingly GREAT Service. If your staff does not respect how you run the business, they will never pass that feeling on to your guests.