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Richard Saporito
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President/Owner of Topserve Restaurant Consulting & Waiter Training
President/Owner of Topserve Restaurant Consulting & Waiter Training

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Restaurant Service Training:
Teach The Host How To Greet The Customers Properly


by Richard Saporito

A moment of truth is an opportunity whereby a customer forms either a good impression or a bad impression about the restaurant service quality. Millions upon millions of “moments of truth” occur out there in the restaurant customer service world, but the successful businesses register the highest percentage rate of good impressions. It means everything to their image and reputation.

The host is such an important part of the “dining room service experience” as he or she is the first person the customer sees and the last person the customer says goodbye. First impressions are lasting impressions.

Therefore, the host must dress nicely being neat and clean. The host must always be upbeat, friendly, and helpful to customers. the true purpose of guest seating is to make “every table seem like the best table in the restaurant!”

The telephone must be courteously answered stating the restaurant’s name and asking, “May I help you?” Whenever taking a dining reservation, one must politely ask for the name and the number of people in the party, date and time of the reservation, and the contact telephone number.

Also, special requests should be noted, such as birthday guests, high chairs, customer food allergies, or the need to be seated at a specific table or location in the restaurant (for example, far from the window on a cold night; close to the window on a beautiful day). This information must then be recorded in a Reservation Journal that eventually will be transferred onto the Daily Reservation Sheet.

During busy hours, the customers waiting for an open table in the lobby or sitting at the bar can be offered menus to pass the time. In some restaurants, hors d’oeuvres are served to customers who have been waiting a long time for an open table. All ways and means must be exhausted to prevent customers from leaving to dine at another establishment-even if it means offering some complimentary items.

If the host is not busy seating customers, they can purvey the dining room for customers in need of service and relay such information to the waitstaff. This is up to the discretion of the host, for they should never stray too far from the Front Door.

So you see, the host who does the greeting at the front door is extremely important as the reputation and the bottom line are affected by the host’s restaurant customer service performance.

********************************************************************************

About the Author:


Richard Saporito is the Founder of Topserve Restaurant Consulting, author of “How To Improve Dining Room Service.” If you’d like to improve your restaurants’ service reputation and increase sales, contact Richard today for a Free Initial Consultation by calling (888) 276-4808 or visiting his Contact Page.
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Restaurant Service Performance Evaluation #254

Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to review________ and help

The best way to start a Restaurant Service Consulting and Training Project is with a discreet Restaurant Service Performance Evaluation.

Below is Review #254:

********************************************************************************

Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to review________ and help out with upgrading the restaurant dining room customer service.

I will highlight all of the notable good points and bad points of the table service, so learning and constructive discussion can take place.

Here is my review for Tuesday night, 5/22:

-We were greeted nicely at the front of the dining room by the Busser

-He said to sit wherever and he would come over with menus.

We sat, were handed menus asked for drinks ordered a large bottle of Pellegrino

*We were served the Pellegrino and then ordered.

- I asked about the app stuffed mushrooms (what’s inside?)

*The response by the waiter was only “breadcrumbs” (I will be critical on menu knowledge and description of the menu.)

*Here, the waiter could have described the mushroom stuffing better
(e.g. –“breadcrumbs seasoned with garlic, herbs, butter” etc.—not just “breadcrumbs”)

--My assistant asked how many shrimp come with the Scampi
(the response was 5-6 depending on the size)—she ordered the Linguini Shrimp Special.

-The Waiter did make us aware of the Specials

--I asked the Waiter: “What do you recommend?”

*The Waiter responded explaining a veal dish sautéed with some delicious ingredients. He said it was not on the menu, but a great dish (It was Veal Sorrentino) I was impressed that he offered a great dish to me (not on the menu).

-I ordered Calamari appetizer to share and Veal Marsala for the main course.

-We were not offered Wine, but I inquired—asking what is a nice dry white wine?
The response was “Pinot Grigio” (Correct!)

But, then I asked about the Cabernet and the response was simply “It’s a red wine” (Poor)

The response could have something mouth-watering like: “deep berry flavor with hints of chocolate”

-The Wines are described on the menu which is great. But, the guest may not read it/or want to read it. So, the Waiters must be able to describe and serve all Wines.

-I ordered a glass of Chardonnay, was served timely, but the glass was placed on my left side.

The Wine glass must be served on the right side of the guest--- in front of the water glass.

***************************************************************

More on Wine Service:

We did not order a Bottle of Wine, but I noticed the Waiter open about 3 bottles of Wine in the dining room.

Some of the issues are as follows:

*I’m pretty sure that I saw a bottle of white wine/rose was served without a wine bucket of ice. Also, no clean napkin was brought out with the bottle.

*Before opening a bottle, the top cover piece of the bottle was torn off and placed on the table (piece should be put in pocket/hidden)

*For each of the 3 Wine opening I witnessed, the cork was being pulled from the bottle, but NOT placed on table.

The cork was held in the corkscrew while guest tested wine. (The cork must be placed on table for guest to examine –if needed)

*While guest tests the wine, the label must be shown to other guests (Was NOT done)

*I did hear he waiter ask a guest if they wanted to test the Wine.

The guest must always be offered to test the Wine—(no need to ask)

Note***--- We will go over all of these concepts on Wine Service Training Day. (6/5)—Tues.

PS - A lot of Wine Bottles were being served as I witnessed. I see great potential in upscaling the Wine Service at _______.

*************************************************************

-The Waiter collected the menus, though did not say thank you after taking order.

-Calamari was served, but with no share plates. It would be nice to bring out 2 small plates ahead of the dish to be served/shared.

*We did use our bread plates for the app, but my butter chip wrapper ended up mixed into some of the sauce.

*Calamari and sauce were excellent: Nicely cut, fresh, properly cooked, tender, soft, easy chewing. Sauce—fresh with a bit of spicy

*We finished Calamari and table was bussed properly (we were asked if we were finished before plate removal) I noticed the Waiter was helping to Bus tables in the dining room quite often and cleared very well.

-When the Main course was served, the dishes were announced, but the guest positions were unclear. Therefore, food was auctioned off.

**************************************************************
Important Note** If we can instill guest position/pivot points, then we can definitely improve the restaurant customer service immensely. Food will not have to be auctioned off—especially when music is being played in the dining room.

The most important part here is: Can position/pivot points be programmed easily on the computer system? (Discussion Time)


-When the app was bussed, my butter knife was taken, but not replaced.
(The Waiter should do this.)

-Waiter did check back during the main course to see if everything was OK

-The Veal was tasty, nice sauce, but the portion looked a bit small for the price.

-The Linguine Special was tasty as well. But maybe the sausage could have been cooked to crispy. (Good deal for the price)

-Plates were cleared timely and efficiently. (Again, we were asked if finished.)

--We were offered dessert menus and chose the lemon dessert,
It was an excellent dessert with a great presentation.

-We were not offered coffee/cappuccino, therefore did not order.

We were handed the check and thanked. Though after I paid, the waiter took the checkbook back and opened it immediately ---a few steps away, yet within my sight.

My only thinking is that he was checking the tip that I left (25%).
(I wish I could be corrected here.)

******************************************************************Another important issue that requires some discussion is “tray service”—something that you may have already tried in the past.

Unfortunately, I saw one of the Worst service errors Tuesday nite—(Busser put fingers in the glasses to carry into dishwasher)—Ouch!

This must never happen in the dining room.
*****************************************************************
Overall, on the big picture, the Waiter seemed genuine and eager to please guests. Oh so important in a neighborhood establishment.

The course timing was very good and we did not feel rushed, yet did not wait long for anything. I did notice the Waiter physically checking our table to see where we were at in the dinner service.

I pressed a little bit with questions, but he held his patience for the most part. We could easily come back here to dine.

The Waiter did have good control of the dining room which was almost completely full at one point.

And, most/all guests seemed quite content and enjoying the dining evxperience.
But, as you can see from my report, the “mechanics” or physical part of the service needs work and polish.

As a Restaurant Service Consultant, I will attend to this in getting these mechanics and attitude in sync.

END

Richard Saporito is the Founder of Topserve Restaurant Consulting, author of “How To Improve Dining Room Service.” If you’d like to improve your restaurants’ service reputation and increase sales, contact Richard today for a Free Initial Consultation by calling (888) 276-4808 or visiting his Contact Page.



Improve Restaurant Service Reputation and Increase Sales Immediately!
How to Improve Dining Room Service
$27 - Order Now!



Waiter Training DVD!! - (Exceeding Expectations)
Culinary Institute of America (Cornell University)
$97 - Order Now!




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Improve Restaurant Service Through Balance and Consistency

by Richard Saporito

There are 2 words that I constantly repeat while helping restaurants to improve their dining room service; balance and consistency. Both concepts can easily be applied to restaurants where waiter performance is basically 1/2 physical abilities and 1/2 mental abilities.

The physical aspects of balance is obvious; carrying/serving more than one plate at a time, carrying/serving cocktails on trays, balancing one’s feet while in motion etc.

For physical consistency, it amounts to not only excellent physical condition, but also the consistency of the waiter service skills and technique, or the “consistency of balancing” – if you will.

Physical consistency is how one carries his or herself in the restaurant dining room, and the physical vibe (body language) that is emanated as well. This affects diners who are trying to enjoy themselves out and away from the stresses of daily life.

There also has to be a mental balance to a waiter’s performance as well such as being realistic about the amount of tables that can be handled at one time or asking for help from other waitstaff when overloaded with too many tables on an especially busy night.

Basically, it is being able to make the “common sense” restaurant and people decisions needed to provide successful dining room service or functioning on an “even keel” so to speak.

For mental consistency, one hopes to always have a positive and empathetic attitude towards the customer and other staff members, especially in the face of adverse situations. Restaurant service is always problematic, so it is imperative to have a consistent trouble-shooting approach to all situations.

Balance and Consistency can also be applied to food and drink concerning taste, texture, spiciness, color, presentation etc. A mouthful of mixed foods can be crunchy, yet balanced by softness in texture.

A sip of wine can have a certain crispness, yet be balanced by delicate fruits. When pairing food and wine, balance is necessary as you certainly don’t want one taste to overpower another.

And, of course, consistency is a desirable trait in every aspect of your restaurant’s performance. Your customer’s long for consistency in the quality of your food, your customer service, the cleanliness of your restaurant and bathroom and overall ambiance you provide.

Restaurants that excel in these areas are the ones that thrive. They’re the ones that are happily recommended by others, are talked about by the water cooler and the ones that have waiting lines every weekend night.

Yes, balance and consistency will improve restaurant service and sales, of course—– every time.

**************************************************************************

About the Author:

Richard Saporito is the Founder of Topserve Restaurant Consulting, author of “How To Improve Dining Room Service.”

If you’d like to improve your restaurants’ service reputation and increase sales, contact Richard today for a Free Initial Consultation by calling (888) 276-4808 or visiting www.topserveconsulting.com

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For Superb Restaurant Dining Room Service Always Use Proper Sections and Table Numbers

by Richard Saporito
I keep running into a major problem time and again when performing my restaurant dining room service consulting and training projects for hotel restaurants.

Instead of having standard sections (stations) that waitstaff rotates through evenly and balanced, the policy of rotating tables amongst waitstaff as guests walk through the front door is instituted.

This is done because the dining room service staff feels that income will be fair and balanced.

This is an issue that gets brought to the Human Resources Dept., and the HR Dept. usually folds because of fear for lawsuits. Yes, by rotating tables, the income will be fair and balanced amongst staff, but the restaurant dining room service will be atrocious.

Without proper floor diagrams with sections and concisely clear table numbers, confusion and circus-like service will ensue. The only time rotating tables works is when the restaurant is very small or it is a very slow shift (Monday morning after the Holidays).

In utilizing standard sections (stations) that waitstaff rotates through, the income will also be fair and balanced over the course of time throughout the schedule rotation. And, the service will be much more orderly and accountable.

To all restaurants that are rotating tables, please stop immediately or your restaurant dining room service will always suffer.
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How to Offer a Faster Restaurant Dining Room Customer Service Without Compromising on Quality


by Richard Saporito


Getting customers in and out of your restaurant can be difficult at times, especially when speed is a major factor that you need to think about. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to ensure that you can provide a consistently speedy restaurant dining room customer service without compromising on the quality of food or service at your establishment.



Good communication


Successful restaurants are all about the communication. Without sufficient communication, your restaurant staff won’t have a clue what’s going on in the kitchen and in the dining room, thus causing chaos and confusion that will ultimately lower the quality of service that you’re able to offer. Try and promote good vibes and communication between the wait staff, chefs and you so that you can get orders in and out faster, produce better quality food and also provide impeccable restaurant dining room customer service to your patrons.



Embrace technology


The use of technology has grown many businesses and industries, and restaurants are just one of those industries where technology has had an extremely positive effect on just about everything. From online deliveries to electronic bookings and even electronic payments, if your business isn’t connected to the internet then you’re going to be pushed aside for those that have embraced technology in their business model. Speak with a reputable POS system provider to equip your restaurant dning room service staff with the right technology to take digital payments, set yourself up for online deliveries and orders, and make sure you’re using social media to advertise your business.



Use a booking system


Unless you’re known as a fast-food location for people to come in and eat, always have a booking system that can be used electronically. This is so you can reserve tables for large parties, and depending on how many tables you have you could have reservations for any number of people from just 2 to a party of 20. A plus side to this is that you can use your reservation for the night as an indication of how well your business is doing. Have a packed dining room on Friday night? Then, you’re probably doing something right.



Eliminate problematic areas


Removing problems in your business is the fastest way to improve efficiency in your business. For instance, if you have a member of staff who is too slow with taking orders and regularly takes the wrong orders, then they need to be trained properly or removed from your team. If you have a chef that constantly shows up to work late or the quality of the food they cook is being reduced, then you need to replace that person eventually for the sake of your business. While it’s difficult at times to replace loyal employees, you need to understand that sometimes you can’t always keep inefficient employees in your workplace.



Equip your restaurant dining room customer service staff correctly


If you don’t give your staff the right tools to do their jobs, then there’s no chance for you to improve your speed of service. Equip your staff with portable equipment and tools so they can take orders quickly or receive payments faster, and don’t neglect to give your chefs all the cooking tools they could ever need.



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How to Offer a Faster Restaurant Dining Room Customer Service Without Compromising on Quality

by Richard Saporito



Getting customers in and out of your restaurant can be difficult at times, especially when speed is a major factor that you need to think about. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to ensure that you can provide a consistently speedy restaurant dining room customer service without compromising on the quality of food or service at your establishment.



Good communication


Successful restaurants are all about the communication. Without sufficient communication, your restaurant staff won’t have a clue what’s going on in the kitchen and in the dining room, thus causing chaos and confusion that will ultimately lower the quality of service that you’re able to offer. Try and promote good vibes and communication between the wait staff, chefs and you so that you can get orders in and out faster, produce better quality food and also provide impeccable restaurant dining room customer service to your patrons.



Embrace technology


The use of technology has grown many businesses and industries, and restaurants are just one of those industries where technology has had an extremely positive effect on just about everything. From online deliveries to electronic bookings and even electronic payments, if your business isn’t connected to the internet then you’re going to be pushed aside for those that have embraced technology in their business model. Speak with a reputable POS system provider to equip your restaurant dning room service staff with the right technology to take digital payments, set yourself up for online deliveries and orders, and make sure you’re using social media to advertise your business.



Use a booking system


Unless you’re known as a fast-food location for people to come in and eat, always have a booking system that can be used electronically. This is so you can reserve tables for large parties, and depending on how many tables you have you could have reservations for any number of people from just 2 to a party of 20. A plus side to this is that you can use your reservation for the night as an indication of how well your business is doing. Have a packed dining room on Friday night? Then, you’re probably doing something right.



Eliminate problematic areas


Removing problems in your business is the fastest way to improve efficiency in your business. For instance, if you have a member of staff who is too slow with taking orders and regularly takes the wrong orders, then they need to be trained properly or removed from your team. If you have a chef that constantly shows up to work late or the quality of the food they cook is being reduced, then you need to replace that person eventually for the sake of your business. While it’s difficult at times to replace loyal employees, you need to understand that sometimes you can’t always keep inefficient employees in your workplace.



Equip your restaurant dining room customer service staff correctly


If you don’t give your staff the right tools to do their jobs, then there’s no chance for you to improve your speed of service. Equip your staff with portable equipment and tools so they can take orders quickly or receive payments faster, and don’t neglect to give your chefs all the cooking tools they could ever need.
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3 Common Problem Areas For Restaurant Managers

by Richard Saporito


Restaurant managers have a difficult time trying to keep a fluid flow of events in the room. Not everything goes according to plan – but this is exactly why the restaurant manager needs to be highly skilled to manage even the most awkward of situations. More importantly, there are common struggles that can occur in any dining session and that need to be tackled properly. As a general rule of the thumb, there are three types of problem areas in a restaurant room: The customers, the waiters and the menu(s). Each one of these has different solutions and requires a different approach. Often, it’s the simple things that cause the biggest issues if they are left unattended. And more often than not, the pressure of the moment can make one forget what the appropriate behavior should be. Here is a little reminder for restaurant managers of how to deal effectively with their main problem areas.

Train your waiters to help customers better

The Problems With Customers

Most customers tend to behave politely and pleasantly at first. However, misunderstanding on their part can rapidly escalate into arguments and complaints. This can happen for several reasons: In modern establishments, the customers can get confused by the lack of uniform and not recognize the waiters from the normal guests. The easiest solution here is to agree on a front house uniform from a professional restaurant supplier, such as https://www.chefworks.com, for example. Sometimes all it takes is a small apron to identify your waiters. Another problem is when customers don’t fully understand what they order and complaint as a result of this. Often, reviewing the menu to provide a clear explanation for each dish can sort this issue rapidly.

The Problems With Waiters

A recent review of waiter training sessions on http://www.topserveconsulting.com helped to highlight areas where customers might find reasons to complain in the behavior of their table waiter. For instance, training your waiters to the restaurant menu, with a tasting session, can remove most of the menu-related complaints. Indeed, when waiters can advise customers on their order and tell them more about the different dishes on the menu, this eliminates the risk for customers complaining as a result of developing the wrong expectations about their order. A lot of issues that a restaurant manager experiences with customers can be easily avoided with qualified and thorough waiter training.

The Problems With Menus

As a restaurant manager, it is essential to make a note of the complaints about the menu, as they may be an indication that the menu has been poorly designed. For example, it is rather worrying in this day and age not to address common diet issues, such as food allergies, vegan food alternatives and free-from foods. Allergies are on the rise in the USA, whether they concerned dairy, gluten, peanuts and other nuts foods. As a result, it appears essential to offer your guests an alternative dish. Another complaint about the menu is the diversity and the abundance of choice. Not only can this make it extremely difficult for your guests to pick a dish, but this is also a costly exercise for a restaurant, as some ingredients may get bad before you can use them.



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5 Questions You Need To Ask Before Opening A Second Restaurant

by Richard Saporito

Richard Saporito

As a successful restaurant owner, there is a good chance that opening a second location will not be far from your mind. You might feel there is an excellent opportunity in the next town, or have plans for creating a restaurant chain. However, just because you have one successful operation, it doesn’t necessarily mean you will succeed with another. In fact, there are plenty of complications that can arise, and you need to ask yourself a few questions before making your move. Let’s take a look at some of these issues right now – read on to find out more.

Why are you doing this?

Of course, the simple answer to this question is that you want your business to grow. But growth isn’t restricted to opening a new location, which will be expensive and time-consuming. You could decide to start a range of products and sell them online, for example. Or, you could consider holding pop-up restaurant events in other locations, to get your name out there around the country. You need a compelling reason to open a second restaurant that involves much more than just growth.

Do you have the capital?

First of all, you will need money if your dreams of opening a second – or third – restaurant will come true. How much money that will take depends on a variety of factors, from the size and style of your operation to the number of staff you will need. Funding is available, of course, from banks or private investors. But, as a general rule, you should be able to pay for around 30% of the new venture with your current capital.

Do you have the operational foundations in place?

As you are probably aware, running a successful restaurant is tough. And if you are planning to open a second, you will need a lot of operational support in place if you are going to manage both sites effectively. You will need to consider handing over key tasks to third parties, to help you deal with general business tasks. For example, you might turn to a human resources firm to help manage your employees, or consider IT outsourcing to run your website and technology. At this point, it is too much of a risk to hire full-time employees, which will be a massive drain on your finances and could put you at significant risk of failure.

Do you have the right management, team?

No matter how good you are at running a restaurant, you can’t be in two places at the same time. It is essential, then, that you have first-class leaders and kitchen management in place who are capable of making decisions and running your business on your behalf. You will need to trust them and their skills implicitly, without exception.

Will this affect your current restaurant customer service?

Finally, be aware that opening a second restaurant can have an enormous impact on your first. You might have to take key figures who have contributed to your success away and place them in the new location – and this could see restaurant customer service levels slip. Make sure you leave a strong team behind with a solid dining room staff and waiter training system. Otherwise, you could end up with two average, failing businesses rather than one excellent, successful restaurant.

Plot this next crucial move carefully and well detailed in the business plan. Good luck!



About the Author:

Richard Saporito is the Founder of Topserve Restaurant Consulting, author of “How To Improve Dining Room Service.”

If you’d like to improve your restaurants’ service reputation and increase sales, contact Richard today for a Free Initial Restaurant Consultation by calling (888) 276-4808 or visiting www.topserveconsulting.com.

Also, great Restaurant Service and Culinary DVDs at
www.store.topserveconsulting.com.

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