Your service is based on one simple principle: thoughtfulness for your guests will translate into a greater experience and therefore better tips. If the guest piles unwanted items onto a plate, do you think they would prefer it thrown away and replaced with a fresh plate or have it stay on the table? Many actions can be decided in this manner and you will soon find yourself with guests who request to sit in your section because they know you take great care of them.
When you greet your table you should actually be greeting them. Do not use a robot like greeting that is insincere. Actually look them in the eye and say hello. Listen to what your guest wants and try your best to accommodate them. Sometimes a guest will seem excessively demanding but if you realize that they may have had a bad day before this, then you can figure out what you would like to happen if you were in their shoes.
Would you like a waiter or waitress that became defensive and antagonizing, or would you like to be brought up in your mood and have your attention redirected so that you can begin to have a good night? Everything seems simple and obvious when you get a better perspective. Try to think of every scenario from a viewpoint outside of yourself and your guest. Look at the bigger picture. Surprisingly, you may find this change in viewpoint will affect other parts of your life.
When a guest orders drinks, you want them to enjoy the drink. Because you want them to enjoy it, you suggest a call liquor. Of course there is a higher cost, but when genuinely done from the perspective of helping them enjoy their evening, you ultimately both “win” and they don’t feel like they were “sold” something expensive. It is a slight difference in viewpoint but it can make a huge difference in guest satisfaction.
When reseting tables after guests leave, be sure to wipe down condiments and pay attention to the details. Also, try to tidy up the table in general between every course and say something like, “here, let me clean this up a little bit so you can enjoy yourselves better.” There is no reason to ever have dirty plates or empty glasses on the table.
Pour water and tea by lifting their glass away from the table so that no condensation drops on them and you won’t accidentally pour the pitcher on them. Never let sodas and other non alcohol drinks get completely empty. This can convey to your table that you are thoughtless or incompetent. Soda and water refills are a great thing to ask for help with if you are having trouble handling all of your tables.
If you find your guests apologizing for something or even trying to justify something they have done, then you should immediately find a way to make them feel comfortable. People have a tendency to apologize when it’s not necessary if they have become uncomfortable in a situation. Your business is making the guest comfortable and ensuring that they enjoy their evening.
Imagine you are a guest in a restaurant about to order; the time is 9:55pm and the server says, “our kitchen closes at ten so we have to get the order turned in right now.” From the servers perspective he is trying to help the guest. But if the guest now says, “oh, we can go somewhere else. Sorry we inconvenienced you,” then the server did something that made them uncomfortable. Your clue is the fact that they have apologized. The best thing to do is immediately apologize back to any guest that is apologizing to you and explain why they are totally fine and everything is alright. Try to reframe what you did and explain the reason you did it so they are totally comfortable again. Use your best judgment in deciding how to word this.
When the guest has finished and you have presented the check, be certain to pick up the change or the signed credit card slip. When you neglect to do this, it conveys a lack of appreciation for the tip they have left you. This also helps you prevent accidents such as the guest leaving an unsigned slip, not filling in the tip line or even forgetting their card.
Do not neglect the guest after they have paid. Your service does not end until they go out the door. Even then, you may need to help an old lady or two out to their car.