Service an organized mess!

Discover a handful of key elements and techniques that can save you a heap of negative service feedback in the future.

Why is it that in today’s day and age it becomes more and more difficult to experience a seamless service in most restaurants.

There is almost an endless choice on the market and yet it’s surprisingly rare to come across something that feels like a well-oiled machine performed by a team of professionals that jell together like a F1 pit stop crew.

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In a typical restaurant it almost seems that all goes well till more than two tables show up and then everything tends to go haywire. One has to wait longer to be seated, nobody seems to know what table you are supposed to be at, it takes ages for drinks to show up, food order to be taken and everybody ignores the fact that you are asking for some attention.

Yet isn’t this supposed to be the ABC of our industry? Why is it that many establishments content themselves with focussing on food quality and neglect service?

One major element is staffing standards and staff profiles. Just like in any other business, there are true professionals and then there is the rest. I agree it’s probably easier to hire a student or a temp that just stopped working in a call-centre and thinks he/she will be just fine serving 5 or more tables simultaneously. It is indeed the easy way out but a guaranteed ticket to failure because even with years of experience and a proper education one still make mistakes from time to time.

Further question to ask is who is the captain at the helm? Do we actually have someone that can organise, motivate and manage a team?

We used to do a proper briefing before every service, try to understand what we could sell (or had to sell), know our products and our customers. Now everybody just walks in two minutes before starting their shift thinking all will sort itself out somehow.

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Following some simple steps can save you a heap of negative feedback in the future:

  1. Search for, recognise and hire talent,
  2. Remunerate fairly,
  3. Give your staff the right tools including standard operating procedures,
  4. Empower your staff,
  5. Have an experienced leader at the head,
  6. Perform pre-and post-service briefings,
  7. Reward and celebrate success.

Author: Olivier Verschelde, Senior Consultant at Lausanne Hospitality Consulting

This article first appeared in Lausanne Hospitality Consulting News on May 11, 2017.

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