Top Tips to Cope at Christmas


Top Tips to Cope at Christmas

Top Tips to Cope at Christmas

Service over Christmas is often fulfilled by part-time staff that help deliver customer service over the busiest time of the year. It's the time of the year where friends, families, loved ones and colleagues make the effort to spend some time together and often eat out more in one month than in the whole year. It can be a fun but also a stressful time for those serving in restaurants and bars.

HospitalityGEM caught up with a graduate who has just begun a career in the industry with an established brand. We found out about her training, how much she loves it and her top tips to cope over the Christmas period from a front of house point of view. Here are her top tips for everyone in hospitality this season...

It's all under control
First of all Christmas parties, large or small can turn into a nightmare if the restaurant is not organised and under control. It can get confusing with too many people taking bookings, deposits and how many covers can realistically be served in a single sitting. Designate a team member to be in charge of Christmas party bookings. It can be all too easy and deeply frustrating for both the restaurant and the customers if bookings become lost or mixed up. To have just a couple of people accountable for bookings reduces the risk of problems and ensures a good customer experience.

Christmas greetings
First impressions count for so much. We have all had experiences where you walk into a restaurant and have been greeted or not so much greeted but shrugged at with no acknowledgment. This sets the wrong tone for the customers, they are judging you within the first 3 seconds and first impressions are hard to change. A warm welcome is inviting, vital and extremely easy. At Christmas there is absolutely no excuse, get that festive cheer on!

Everyone is there to have a good time
Most restaurants for Christmas offer a set menu and the customers choose beforehand what they are going to eat, this is great and the best way to reduce stress of taking orders for big parties. The majority of customers probably chose a while ago therefore may not remember, be prepared and get a table plan in place with name places. This way the party host doesn't have to worry either.

It goes without saying that you must make sure everyone is enjoying themselves, it is Christmas after all and everyone is up for a party. Checking back to the table on a couple of occasions to make sure everyone is happy with their food and drinks is essential. Whilst checking back it is a great opportunity to make conversation and engage with the customers. They are there to have a good time and you can be key to making it a memorable experience. Customer's often want to have a chat with you, it's your chance to shine, be friendly and show off your knowledge of what the restaurant offers. Have a laugh with them, we should enjoy Christmas too right?!

Keep calm and carry on
From my experience I have found there are three fundamental characteristics to have whilst serving - be patient, calm and on the ball. This is why working in a restaurant can be so tiring but extremely rewarding.

Patience is a virtue → Don't rush your customers. You may be busy but you want them to enjoy their stay and not to feel like they are going to be booted out as soon as they finish their last mouthful. Customers can very occasionally be a little difficult too, but go with the flow.

Keep calm → When it gets busy it can become extremely stressful which creates a tense atmosphere. Staying calm means you can assess everything rationally when it does get hectic, consequently you are less likely to make mistakes whilst still looking after your customers as best you can.

Stay on the ball → Whilst serving you need to be constantly aware of what is happening front and back of house. When it gets busy there are numerous jobs that one person is juggling. When dealing with christmas parties as well as normal service at the same time, one must be on the ball!

Overall customers are there to have a good time, you want them to enjoy themselves, to return and recommend to friends. At Christmas when the restaurant trade is at it's busiest, people are expecting an excellent experience, they want to enjoy themselves this makes it easier for waiter's but you must always stay on top of your game. Hopefully through these key service points both waiters and customers will be able to enjoy a stress free and joyous Christmas restaurant experience!

What are your top tips for serving up Christmas cheer this December?

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