As a leading supplier to waiters and waitresses, we have heard hundreds of stories and tips from our customers, so we decided to compile all that knowledge together in the waiting-on guide below. If you are a waiter or waitress, or looking to become one, these tips will help you progress your career!
First and foremost, always appear presentable. You’ll feel so much better taking pride in your appearance. Remember that you’re representing your restaurant, so give off the best impression possible by dressing appropriately, smartly and wearing the right footwear. By the same token, you don’t want to offend your customers by dressing too extremely. Show that you care about both your appearance and job. Go easy on perfume or aftershave, the customer wants to smell the food, not you. Hygiene is of course imperative and your uniform should always be sufficiently ironed and clean.
Manners are important in any situation, but when dealing with customers, take extra care to mind them.
Customers will expect a server to be well mannered and do everything possible to help. Ensuring these expectations are met will not only send out a good impression, it will also put you in line for a good tip! This can be as easy as smiling while saying please and thank you. The simple touches make all the difference.
The Restaurant & Menu
As you have done with your own appearance, you should always make sure the restaurant is at it’s best. Make sure all items are clean and fully inspected before placing them on the table. Nobody after all wants to sit down to a table with dirty glasses or cutlery. Don’t be apathetic when it comes to smudges and watermarks. Such blemishes are very easy to see and can give the wrong impression of complacency throughout the restaurant.
Once the customers are seated the next stage is the ordering process and you should know your restaurant’s menu inside and out. This will save you time, especially when taking orders and the customer will be much more impressed if you can memorise the menu without checking. It’s a great idea to familiarise yourself with the specials before each shift.
In today’s modern world it has become increasingly likely that you will be asked about food preferences. Whether it’s organic, locally sourced, GM free and/or free range. Then there’s the more important health and ethics problems; vegan friendly, gluten or dairy free and in terms of religion; whether the meat is halal or kosher, therefore research the menu and ask the chef to clarify these points before you are asked by a customer.
As soon as diners receive their food they expect to be able to eat it straightaway. If the order is wrong, they will be more annoyed than if you had noticed earlier. Rather than waiting to take the incorrect order to the table, relay the order back to the customer before the kitchen progresses with the food preparation. They will appreciate the attention to detail, as will your colleagues in the kitchen.
When serving at the table, stretching across a diner to reach another can be seen as impolite. This is not only rude, but can be very uncomfortable for a customer especially whilst they are eating. Move around the table to tend to each customer. If the table position doesn’t allow for this, it could be an improvement suggestion to the owner.
Creating the Perfect Ambiance
Never neglect a table. Customers should never be ignored, no matter how swamped you are. Make sure either you or someone who isn’t so busy can tend to your table. Like a duck in water; you can give the impression of being calm, steady and relaxed but underneath we know your feet are working tirelessly to keep the smooth ship sailing. This gives a delicate balance as hovering is a pet hate of many people, it can make the customer feel uncomfortable and also makes you look like you have nothing better to do. There is always something which needs cleaning, or someone who needs your help.
The ambiance of the restaurant is also crucial to the dining experience, try not to allow anyone in the restaurant to catch you idly chatting or acting unprofessional. Customers want to be in a reserved, relaxing atmosphere at all times. Diners and your boss expect you to constantly act professional, after all this is your job and you wouldn’t act unprofessionally in any other environment.
How do you grow restaurant sales in 2020? How do you take your venue to the next level, whilst motivating your team and staying ahead of the competition? Our guide details everything you need to know!