The industry you’re in is diverse; it can cover high-end restaurants and world-class hotels to literally saying, “would you like large fries with that?” But the key to all is great service – whatever the level. So how can you get the best response from your customers whilst making the best of yourself? We’ll let you into a secret or two.
1. Smile and Be Polite
The first step to be a better waitress starts with a smile. A smile can say a great deal about your restaurant as well as you. It puts your customers at ease – especially if it’s their first time dining with you. That said, don’t look like you’ve just been to the Botox clinic, just relax and be naturally happy to greet your customers. This is also likely to increase your tips.
2. Know your menus
Ok, it’s a huge task, especially if the menu changes frequently, but your customers’ opinion of you and the restaurant you’re representing will increase favourably if you take the time to memorise your dishes – including the ‘Specials’. It will look so much more professional when you don’t have to take the menu from your customer to copy their order to your notepad. Talking of notepads, it’s always an added service bonus if you can remember your customers’ orders so that you can ditch the notepad and pen altogether.
3. Refrain from lying or embellishing
Simply, if you don’t know the ingredients, what the dish tastes like or even how to pronounce it, find someone who does. Your customer will respect you more for your honesty knowing they’ll get the right answer regarding their choice. Similarly, don’t over-embellish the dishes – your customer won’t want to hear that everything on the menu is to die for. Nor will they believe you. In short, see “Know your menus.”
4. Stand and deliver
Your customer isn’t a child (those that are paying at least) so best not to crouch down when taking their order as if you were about to apply a plaster to a grazed knee. Nor should you help yourself to a seat – being amenable is one thing, but too familiar is a big no no. Best just to stick with what you know… and that’s being on your feet in this situation at all times.
5. Keep your customers on side
Why not avoid knocking over the drinks in the middle of the table and wafting your armpit in the face of the customer to your left by simply refraining from leaning across the table to serve another customer. Table manners apply to you as well as your customers, so always serve your customer whilst next to them. You won’t save time by breaking this rule – or your job.
6. Customers are your priority – don’t make them wait, don’t make them rush
Waiting for the bill or just generally waiting is usually accepted as the norm by customers who frequent a good, busy restaurant or bar, but it’s not acceptable to keep them waiting while you finish telling Gemma on Concierge about the antics on the previous night’s showing of Celebrity Big Brother. Nor is it advisable to begin clearing the table before customers have finished their pudding course. Give them a 20-minute ‘window’ after serving their coffee to see if they order anything else. When you’re certain they aren’t, quietly slip the bill onto the table so that they can pay without having to wait to ask for it.
7. Check twice, serve once
It’s a good idea to check the dish coming from the kitchen before you serve it (rule number 2 would be handy here); it saves embarrassment should the order be wrong. Have it put right and inform your customer that you weren’t happy with the order and you’re having it rectified. Chances are your customer won’t mind waiting a little longer knowing that their order is correct and that you’ve personally taken the time to ensure that it is.
8. Last but not least…Appearance
I want to be served by a smart, well-mannered and well-groomed waiter or waitress. Individuals looking like they’ve just got out of bed, run to work and straight to my table isn’t really a good start. So make the time before your shift; iron your clothes, pay attention to your hair, use little or no fragrance as customers want to smell their food not you, and don’t forget the right footwear.
Also as you’re constantly dealing with food and utensils and potentially customers, it’s really important to keep washing and sterilising your hands regularly to avoid possible cross contamination. Some restaurants may now require you to wear a facemask and gloves while serving customers. If this is the case make sure you always follow the business guidelines around when to wear them and replace them.
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Thankfully, as well as the above serving tips that will explain how to be a better waitress, there is another little secret we can help you out with. Simply click on the download below for your FREE eBook. And remember, to deliver a Silver Service you first have to apply a few golden rules.