Have you ever gone to a restaurant and felt like you were invisible? Imagine or relive— your dining experience that starts in a restaurant entryway—where you wait 15 minutes before being acknowledged. After all the apologies and excuses you wait another 20-30 minutes before being escorted and seated by the hostess.
There is an additional 10 minutes after you’ve been seated before a server comes to your table to take your drink order. So far, your experience has been subpar—to say the least. After looking at the menu you start to rethink your visit to this particular restaurant.
Your thoughts are that leaving at this point may not be a good idea—giving consideration to your accompanied guest as well as the hassle of finding another restaurant with more wait time. So there you are with 45 minutes vested in an experience that hasn’t reached midway. Throughout all the restaurant rigmarole you may start to feel like the restaurant is doing you a favor by serving you.
Hopefully your experience ends on a good note— assuming your server will pick up the slack by being extra attentive and pleasant. The server will do better by not harping on why the service is or was slow—and how the chef’s mother died or another chef is ill. The focus is simple and should be placed on the customer and the details of their experience— going forward. Does your dining experience start before or after you’ve been seated?
When it is all said and done—a restaurant experience good or bad will be a factor when tipping. For those who are bad tippers to begin with the outcome will likely not be a good one—for the server. Here’s a check list that can help servers get better tips. For starters when customers arrive they should be acknowledged with 60 seconds or less!
1. Personality—If you don’t have one—you’re in the wrong business!
2. Appearance—wear clean clothing, smock, shoes, and maintain clean finger nails and hair.
3. Greet your customers/party with a smile and pleasantry.
4. Introduce yourself by name.
5. If you have repeat customers—you should know them by name.
6. Don’t be abrupt—be calm and graceful.
7. Don’t seat customers with high chairs in awkward places such as; near the kitchen, bathrooms, too close to other parties—simple common sense.
8. Be accommodating and attentive.
9. Make eye contact with everyone in the party.
10. Don’t make excuses—customers don’t need to hear that the restaurant is extremely busy, etc., rise above it by providing exceptional service regardless of chaos in your mind.
11. Be a good listener—if a customer says water with light ice—remember it! Ignoring the details can be an irritant to customers— especially when they make specifications.
12. Be a good observer—pay attention to when a customer’s glass is half empty and replace it with a fresh one!
13. When customers have empty plates or bowls gracefully— remove them from the table.
14. Avoid reaching over, coughing or talking over food.
15. If bread or chips are served as a courtesy—be sure to give customers an option for more.
16. Don’t make a big deal about the bill— ask if the bill should be separate or all on one tab.
17. Always say please, thank you, and have a wonderful evening, afternoon, or morning.
This list is just a simple suggestion to add value to a server’s life experience and that of their customers. If you are a professional it’s good to refresh yourself on things you may already know and some you may not.