Waitstaff Training: Set the Standards


We all want to have excellent service in our restaurants, but your standards don’t always align with those of your waitstaff. Be careful and clear when communicating your standards with your staff, as miscommunications can lead to unsatisfactory service and differences in service between waitstaff could harm your reputation with repeat customers.  

What Could Go Wrong?

If you only state a simple policy without making your standards clear, your staff could interpret things their own way or think that they can get away with technicalities when they’re busy instead of delivering truly great service. The following examples show just how some policies can backfire if the proper standards haven’t been set: 

Policy: Greet each table in a matter of seconds.
Outcomes: Is the greeting sincere? Do they rush by or take the time to stop at the table? 

Policy: Suggest an appetizer to each table.
Outcomes: Do servers have the knowledge to answer questions about the item? Do they sound robotic? Do they suggest the same item to each table or personalize the recommendations? 

Policy: Ask each table if they’d like dessert.
Outcomes: Are your servers ready to hand out, or list, the dessert menu? Do they have a suggestion in mind before asking?  

Policy: Say thank you to each guest.
Outcomes: Are employees making eye contact while saying it? Does the delivery seem sincere? 

What Can I Do?

You can avoid negative outcomes by making sure your servers understand your — and the restaurant’s — standards. Policies like saying “thank you” need to be backed up by the expectation that it has to sound sincere. You can say your servers need to suggest appetizers or bring up the specials, but they may not be prepared for questions about those dishes if you don’t communicate the understanding that they should know some details about each dish. 

Set Your Service Standards with Cycle of Service Service Training

With every guest who walks through the door, your staff should be striving to not only meet expectations but exceed them. Our restaurant service training follows the Service That Sells! Cycle of Service, breaks down a guest’s visit into separate steps from the moment guests pull into the parking lot until that final moment when they walk out the door. 

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