The waiter (and waitress as well, but for convenience we are lumping everyone into one term) are the face of any food and beverage establishment. These men and women are on the front line any restaurant and the services they offer. One could argue that the services of a waiter are even more important (or at least as important) as the food that is served. As such, it the success of any food and beverage establishment is dependent on the quality services that its waiters provide.
Because waiters are an integral facet of the business operation of a food and beverage establishment, there duties in regards to guest service should be thoroughly detailed in a restaurant SOP (service operating policy). The restaurant SOP should cover the following points and much more.
A Successful Waiter Will…
- Be confident and friendly. Smile at guests and engage in useful conversation. Avoid personal talk, as guests are there to enjoy themselves and not help you through personal problems.
- Be accurate. Make sure you repeat everyone’s order back to them to ensure that you have it right. Nothing frustrates a guest more than to have their order messed up and the delays that result.
- Ensure guest satisfaction. After you deliver food to guests, take a few moments before leaving to make sure that everything is to the guest’s satisfaction. If drinks need to be refilled this is a good opportunity to do so. Also, check back in periodically to make sure that the guests have everything that they need.
- Not hover. While you want to make yourself available if the guest requires your services, once you have checked on them and they have everything they need, allow them to enjoy their meal.
- Keep an eye on guests. In connection with the last point, while you don’t want to hover over guests, you do want to be within eye contact so that if they signal you or otherwise want to get your attention, you will be able to respond quickly.
- Rush guests. Do not give the impression that you are rushing guests by asking if they are ready of their check or asking if they are finished eating. Instead, allow guests to signal when they are done and ready to pay for their meal.
- In addition to following the above duties, waiters should have a few common characteristics that allow for consistent success:
Attributes of a Good Waiter
- A good waiter is tactful.
- A good waiter is responsible.
- A good waiter possesses round knowledge of an establishment’s services and products.
- A good waiter pays attention to details.
- A good waiter is well dressed.
This is only a small sample of what the attributes and traits that comprise a good waiter or waitress that should be found in a restaurant SOP. For a restaurant manager, having personnel with these skills and characteristics is paramount for success. Much of this can be instilled with proper training. In addition to a restaurant SOP, every establishment should have a restaurant training guide that outlines procedures that allows food and beverage management to impart needed skills to personnel. Our ebooks, are terrific resources for establishing your own restaurant SOP and training procedures.