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Customer Service in Restaurants

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Diploma in Customer Service
Customer Service in the Hospitality Industry
Customer Service in Restaurants

Customer Service in Restaurants
The previous units of this module described the methods of achieving excellent customer service in the hospitality industry. This unit will explain how to achieve the same level of service in a specific area of the industry; restaurants.

Perhaps more than any other industry, delivering high quality service in hospitality is dependent upon preparation. This remains true in restaurants. For this reason, restaurant staff must always follow the preparation and personnel standards detailed on the following pages.

Preparation and Personnel Standards
1. Personal Hygiene
Nothing is more off-putting to restaurant customers than an employee that appears unclean. Such employees reflect very poorly on the restaurant and will likely have the customer question the health and safety standards of the kitchen.

With this in mind, the following rules of hygiene must be enforced:
Staff must be showered before work
Employees must maintain superb oral hygiene, brushing their teeth as well as using mouthwash
Hair must be kept neat and combed
Male staff members must shave before they begin work
Staff must avoid using overpowering smelling cologne, perfume or other cosmetics
Tattoos must be kept covered at all times

2. Dress code
Dress code is the next most essential restaurant personnel standard. As with hygiene, customers will view the dress of restaurant staff as reflective of the whole establishment.

The rules of dress for restaurant staff should be as follows:
Uniforms should be perfectly clean and pressed
Clean, dark comfortable shoes should be worn with clean socks
A cotton t-shirt should be worn under the uniform shirt
No jewellery is appropriate except for a wedding bands, engagement rings and small earrings
Name tags should be worn at all times

3. Mise en Place
Just as employees should appear prepared to customers, so should the restaurant table settings.

The mise en place procedure for restaurants should be as follows:
Before Opening: All tables should be set with clean tablecloths, polished silverware, glassware and china. Salt and pepper dispensers must be re-filled and chairs should be placed in their proper positions.
During Service: Following a sitting, the table-top should be crumbed and placemats should be changed before seating the next guests. Do not seat guests if the table is not completely set.
After Service: All tablecloths should be replaced in preparation for the following service.

4. Maintain Responsibility for Your Section
It is very important that restaurant floor staff maintain responsibility for their own section. As well as seating and taking orders this also includes cleaning tables after every sitting and service.

Staff should not expect co-workers to perform supplementary duties in their section. This will result in their co-worker becoming overstretched and their performance as a whole will suffer.

5. Follow Instructions:
During service, workers must follow instructions without questioning the supervisor’s judgment or motivation. Sometimes the manager may have to take-over from a staff member that makes a mistake.

If this happens the staff member must not take offence and understand that the manager is acting in the business’s best interests.

6. Deal with Disputes Calmly and Discreetly
If a number of employees have a disagreement they must be deal with it calmly and without offending each other. Furthermore, they must deal with in private and away from the customer.

Staff should never confront each other on the dining room floor and never make a scene in front of customers.

Restaurant Service Essentials
Restaurant Service Essentials
Once the staff and dining room are prepared service can begin.

For the customer to experience excellent service specific methods and techniques of work must be followed.

Click on the markers below for a detailed description of these methods.

Welcome the Guest
Every set of customers that arrive at the restaurant should be welcomed.

The employee nearest to the door at the time of entry must welcome the guest and ask to take their coats.

If it is the employee’s role to escort customers to a table he/she should do so right away. If not, he should inform the floor manager of their arrival.

Acknowledge the Client
Before being seated, every guest should be acknowledged by all floor personnel passing by, even when waiters are carrying trays at the time.

A light nod of the head is sufficient especially in a more formal restaurant.

Nothing upsets the customer more than feeling ignored.

Table Service
As the patrons arrive at their table their waiter should pull out their chairs.

The menu should be presented to the right of the customer and opened on the correct page.

Bread and butter should be placed on the table as soon as the drink order is taken, and replenished as soon as the bread and butter are consumed.

As beverages or water are consumed, refill and take orders for additional beverages.

Be Knowledgeable
The waiter taking the order should be able to describe every item on the menu.

He/she should know what the food looks like, the recipe, the taste, and the method of preparation.

He/she should also know the history and statistics of the establishment.

Move Gracefully
Servers should not move around the dining room clumsily but rather try to move as gracefully as possible.

Graceful staff add an atmosphere of sophistication and professionalism to a dining room.

This element of service is given such importance that many three Michelin star restaurants hire choreographers to teach staff to move with elegance.

Be Discreet
During service servers should try to be almost invisible. Address the guest only when necessary such as when taking orders, serving food and beverages, and collecting the check.

When re-filling glasses, replacing ashtrays, replacing silverware and clearing used dishes staff should try to be as unobtrusive as possible.

Customers prefer when these tasks are done quietly and swiftly.

Use an Under-Liner
For everything brought to the table except china, use an under-liner. Under-liners add elegance to the dining experience and alleviate any concerns the customer may have about the passing of germs.

The following under-liners should be used in a restaurant:
• A beverage tray for glasses
• A lined caddy for condiments
• A lined plate for silverware
• A tray for tea/coffee cups and saucers, etc.

Customer Service in Restaurants
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