“All great dining experiences are tied to service—and decent isn’t good enough,” says Scott Harper, Business Consultant at Sysco Syracuse. Fortunately, you can train your staff to deliver great service. Here are five essential practices to teach your servers.
1.“Own” Your Section
One key to good service is to train and empower servers to think of their section as their own business. That means they should arrive a few minutes early, check and make sure that everything is there, from cutlery to condiments, and that it is clean and orderly. And remind them that every table is a sales opportunity, and not just a chance to take orders.
2. Be (Subtle) Salespeople
Customers are savvy and can see through a blatant upselling pitch. Servers need to get the customer’s attention, know the menu items inside and out and be able to make creative and appropriate suggestions and recommendations.
3. Don’t Make Assumptions
It may seem like a well-dressed and seemingly well-off customer might order more and be a better tipper than someone in jeans and a T-shirt. But this assump- tion is often wrong and can lead to poor service. Instead, all customers should be treated with respect. Andrea De La Piedra, Hispanic Segment Manager of Sysco Riverside, recommends servers she trains put themselves in the shoes of prospective customers and think through how they’ve been treated and how it made them feel.
4. Watch For “Prairie Dogs”
You’ve probably seen images of prairie dogs poking their heads out of their burrows and looking around. “Customers do the same thing when they need something,” says Bill Elliott, Director of Business Resources for Sysco Virginia. It may just be a glass of water, or there might bean issue with their meal. Training staff to spot and help these patrons quickly can mean the difference between a good and bad dining experience.
5. Radiate Positivity
Service with a smile may be a cliché, but for good reason. Approaching customers with a friendly attitude can make a huge impact. This goes beyond just the servers: Owners, managers and the whole staff should strive to create a positive and respectful environment where customers can’t wait to return again and again.