I’m sure this has never happened to you: You go out to eat at one of your favorite places, you have been thinking about that juicy steak since about three that afternoon (if not in bed the night before, or whenever you found out where you would be eating), your mouth is watering, filled with anticipation of that first bite, it finally makes its way to your table, the server puts it down in front of you and walks away to go about whatever else they need to do in their section, you reach down for your knife and fork to dive into this long-awaited treat, and you realize you don’t have a knife and fork. Ugh.
I’m sorry if I come across like the restaurant Dad, but that is the purpose of this blog actually. Somewhat. It is true, not just in Portland but almost everywhere, that you can’t tell servers what to do, or how to do it. They already think they know everything. Except when they don’t.
We’re back to that training thing again. Train your servers to be more observant. Train them to care about the customer and what it is they are doing. Train them, if at all possible, to take their ego out of the equation and just serve. That is what they were hired to do. Make that the expectation, and don’t settle for anything less. Remember, they are out there representing you.
They need to look at the table every single time they pass by or visit their section. Does the customer need more water? Do they need silverware for the next course? Do they want another glass of wine? (Not only is this taking care of the customer, it is upping those sales, as well.)
So often, servers are just on auto pilot, just going through the motions. How many times have I heard this from a server: “Oh, I’m sorry.” “Oh, that’s right, you wanted another beer.” “Oh, I remember now, you wanted some fresh ground pepper on that salad.”
Just do it
Well. I’m sorry. I’m sorry that my deciding to eat at your restaurant is such an inconvenience to you. I’m sorry that I am reduced to using corporate brand sound bites–Just do it! Why did you bother to come to work today?
That sounds harsh, I know, but it is annoying. I know that servers get busy. I know that they often don’t have the support of management. I know that owners want to save on labor, turning those four table sections into six or seven table sections. But. I also know the difference between being busy and being indifferent.