I have to thank our Expos VP, Steve Barber, for sending me this one.
In recent years, one of the most popular speakers at our trade shows has been Joel Cohen of RestaurantMarketing.com. The site bills itself as “Real World. Real Time. Real Honest.” and the story below is a perfect example of the kind of honest advice you’ll find on the site, and through Joel’s weekly WOW! e-newsletter:
One hundred issues ago, (Wow #76), I shared an article that Scott Smith, who heads up The Springfield Restaurant Group — www.springfields.com – had submitted to me. Because of its importance, and as we head into the “2009 home-stretch”, I want to feature it again.
Scott said, ” We put together a list of what servers say that will kill your business. I’ve been on a campaign to make sure all our wait staff work hard on connecting with the guest and eliminate these cliches from their vocabulary. We’ve proven – and our sales bear it out — that connecting with the guest with the right words really does work!”
The 10 Things Our Servers Will NEVER Say To Our Guests
10. “Hang on to your fork”
Our servers will never tell a guest to hang on to their knife or fork following a course so that it can be reused for the next course. Clean flatware will be automatically offered.
9. “No problem” -
No one will ever say this in response to a request from a guest, or as a reply when a guest says “thank you.” You will say, “my pleasure” or “you’re welcome.”
8. “I will get the manager”
Every server is empowered to handle a guest complaint immediately. If a guest does not like their meal, you will apologize and offer the menu to the guest to make another selection. You can then notify the manager to help expedite the meal and visit the table.
7. “I’ll get your server”
If stopped by a guest outside your section, you will promptly honor and fulfill their request. Every server works for every guest.
6. “Good choice”
Servers shall not congratulate the guest on their “good choice” each time you order an entrée.
5. “Still working on that?”
A guest should never be asked if they are “still working on that?” If they find eating our food to be “work,” then we have done something wrong.
4. “You guys”
No server should ever refer to guests as “You Guys”. Guests will be properly addressed as ladies, gentlemen or as a mixed group.
3. “How is everything?”
This is a mindless, boring cliché that prevents you from connecting with your guest. Servers will ask specific questions pertaining to what the guest ordered.
2. “I recommend everything”
Another mindless, lazy response when the guest asks you “What do you recommend?” You should first ask the guest what they prefer to eat. Servers should then recommend their favorite dish to the guest.
1. “Hi, my name is __ … and I’ll be your server tonight”
This is really dumb! First you’re stating the obvious and putting attention on yourself instead of the guest. Instead say something like “Good evening, welcome to the SpringfieldGrille. I’m glad you decided to join us tonight.” Make sure you greet the table with a bright smile and make direct eye contact.