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Wait Staff: Do’s and Don’ts

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Having good wait staff is very important for the success of your restaurant. It’s a huge factor in the customer experience and should not be taken lightly. Think about the time you visited a restaurant and had a bad waiter. Did you want to go back to the restaurant? In most cases you would, and would go somewhere else. It’s all about training your wait staff properly and ensuring they stay consistent with what is taught. The bottom line is, people can eat just about anywhere, but they have to like where they are eating to enjoy the full experience. We outlined the Do’s and Don’ts below that every good wait staff should follow:

Do Utilize Equipment Properly
No matter if you have a POS system or other ordering system, it’s important that you are aware of the full functionality of the system. You wouldn’t want to mess up the kitchen by putting in a wrong order or even angering a customer because you weren’t paying attention.

Do Pay Attention to Your Section
A glass or plate can break in a matter of seconds, a customer could need an extra set of silverware at the drop of a hat, or an emergency could arise and a customer could need their check faster than usual. Don’t be afraid to swiftly walk through your section seeing if your customer’s need anything.

Do Be Friendly To Your Guests
Never use vulgar language or profanity around any customer. It can be very easy for a guest to be offended, and you don’t want that being reported back to your boss.

Do Write Things Down
You are not a computer and you can’t remember everything. Depending on the size of the party and the number of ways you can make a certain dish, it’s better to write it down than forget something or have the dish made wrong. Let’s say one of your guests in a large party has a deadly allergy for onions. Onions are made in a lot of dishes. Do you want to be responsible for hurting that guest because you forgot one little detail that you could’ve written down?

Do Know the Menu
It’s important to have the full menu memorized including specials. You don’t want to get caught with a customer asking you about a special they read online, and you have no idea what’s in it or how much it costs.

Do Keep Up With The Pace
Working in a restaurant requires someone who can work at a faced pace. Let’s face it, people don’t like waiting for their food or drinks. The fastest you perform for them is usually what makes customers the most happy.

Do Always Smile
Smiling more in front of your guests keeps the ambiance of the restaurant in a positive light. Guests want to see that you are happy spending time and serving them.

Do Prioritize Guests Properly
If you are a long time waiter, you are bound to get regulars and friends come in. It’s important to balance your interactions with those customers versus brand new customers. You are bond to spend more time with people you know, which is ok; just don’t forget any new faces.

Don’t Be On your Cell Phone
Put your cell away! It looks unprofessional and lazy if you’re constantly texting or on your phone in the work setting. Additionally, you could miss something important, like a guest needing a refill, or they need additional napkins.

Don’t Leave Empty Glasses Hanging
No one likes clutter when they are eating. If you are not bringing refillable pitchers to the table, then make sure you pick up any empty glasses when you give someone a refill. Not picking up glasses, is also another opportunity for melted ice to get spilled, and therefore annoying the guest and creating more hassle.

Don’t Sit At A Customer’s Table
You did not get invited to eat with the guest or guests so it’s not a good idea to sit down with them. It can be very intrusive and against someone’s personal space. If you can’t hear the person for some reason, try having them point to the menu item they wish or have them write it down.

Don’t Forget Small Details
Guests can be very finicky about how they expect their dining experience to go from the wait staff. If a guest says keep the sweet teas coming, you best not let an empty glass sit at his table. Every small detail adds up and is a big factor in your tip.

Don’t Anger Coworkers
Coworkers can be your best friend when it comes to serving. It’s important to not push them out of the way if you have demanding customers. Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance if their section looks slow, and don’t forget to share any tips at the end of your shift if necessary.

Don’t Overshare
Most guests are not your friends, and they don’t know you. It’s not a good idea to overshare with guests about your personal life. They don’t want to hear that wait staffs are unhappy with your job, your dog died, or some other personal detail that could make them feel uncomfortable.

Don’t Disappear
It’s never a good idea to disappear on your guests throughout their dining experience. Wait staff don’t decide to take a thirty-minute break after you put in their food orders. They could need drink refills, have questions, or want an update on how their food is coming along.

Don’t Disagree With a Customer
“The customer is always right” is a saying that every good waiter should have memorized. Wait staff may hate certain customers, but they are there paying for your service and it’s important to respect them.

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