By Colin Kopel, Operations Consultant, Goliath Consulting Group
When I was a teenager securing my first table waiting job, my future boss told me, “No experience, no problem. Waiting table is so easy I could train my cat to do it.” Mr. Feldstein was partially right. We can train almost anyone to follow a simple outline on service. “Just greet them within two minutes of the hostess seating them, get them some drinks, and take the order.” That was the extent of service training we received at that deli and it highlighted what the owner prioritized. Service was more important than hospitality.
Have you ever looked at your OpenTable, Google, or Yelp reviews and noticed a diner left a comment like this:
“Service started out promising, but soon dropped off. Our server was attentive but seemed distracted. It’s like he didn’t want to be working tonight.”
Your first impulse as a manager/restaurateur may be pull the employee aside and discuss what caused the table to go sour. And sometimes it is one employee having a rough day. It may also be time to update how your restaurant integrates hospitality into every aspect of a guest’s experience.
First, let’s define Service and Hospitality:
Service is what your employees provide to guests in a quantifiable form. The physical steps they take from a moment a guest enters the building to when they leave to go home. It includes the greet, the order, the food delivery, financial transaction, and farewell. Every restaurant uses a training method for these steps in some form, be it a training manual, printout on the steps of service, or in-person employee training.
Hospitality is the atmosphere and environment that your employees provide for your guests. It’s the smile and positive attitude that exudes from your staff. It shows itself when employees walk guests to the restrooms instead of pointing, deliver fresh napkins when a guest drops theirs on the floor without being asked. Hospitality is the general feeling that it is your staff’s pleasure to take care of all their guests’ needs…not their job.
Training hospitality is not about printouts and manuals, it’s about culture and leadership. Restauranteurs and managers must prioritize it in their every action at the restaurant and it will trickle down through servers and bartenders, bussers and food runners, and even back of house staff. Employees notice when management lays down their inventory clipboards to happily lead a guest to the restroom and they certainly pay attention when restaurant leadership interrupts a side conversation with them to open a door for a guest. These are simple, yet effective, methods in showing your staff that hospitality is the primary focus of any restaurant.
For the month of August, Goliath Consulting Group’s blog will focus on three main ways you can train your staff to make hospitality the centerpiece of all they do. We will hone in on the following topics:
- Hospitality from the top. Ways Management can consistently cultivate and promote an atmosphere of hospitality first.
- Hiring for Hospitality. What key attributes should you be looking for during the recruiting process to promote a guest-focused culture in your restaurant?
- Cultivating lasting guest relationships. How can your restaurant use hospitality as a tool to create enduring, positive relationships with your guests for years to come?
If you would like to learn more about our innovative Hospitality and Service training programs, reach out to us at GetResults@GoliathConsulting.com. We offer customized solutions to help build teamwork, efficiency, check averages, and more. Get more information on Goliath Consulting Group on our website: goliathconsulting.com