As more people return to working in the office, many full-service restaurants are finally experiencing a lunch rush again. Lunch-hour guests are often watching the clock carefully, and that requires a unique level of service. Are you and your staff prepared to get the clock-watchers in, out, and back to the office? Here are some tips to improve restaurant service to guests who are in a hurry.
Make Everyone a Host
If you use a host seating system, train every employee on the table numbers and the proper way to seat guests. Then have everyone near the entrance available to seat guests, as necessary, when the lunch rush begins. This will also keep the host up front, ready to greet every guest immediately and keep control of the seating system. Guests will remember this time-conscious first impression the next time they’re making lunch plans.
Get Off to a Good Start
For top efficiency, have every server seat their first table. That way they’re immediately on top of their first turn and they’ll be better able to stay out of the weeds throughout the shift. Don’t allow servers to begin their shift standing in the service area or in the kitchen. No one should ever have to track down a server to tell them that guests are waiting.
Create Speedy Specials
Have popular lunch specials every day that are easily assembled. This not only provides fast execution in the kitchen, but also aids in the prep cycle. Teach servers the right words to sell the specials. For example, instead of just saying “We have a half-sandwich with soup lunch special,” a server could say, “Our most popular lunch special is the half-sandwich with a cup of soup. My favorite is the turkey club, and our French onion soup is very popular.”
Brush Up On Product Knowledge
Guests rely on servers to guide them through the menu, asking questions and offering suggestions tailor made for each guest. During the lunch rush, servers must be able to answer questions immediately and accurately. Guests who are watching the clock won’t want to wait for a server to go check with the kitchen to find out if the tacos have sour cream. Train your servers to be prepared with the four Ps of product knowledge: portion, preparation, presentation, and price.
Be Check Ready
Train servers to be check-ready. Every time something is added, the check should be re-printed and ready for presentation, even if guests aren’t ready to leave. If servers suggest dessert the guests decline, the check is ready to be placed on the table — no extra trip back to the POS area to print the check. Presenting and reconciling the check quickly lets guests know you appreciate their time.
Restaurant Service and Sales Training
The Service & Sales Excellence Waitstaff Training Series is based on Service That Sells!, a restaurant training philosophy developed by restaurant owners for restaurant owners. Click here to learn more.