Good Service Often Depends on What Your Guests Really Want

People come into your restaurant in all types of moods and often for more reasons than to just get something to eat. What may be a proper approach and conversation style for one table, may be perceived very different and even negatively at another.

One of the most valuable skills a server can have is the ability to quickly sense why their guests came in, the frame of mind they’re in and then adjust their tableside manner appropriately.

For example:

  • A group of intent looking business people will likely prefer efficient service with a minimal amount of small talk.
  • The table of vacationers may want to engage in some conversation about their trip or some suggestions of things to see and do.
  • The family celebrating a birthday may want to take their time and might enjoy more server interaction and recommendations to make their special night even more memorable.
  • The harried-looking single mom or dad with a couple young ones would probably love a server to divert even just a few moments of their kids’ attention.
  • A glance at a watch or cell phone probably means the faster they can get in and out better.

Reading the table can also help to identify the person who is likely to pay the check and offer the opportunity to subtly recognize their position at the table.

Reading the table isn’t difficult and most good servers will eventually pick it up on their own but every server would learn faster and do a better job if they’re taught and then reminded on a regular basis.

Role playing and sharing experiences in pre-shift meetings can also reinforce these principles and raise awareness.

Help your servers give your guests the service they want to increase the odds your customers feel better served and more likely to come back more often.

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