Your lunch was fantastic but now you need coffee – and the staff are nowhere in sight. Your latte may be behind 5 other docketed orders whilst your lunch date is nearing to an end, but the last thing you need to do is freak out. This delay is most likely caused by a shift change or it’s your servers break time- but regardless, it has resulted in a system failure and you are not being looked after properly. To ensure that this chaotic delay does not appear within your venue, there’s a few tips to follow;
Implement a System:
Right now you’re under the pump and mayhem can commence at any minute- but it’s your responsibility to handle the situation and deliver a positive outcome. This customer fury may begin at the end of service, when the bill has arrived and they don’t agree with the numbers written before them. They will beckon you for questions and end with the decision to split the bill 6 ways- leaving you to deal with them for 20 minutes whilst your other tables build up momentum in the distance. Once this chaos hits its breaking point, your server will lose structure and forget the current situation of your remaining customers- which will break the entire flow within the floor.
There are many aspects which influence these problems, mainly being the fact that your staff are not trained well or are not used to being under the pump and dealing with fast paced pressure. This lack of know-how can lead to staff becoming too comfortable, complacent and further disregarding the need to follow a system. Systems are not only in place to increase turnover and profit, they are also enforced to ensure that errors do not occur and consistency is provided throughout each service.
How do your staff know what to do on a daily basis? It’s not hard to put the pieces together, because they merely repeat the same thing as the day before- unless you enforce it.
It would be fantastic if your staff understood the sequences of service necessary for each customer (we will cover that in another blog), but even well trained staff can forget these procedures at times.
By setting a rhythm within your venue’s service protocol, the likelihood of errors occurring will decrease significantly. However, this will only work if your staff agree to follow the set system on a daily basis and follow through with customer satisfaction. Confidence is the key ingredient in ensuring that your staff are able to make these necessary changes, as each guest’s experience needs to be individually handled and evaluated- whether that be anticipating another drink order from them to acknowledging how long their meal will take to be cooked.
Within the first moments of interaction with a guest, your communication skills must be in full force. From that first hello, keep the conversation going until your guests arrive at their seats- this will in turn initiate a positive relationship between customer and server and allow the night to flow on a mutual level.
Once seated, the customer’s will warn you of their possibly allergies and/or distastes, so be sure to note it down and follow through with their requests. When this scenario occurs, be sure to head straight to the kitchen and let the chef know of the problem, also ask for any other possible dishes he/she can deliver within those means. Also, whether you have delivered the information or not, write it down on the docketed order sheet! Chef’s are busy and will forget about your request unless it’s staring them in the face. While all this is happening, the customer will see your effort and understand that you are trying to deliver the safest and most enjoyable options for them and their dining experience.
Policies and procedures should be carried through and improved upon whenever possible- so be sure to check up on them when you next enter your venue. It will be in your best interest to follow through and check to see if each document is current and being implemented, so that your business will remain organised and efficient. By ensuring that your staff are committed and consistent, you can safely say that your customers will continually experience positive service.
By reminding your staff daily about the system implemented and giving them information on what’s currently happening in all areas of the venue, they will understand why tasks must be completed efficiently. It could be in regards to the times of turnover, in light of the chef’s requests or even how many times they must check up on a table during service- it’s all relevant depending on your business.
Running a hospitality business is hard work and ensuring that staff understand the system and feel as though they are involved in the business’s improvement, it will help lessen the stress of service.
For an effective result; run time sheets, checklists, briefings, Facebook pages- which can be as important as debriefing, thank your staff at the end of the day and of course talk about service problems so that solutions can be made for the following days ahead
In addition, examine your procedures; see whether they are current, if they can be improved, seek feedback from staff and customers, and finally adapt and communicate the changes made.