There is actually a list put out (maybe by the National Restaurant Association?) on the priorities that servers are expected to follow during a typical shift in a restaurant. I will bore you with some of the other things on that list a bit later, but want to start with the one on the top of that list.
Hot food hot, cold food cold.
There are so many reasons why this one is at the top of the list. The most obvious one is that when the food is ready to be served, it should be served immediately. We want customers, many of whom are paying a lot of money, to be able to enjoy the food the way it was intended by those cooking it.
I will admit, sometimes those cooking it go unnecessarily too far when yelling at the servers to take it out. HOWEVER, management is the one to blame in those situations. Make sure those servers understand that this must be priority number one. Get that food out.
Make nice with the kitchen
It is also important that those servers respect the line cooks and what they just created. If only to make it look nice that you care about what they do, again I say: Get that food out.
I watch as servers waltz in at 4:30, fold some napkins, eat some food, chat about whatever with their fellow servers, all the while showing no respect to those who got in to work at noon to create the food those servers get to bring to the tables.
I watch as they drink a beer, or a glass of wine and count their money in front of those poor line cooks who will end up staying much later than the servers, cleaning up the mess of the day, and make much less money in the process.
Show a little respect
Again, I point to management for not putting the kibosh on such activity. Show them a little respect. Don’t count your money in front of them. If you can help it, don’t drink that ice-cold beer in front of them. And for God’s sake, get the food to the tables when it comes up in the window.
I maybe got a little carried away with that one, but there are other priorities when it comes to restaurant service. Here is the list:
1) Food Out (Did I mention that yet?)
2) Bring them the check when they are ready to go.
3) Say hello right away (Whether at the door, or at the table)
4) Check back (Are they enjoying the food?)
5) Take the order
6) Clear the table
7) Re-set the table (Remember, the restaurant wants to make money)
8) Refill drinks (This probably belongs around 3 or 4, not #8)
Well there you have it. See that your servers are addressing these priorities, and you will have happy, returning customers.