Thanksgiving and Black Friday can be true tests of your waitstaff’s ability to cope with pressure. Great income, but highly stressful. If they didn’t do so well, it may be time to take a look at your training systems. Under pressure, bad habits can come out and these need to be nipped in the bud even if they only pop once or twice a year. What should you be hashing and rehashing to your servers?
Learn the Signs
Your waitstaff should be able to read the signs that a patron wants something. There are specific signals, like making eye contact, that they must learn.
Learn About Your Customers
You’ve probably heard about the 80/20 principle. 80% of your income is probably made from 20% of your customers. Your waitstaff should learn to recognize the regular customers and learn their likes and dislikes. It not only keeps them coming, but an attentive waitperson can earn a lot of tips this way.
Be Careful With Your Words
The wrong word can turn off a customer, but so can the wrong tone or level of formality. Even with people who are regulars, there’s a certain decorum that must be maintained. The necessary level will depend on your style of dining, but in general it’s best to be more formal than less formal. Even when stressed, your waitstaff should maintain composure.
Be Aware of the Basics
When someone has worked in a job for a long while, they might become too comfortable with it. Their uniform might be dirty or their hair might be askew. Clean servers are necessary for great service. A dirty waitperson is one of the biggest complaints at restaurants.
Give Out the Attaboys (One for the Restaurant Managers)
Or attagirls. Don’t be afraid to praise the people who work with you when they’re doing a good job. They’re busting their butts to make sure that your customers receive the best possible experience. Praise goes a long way. It shows that you’re noticing their efforts and that you’ve got their back. And the happier your people are, the more likely they’ll spread that joy to your diners.
Face the holiday season with happiness and joy, and you’ll be set to not only fill your coffers, but make customers for life.
Thanks go out to Alan Light on Flickr for the Creative Commons use of his picture.