Making contact...


Making contact...

Making contact...

HGEM's Operations and HR Director Lisa Chambers on the importance on reading your guests well in order to adjust your attentiveness effectively.

In the hospitality industry, no matter what nature of business you run, ensuring guests have an outstanding experience is the name of the game. We are constantly striving for new ways to improve the guest experience, but sometimes there is such a thing as 'trying too hard'.

We are, of course, talking about the restaurant experience and the dangers of over-attentiveness. A survey commissioned a couple of years ago by restaurant critic, Barry Verber, found that more than half (59%) of diner respondents reported that waiting staff who repeatedly interrupted their meal to ask if everything was ok, topped up glasses that were already mostly full, or took dishes away while they were still chewing, deterred them.

Here are a few of our top tips on balancing attentiveness:

  1. First impressions count – Besides the obvious of ensuring that the restaurant is laid up correctly with plenty of clean glassware and cutlery for use during service the first contact you have with the guests is crucial. Welcoming, good eye contact, smiling and appropriate. Once guests are seated, a proper welcome with eye contact goes a long way.
  2. Sort the drinks order fast - Sometimes guests might know what they want to drink fairly quickly and do not need too much time to peruse the menu - ask and listen to what they might prefer. An instant offer of tap or bottle water means that guests won't go thirsty while waiting.
  3. Read the table - Check the body language of your guests before approaching the table - if diners are engaged in deep conversation, you may be able to pick a better moment. However, guests will know fairly early on if there is a problem with the order or if they need something additional - don't leave check backs too long.
  4. Be helpful yet invisible - Scan the room or pass by tables to check on glasses or to see if guests are trying to catch your eye. Common sense should be used on when to refill glasses as well as not whisking away plates until the diner in question has clearly finished the meal.
  5. The bill - never press people to pay, offer refills if people want to sit and chat a little longer but equally watch the tables closely to ensure that if guests do want to leave they are able to do so in a timely fashion.
  6. The last tables – Don’t let these be forgotten. Wind down after a busy service can see things slow and the temptation to leave guests to their own devices whilst prep may be going on for the next service or staff lunch being served in the kitchen is often the case. Being the last guest in a restaurant, trying to get the bill, trying to leave and no waiting staff in sight can be a lonely, frustrating place to be..

Be brilliant until the end – the very end, and you will ensure that every last guest leaves happy.

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