4 C’s of Service & Hospitality Success

WELCOME BACK TO SOUPFLY!!

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The 4 C’s

 

It does happen quite often that you may be partnered with another server to serve a larger table-or in banquet service you may be part of a team.  When this occurs, the success of the service of the entire party depends not just upon you or one individual but rather upon each and every member of that team.

It is really no different than in any team sport; you may have a star running back that shines on his own but if the other members of the team cannot or will not carry their weight and play their role-take ownership of their role-that team will not win.  That running back may indeed be a superstar but guess what?  When he is not carrying the ball he has another responsibility that he must carry out as function of the team.  Do you know what it is?  It’s blocking.  That’s right.  He has to block when he’s not carrying the ball.  Not very glamorous is it?  How very non-superstar-ish.  But that’s what linemen do on every single offensive play.  And who sings the praises of the lineman?  Not too many people and not too often.  Yet they are so vitally important to the success of the entire team and to every game played.

 

There are 4 aspects of working with another or multiple other team members that must happen in order to achieve a successful service.  Each of the following four are of equal importance and value.

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  • 1.) Coordination– There must be someone who is coordinating the team, calling the plays and ensuring their execution. Just as every football team must have a quarterback-every service team must have someone in this role.  This person may be the captain, head server or other name.  In fact, the name is inconsequential. It doesn’t even matter if the person has been given a title.  True leadership, according to John Maxwell comes from ability not title.  What is important though, is the function.  With a team of servers, someone has to be in charge. You can’t have everyone running their own play or it will end up in chaos.  Even if you think the one in charge may not be the best for that job, in order to keep a smooth flow of service, you may have to be humble, keep quiet and just go with the flow.  Play your part.  Follow your leader’s guidance.  That is, as long as the captain is not telling you to do something that would adversely affect the guest or their dining experience.

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  • 2.) Communication-There has to be clear communication between all team members at all times. If a guest asks you for something-a beverage refill for example, or a vegetarian option, etc., -if you are unable to fulfill the request yourself in a timely manner-then you must communicate to another team member who is available and ready to do it.  Do not just give lip service to the guest-‘Yes, ma’am, I’ll take care of that’ when you know that you aren’t going to get to it immediately.  Or quite often the server will say yes and have no intention of doing it because they know that the persistent guest will also ask the next server that comes by until the request is fulfilled.    Communication is always key.  If a guest has a special request-vegetarian or gluten free entrée-whatever the case may be-you must communicate this in a timely manner-that means NOW to the kitchen or to the team leader so they can execute completion of service.  I’ve seen it happen so many times where a guest will have a special request and it is either not communicated to the kitchen at all or it is mentioned after everyone else has been served.  That does not make for an exceptional dining experience. Everyone else at that table may be happily enjoying their dinner, yet if one person’s needs are not attended to then that is not a successful service in my book.

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  • 3.) Competence-This simply means doing your job right, well, effectively and efficiently.  Competence is being good at what you do and achieving the desired results.  An amateur is not competent because they haven’t yet developed the skills and ability.  As a server, there are a lot of areas that one must gain competence in.  A few of those areas are: Traymanship (a word I coined) is just what it sounds like- “A man with a tray on a ship”.  Kidding.   Traymanship-is one’s ability to use and balance food or drink on a tray.  This is not easy to do.  It takes manual dexterity, concentration, focus and of course, balance and the other kind of coordination.

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  • In basketball this would be ball handling, in hockey-how you wield your stick to control the puck.,etc.  You get the picture.  Isn’t it interesting that at the root of competence is the word compete?  One really can’t compete well if they lack competence. I see so many servers that can carry the tray filled with beverages to the table-yet they cannot maneuver and balance the tray as they remove the glasses.   So, improperly, they set the tray on the table of the guests they are serving or on an empty table beside them, then they remove the glasses.  That would be like a basketball player being proficient at ball handling-able to dribble toward the hoop but having no idea how to actually shoot the ball.  This is not acceptable.  This person lacks competence in traymanship.

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  • Although there are many, some of the  areas where competence is needed is in: wine presentation and pouring, actual serving of food, how to properly place the plates in front of the guest.  Yes, there is actually a proper manner  and special knowledge required.  The only way to gain competence is through practice and repetition.  We’ve all heard it said that “Practice makes perfect.” but that is actually not completely true.  I’ve met servers who have been in this industry for  many years and they have been practicing the same thing over and over again.  But the problem is that they’ve never been shown or taught how to do it correctly.  So, in actuality, the proper phrase is “Perfect practice makes perfect.”

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  • Just as any athlete or musician must continually practice and train, doing the basics over and over again, so, too must the service professional continually practice in order to become more adept and proficient at their craft.  A server’s competence lends to  creating an exceptional dining experience for the guests.  And isn’t that what it’s all about?  To have a great experience?  If not, then everybody would just be ordering take out all the time.  It truly is the service team that makes the guest’s meal an experience, an event.

 

  • 4.) Consistency-If Competence means doing your job right, well and effectively.  Then just add the word “everytime” and now we have a complete picture.  Consistency is so important.  Does that mean we never make a mistake?  No.  But your guests don’t want it to be a crapshoot everytime they come to your establishment.  Yes, I live in Vegas and unfortunately some places that were once my wife and my favorite restaurants have fallen to the less frequently visited category now due to their inconsistency.  Sometimes the food is great.  Sometimes it’s mediocre.  Sometimes the service is spot on, sometimes it seems like nobody really cares.  Consistency.

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  • Again, back to the sports analogy.  How frustrating for the fan when their team wins by a blow out one week then is slaughtered the next.  Of course your team can’t win every game every time.  But what they can do is show up consistently, execute properly and if they’ve given everything possible and were just beat because the other team was better then that’s fine.
  • In this business, there are so many elements that must synchronize in order to achieve success.  But consistency is definitely in your control.  Like I’ve mentioned in a previous post IT ALL STARTS AT THE TOP.  If the owner and management don’t care, are not aware and don’t show up ready for the game, why would the staff?
  • Consistency means, treating every guest with respect, care and concern everytime.   Consistency means that you give your all everytime.  Your first and main thought is the guests’ satisfaction.  Consistency is making sure that every plate you bring to every guest is correct, accurate and what they ordered.
  • When we are consistent in our service, our hospitality and the care we give to each of our guests, then word begins to spread.  When your guests know that both you, personally and the restaurant in general are consistent in both quality of food and service-everyone benefits.

When we effectively apply these 4 C’s -Coordination, Communication, Competence and Consistency, the establishment gets great reviews, it is always busy, it gains a great reputation, (as do you with your regulars), revenue increases, you receive generous tips,  and life is wonderful.

Happy Serving!

 THANK YOU FOR READING!!!

I APPRECIATE ALL MY READERS!!!  PLEASE CONTINUE TO LIKE & SHARE ON FACEBOOK, PINTEREST, TWITTER AND GOOGLE PLUS.  ALSO, PLEASE HIT FOLLOW TO RECEIVE AN EMAIL EACH TIME SOUPFLY HAS A NEW POST.

WELCOME TO ALL MY NEW READERS-MOST RECENTLY FROM VIET NAM!

 

CHEERS AND GOD BLESS!!

Christoff J. Weihman

ASPIRE Enterprises                                                                           

Las Vegas, NV

ChristoffJWeihman.com

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Why Being a Server is Your Passport to the World!!

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WELCOME BACK TO SOUPFLY!!!

Soupfly is continuing to travel the globe.  This week we welcome new readers from the following countries: Maldives, Denmark, Luxembourg, Greece, Syria, United Republic of Tanzania, Russia, Singapore and Dominican Republic!!!!

 

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As I mentioned before this is truly exciting for me and humbling-that in such a short time I now have readers in 34 countries!! Yahoo!!

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This just confirms what I already knew-that  Service and Hospitality truly is a World Wide Industry.  In my book-soon to be published-GETTING TO WOW! I have a chapter entitled Why Being a Server is Your Passport to the World-well, I’m not even traveling to those countries but my knowledge and training is through my Soupfly blog.  I am connecting with other Service and Hospitality professionals from all over the world and it is remarkable.

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If you work in this Industry and you have a passion for excellence and a drive to succeed and you want to see the world-what better way than by working in a hotel, resort or restaurant in some foreign exotic land?  Of course you have to excel at your profession-for why would an establishment hire you if you’re just a average or mediocre server, bartender or manager? But if you are at the top of your game and you set yourself apart as being one of the best-then there are many opportunities that are available and there’s  no limit to where this business could take you.

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What about applying to work on a cruise ship?  How exciting that might be!  To travel to beautiful tropical islands, meet and interact with guests from a multitude of countries And to get paid for it!  If you speak more than one language, other than English-what a great asset that would be as well.  I personally have never worked on a cruise ship but I have friends that have and they absolutely loved the experience.

Keep honing your skills, perfecting your craft and excelling in your position and soon opportunities will present themselves to you and you’ll be rewarded for your pursuit of excellence. This is indeed a noble profession.

Cheers and God Bless you all!!

Christoff J. Weihman

ASPIRE Enterprises

Las Vegas, NV

ChristoffJWeihman.com

Please continue to Share & Like on Facebook, and Share on  Pinterest, Twitter and GooglePlus If you would like to receive an Email each time a fresh serving of Soupfly is posted hit the Follow button.

Thank you so much for your support.  Please feel free to connect with me and introduce yourself to me.  I welcome meeting and connecting with all of my readers.  

 

The 3 Ps Vital to Service & Hospitality Excellence

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WELCOME BACK TO SOUPFLY!!

Today I want to talk about the 3 Ps that are absolutely vital for one to be successful and effective in the Service and Hospitality Industry.

  • PMA– No that doesn’t stand for post modern architecture. PMA is simply a Positive Mental Attitude.  This is an unpredictable business.  Unexpected events happen. Things are not always going to go the way you hoped or planned.  Whether you work in a hotel, casino, restaurant, convention center on a cruise ship or anywhere else that you are serving guests, diners, customers-it is absolutely imperative that you ALWAYS maintain a Positive Mental Attitude.  In fact, your Attitude Affects your Outcome 
  • Whatever happens, remember that your job is to provide an exceptional experience for your guest.  You cannot effectively do this if you are negative minded person.  The ones who shine and excel in this industry-indeed, in life in general, are the ones who see the positive side of any situation.  Look on the sunny side of life.

 

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  • PASSION-You must love what you do in order to truly be successful. Is the life that you live the life that you love?   Sure, there may be aspects of the job that you don’t particularly like.  However, if you really don’t enjoy the business of serving people then maybe you should not be here.  Those who are successful in this industry don’t all have Passion for the same thing.  For some, their passion is the joy they get when seeing a guest really having a wonderful experience and they know that they are a part of making that happen for them.  For others, it’s that they just love being around amazing culinary creations and they get excitement from sharing that with their guests.  For some their passion may come from the knowledge and interesting things about food and wine that they are constantly learning.  For others it’s the excitement and energy of working in a fast paced environment with like minded co-workers.  For others it’s the performance aspect of service.  Yes, this is a show.

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I,  personally love this business.  I have always enjoyed  serving  my guests. I knew that I would give them an exceptional dining experience.  I love seeing the look of satisfaction on their faces as they are enjoying an amazing meal.  Sometimes I didn’t even have to ask.  I would just look them in the eye and see the smile on their face. There’s a great feeling of pride that comes with that for me.

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As time has passed, I’ve found that another passion of mine regarding the Service and Hospitality industry is writing and teaching about it.  I enjoy sharing with others a perspective or insight that might help them up their game.  I also have a passion for shining a light on this industry and helping the public understand what exactly it is that we do.  Many people think that a restaurant server’s job is to  come to the table, take an order and bring the food from the kitchen to the table.  But you and I both know that there is SO MUCH MORE involved in this job.  And not just anybody can do it.  But I digress.

So, now, ask yourself, first-Do you love this business?  If so, then ask yourself, What do you love about it?  Some of you will easily be able to answer this question.  Others, maybe you know you love it but you’re still trying to put your finger on what aspect of it exactly.  If you pose the question-the answer will come to you.  But you must find your passion.  And it has to be something besides the money.

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  • PERSONALITY-Yes, a Personality!! This is a business that requires one to be engaging.

Restaurant servers are usually, people with big personalities. Larger than life personalities.  And these personalities run the gamut from over the top flamboyant, to flirtatious to loud and boisterous to comedians, entertainers and actors.  The service industry has always attracted those with a creative flair.

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However, we have all met servers who seem absolutely put off that they actually have to engage the public.  I find it surprising that there are some who’ve found their way into this business who truly lack any semblance of a personality whatsoever. And of course, I’m in no way referring to you who are reading this blog.  No, this is for your co-worker.

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You know the ones-that never seem to be having a good day, or for whatever reason can’t seem to find a smile.  Or the ones that are so dull, quiet and boring that they really should be working in an office cubicle where they won’t be compelled to interact with live human beings. (Please, no offense-wonderful office working people)

 

Hey, the service industry is not for everybody but please, if you are here, now-please, I beg of you-I implore you-I encourage you-find a way to be interested, interesting and engaging.  If you really don’t like your job, if you are not thrilled to deal with, communicate with-let alone to serve the public-then, maybe this is not the industry or profession for you (yes, I did say ‘profession’)

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But most of you, you use your gifts to really shine. That’s what guests like. Two ladies come in for a quick lunch and they’re stressed because of something that is going on back at the office. You, just by being you, brighten up their day and you may think that all you did was bring them their soup and sandwiches and refill their iced tea a couple times.

Use that sense of humor, that charm, that charisma to engage and entertain your guests.  You probably don’t even realize how many times in a day or a week, that you, being your own wonderful self, using your God-given personality, that you have blessed, uplifted, encouraged, cheered up a customer/patron.  By being interested and interesting you make your guests day more often than you’re even aware.

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This business is for people with personality and people who are people persons. If that’s you, then Smile and be thankful because not everybody was blessed with such a wonderful, upbeat, pleasant personality.  Let it Shine.

 

Thank you for reading.  I truly appreciate all of your support.  Soupfly is growing, thanks to all of you!!  We now have readers in 54 countries!! We just added Croatia and Hong Kong!!

Please Like our Soupfly Facebook Page, Share on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google Plus.  Also, I encourage you to hit the Follow button so you can receive an email each time a new Soupfly is published.

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My Book Getting to WOW! Everybody WINS with 5 Star Service is Now Available to Pre-Order for only $20.00 (Introductory Price)  Go to this link to Pre-Order your signed copy today!    http://www.christoffjweihman.com/my-book.html

Cheers and God Bless you all!!!

Christoff J. Weihman

ASPIRE Enterprises

Las Vegas, NV

ChristoffJWeihman.com

 

Soupfly is a World Traveler!

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WELCOME BACK TO SOUPFLY!!

I wanted to share with you about the growing interest and success of my blog.  As of today, Soupfly has readers from 25 different countries- UNITED STATES, CANADA, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, UNITED KINGDOM, SOUTH AFRICA, GERMANY, AUSTRALIA, FRANCE, EGYPT, SERBIA, INDIA, SWITZERLAND, PHILIPPINES, NETHERLANDS, MOROCCO, NEPAL, MALAWI, THAILAND, MAURITIUS, ROMANIA, INDONESIA, ITALY, KENYA, SAUDI ARABIA & SPAIN!!!

I have a copy of Soupfly’s Stats below.  That is amazing!!

I am completely humbled and grateful.  I want to thank all of you for your support-it is truly inspiring to me.

 

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I have a couple of requests for you-First, if you enjoy the blog, Please LIKE the Soupfly Facebook Page.   Many of you like all the links but haven’t hit LIKE on the actual Soupfly Facebook Page.  Thank you.

Next, you could do me a HUGE favor by also hitting the FOLLOW BUTTON below.  By doing that you will receive an email notice each time a fresh serving of Soupfly is published.  Which means you get Soupfly first.  First come first Served-you’ll get the best seat in the house.(so to speak) This will also GREATLY  help me.  The More Likes and Follows the Better.

Lastly, if you feel so inclined, I invite you to Please Share the Posts on your FACEBOOK TIMELINE, TWITTER, LINKEDIN AND PINTEREST.

Okay, this is the real LASTLY-I would really love to connect with my readers so, please SHARE your COMMENTS below-including my readers outside of the United States.  I am humbled and excited that Soupfly has traveled to so many countries.  I’m actually a little jealous of my blog in that way.

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I may be requesting a lot from you-I hope not.  I am very happy and proud to be be able to share content about elevating Service and Hospitality through Soupfly.   And although much of what I write about here focuses on the Restaurant/Service and Hospitality industry-these principles and concepts apply to most any business.  Whether one is dealing with hotel guests, restaurant patrons, clients, customers, employees, staff or a team.  I believe there’s something in Soupfly for everyone.

Thank you all for your continued Support.  And remember that Soupfly is just a pre-cursor to my book which will be coming out soon-GETTING TO WOW!  A Guide to First Class Restaurant Service

Thank you and God Bless you all!

Cheers!!

Christoff J. Weihman

Las Vegas, NV

ASPIRE Enterprises

ChristoffJWeihman.com

 

 

 

 

 

COMMUNICATION is the KEY- Part 2

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WELCOME BACK TO SOUPFLY!

 

How many times have you been out for dinner, the server takes your order and then, all of a sudden, he’s a magician, that is, he does a disappearing act .  Nowhere to be found.  And even his assistant has disappeared as well.  Poof.  Gone.  And then, as if by magic, once your food is ready to be served -Voila!  Or he only reappears after your food is served. He reappears.

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Now, while he’s disappeared, you’re looking around trying to find him.  No luck.  He’s definitely gone.   You want to ask a question, order another drink.  But sorry, no luck.  You have a Disappearing Server.

Or sometimes you have a server that didn’t disappear, he’s just faded out of sight.  You’re looking, straining your eyes, tilting your head back, stretching your neck to catch a glimpse of this elusive creature.  There! There he is -so far in the distance, he seems to be cavorting with one of his colleagues off in the corner.  You try to make eye contact but he never looks your way for more than a fleeting glance.

Without shouting or raising your voice it’s next to impossible catch his attention.

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It seems that some servers feel uncomfortable going back to their table while their guests are waiting for their next course.  They often seem uneasy and that’s why they disappear.  Maybe they don’t know what to say to their guests.  Some of them don’t disappear, they just hide behind the service station peering around the corner to spy on their guests and see what they are doing while they’re waiting.  Waiting is what they are doing.  Waiting without knowing.  Wondering.  Wondering how long it will be before they see you again.  Wondering why you won’t come back to the table unless you have their food in hand.   Wondering with no communication is so disconcerting.  It creates a feeling of helplessness.  They have no information from you.  They see other guests around them being served.  They can’t go back into the kitchen themselves, so they wait. And their wine glass is empty.  Shame.

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Of course, you, the server, can’t control what goes on in the kitchen.  Yes, that’s true.  However, the situation is not entirely out of your hands.  There are many things that you can do.

Here are some suggested action steps:

1. Go to the kitchen and find out what order in line your ticket is.

Every restaurant’s expediting system is different.  You may be able to ask the expo person, although, oftentimes they do not want to be interrupted.

2. Look on the screen, if the kitchen has a computerized system, or where ever the order tickets are hung and observe what is going on behind the line. If you know that there are some larger parties in the restaurant that evening you should see if by perhaps, that table is being plated ahead of yours.

3.  Ask. Ask the kitchen manager. Ask the expo person. Ask the chef. Find out. Don’t just assume.

4.  Return to your waiting guests and COMMUNICATE.  Tell them something.  Give them an estimated time of arrival for their next course. Just please don’t let them wait and wonder with no information.

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If a reasonable amount of time has not passed between courses- again, each restaurant is different- (a fine dining restaurant in New York City will  have longer lag times between courses than a bistro in Topeka, Kansas)  You should know your restaurant, though and what is a normal time between courses.  It is imperative as the server,  to be aware of what your guest’s are feeling.   They may not realize that it’s only been a few minutes and here they are looking around the restaurant impatiently.

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My friend Adam Gnau, of Acero Restaurant in Maplewood, Missouri aims for 15 minutes between courses.  I asked him, “What about for a table of 12 or 15?”  He said “Still the same.  Fifteen minutes.” That means that he plans to have guests wait for no more than fifteen minutes from the time they are done with one course until the next one is served.  Acero, is  a smaller restaurant so this is doable for them.

 

If our focus is  about creating an exceptional dining experience and really being hospitable and a gracious host to our guests then we need to be cognizant of something as simple as this.  If you had guests over for dinner and they were, say, sitting on the patio by themselves while you and your spouse were in the kitchen cooking, would you leave them out there indefinitely without communicating anything about when dinner was going to be ready?  Of course not! You would check on them, tell them it’s coming soon.  Let them feel welcome and relaxed.  Your restaurant guests are just like your home dinner guests.

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You must know what is normal timing for your restaurant and at the point that it appears that your guests have been waiting too long you need to be proactive and take action.  It is incumbent upon you to be informed and then to inform your guests.

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Have you ever been in  a restaurant or at a bar and the server or bartender pays no attention to you yet  they seem to be completely focused on other guests?  They finally come over because you flagged them down and when you mention that you’ve been feeling neglected-they respond with “Well, you can see that I’m busy.”  You think to yourself, “Of course, they’re busy but who are they busy with? Other guests. So what am I-not a guest?”

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We know that service can become very hectic at times.  It’s the nature of the business.  Even if you’re super busy, just passing by the guest and saying, “I will be right with you.”  goes a long way to alleviate guests’ impatience.  And an added “Thank you so much for your patience,” when you return to them is always a great way to avoid negative energy from your guests.

Of course, often there are unusual circumstances.  A couple who are sitting at their table waiting for their main course and have not ordered even an appetizer or a salad or any sort of first course will feel like 10 minutes is 30 minutes.  The situation will be even more compounded if they have no drinks in front of them.  So, imagine, they have no drinks, no first course and they’ve already devoured all of the bread that you’ve put in front of them.  Waiting fifteen or twenty minutes for their entrée will seem like forever.  And of course, they will observe others who were seated after them being served ahead of them but most likely it’s a first course or appetizer which typically takes less time.

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Regardless of the situation, it is your job as the server to find out what the status is, communicate it to your guest and set their minds at ease.

If it’s going to be a while, don’t just disappear.  Strike up a conversation with them.  Sell them another glass of wine.  Talk about your chef, the restaurant or ask them about themselves.  Tell a funny story. Humor usually can lighten any situation.

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Many people who haven’t done it think that being a server really takes no special skill or talent. That, however is very far from what reality is. This is not a job for everybody because not everybody can do it.  And certainly not everybody who does it, does it well.

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Being a server takes a variety of aptitudes; one has to be part diplomat, part entertainer, part host.  You must have an ample supply of patience and great communication skills.  You must be able to anticipate your guests’ needs.  Yes I guess that means that you’re sort of a mind reader as well.  The importance of great communication skills cannot be overemphasized.  You may know exactly what is going on in the kitchen.  Just please don’t keep it a secret from your guests.  Communication is the Key and you hold this powerful tool in your hands.  Use it wisely and use it well.

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Thank you for reading this new serving of Soupfly!  I appreciate your support.  Please feel free to Comment. Also, please continue to Like and Share with others.  I now have readers from the following countries; United States, Canada, United Arab Emirates, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Serbia, Australia, Philippines, Netherlands, Switzerland, India, South Africa!  

I am humbled and so grateful for all the support.  And please feel free to connect with me and introduce yourself.  I would really like to connect with Soupfly fans.

 

Cheers and God Bless you all!!

Christoff J. Weihman

ASPIRE Enterprises

Las Vegas, NV

ChristoffJWeihman.com

Communication is Key

 

 

 

 

WELCOME BACK TO SOUPFLY

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“Communication changes everything”  Al Danklefsen

My friend, Al espouses this principle.  He is VP of Sales & Marketing for STL Communications.  I believe this aptly applies to all businesses including  this business of Service and Hospitality

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Set up: You’re out for dinner with some very close friends who you only see once every year when they come to town.  You’ve decided to take them to  one of the top 5 best new restaurants in your home city.  This restaurant has been written up in all the local industry publications,  been on  local tv  and generally has gotten a lot of buzz over the past 12  months.  You’ve never been there but you figure it’s the perfect place to enjoy dinner with these special friends.

From the moment you walk in til the moment you leave, you feel like you’ve been welcomed into the owner’s home.

 

You had a reservation for 7:30 pm, you’ve arrived about 30 minutes early so the hostess invites you by name to the bar.  The restaurant and the bar are both very busy but there is still an energy of peace not chaos.  The hostess escorts you to the bar and she tells you she’ll call you when your table is ready.

“What, no paging device with flashing lights for us to hold onto?”

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You settle in at the bar for a drink.  You are greeted by the bartender who not only asks what each of you would like to drink-he also asks if you are the couple meeting friends from out of town- Las Vegas.    You mentioned this when you made the reservation and it was put in the system notes of Open TableOpen Table is not only an automated reservation system whereby one can make reservations online or by phone but it  is also an invaluable resource, a database which a restaurant can use to note guest’s likes, dislikes, allergies, birthdays, anniversaries, wine preferences etc.   In this case, either the manager or the hostess must have read the notes regarding your reservation and communicated it to the bartender.

As the bartender engages you in conversation while making the drinks you find out that you have a love of rock climbing  in common.  Sure, it’s a small thing but how nice does it feel to be acknowledged and communicated with while waiting for your drinks instead of having a bartender that just says “What can I get ya?” and then he doesn’t say another word until he says, “Are you ready for the check?”

When you are nearly finished with your drinks, the bartender addresses you by name and tells you that your table is ready when you are.  “Just let me know when and I’ll call Samantha- the hostess, to show you to your seat”.

You pay your bar tab and the hostess escorts you to your table.

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Now, I know that calling someone by their name may not be a big deal and yet isn’t it amazing how such a seemingly small thing can set the tone for your evening?  To you, it may not be so impressive that the bartender engaged you in conversation but many bartenders don’t see this as ‘part of their job’.  However, remembering and acknowledging that you are meeting friends from out of town and to remember the specific location where they are from speaks volumes about the place and the mentality of the staff here.

It all begins with communication.  As my friend Al, whom I quoted earlier, says, “Communication changes everything.” Indeed it does.

Excellent service-Wow! service begins with effective communication. Your job as a server goes far beyond just greeting the guests, informing them of the night’s specials, taking their order and bringing  their food to their table.  That is not even the bare minimum.   Okay, maybe it’s the bare minimum and it’s often all that a guest sees in terms of service.  If our goal is to provide an exceptional dining experience, then a key component has to be excellent communication. 

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So what do I mean by excellent communication?  What more needs to be communicated?  If you tell them about the specials and answer any questions your guests might have -what more is there to communicate?

Merely,telling or informing your guests about the specials is not really going to get them interested and excited about ordering them.  You have to be creative in not just telling but describing them.  But more on that later.  Let’s consider what communication is.  It’s so much more than just telling.  Consider these:

 

Synonyms for Communication

Tell

Say

Inform

Describe

Explain

Elaborate

Expound

Detail

Impress upon

Imply

Infer

Teach

Train

Discuss

Educate

Influence

Proclaim

Declare

Announce

Convey

Transmit

Interact

Relate

Pass on

Put across

Mention

It is incumbent upon you to ensure that your guest knows what’s going on in regards to each course.  There is nothing more annoying or aggravating when one is out for dinner than waiting a long time for your food and not having anything communicated to you by your server.  You’re just sitting around and waiting and wondering and waiting and wondering.  With no information and no communication.

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If there is a delay on a dish, or some hold up in the kitchen, it is not only your responsibility to let your guests know -it is  common courtesy.  Your guest should never be the one who asks how much longer it will be.  You must be aware and then communicate to them. You must be proactive rather than reactive in your communication. This goes a long way in alleviating  their concern and  preempting their  complaints.

“My friends, I  want to let you know that we have a large group of 30 in the other room.  The chef is now plating up their entrees and as soon as those are out he will be finishing your dishes.  Thank you so much for your patience.”

There. You took preemptive measures. Your guest may still not be happy about the long wait.  But at least it’s now not a wait with wondering.  Any complaint, is hopefully, now diffused. Communication changes everything

“Sir, I  want you to know that the risotto pescatore does take a little extra time to prepare.  Rather than your entrees being ready in 20 minutes or so it will be more like 30 minutes.  Is that okay with you?”

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You’ve told them in advance that it will take longer.  Now they won’t have to ask  what is taking so long.   Be proactive.   If a particular menu item has a longer prep/cooking time than other items you are responsible to inform your guests.  Do not wait until they are waiting and they  ask you, “What’s taking so long?” How would a guest know that risotto will take longer than other menu items to prepare? Do all guests know that soufflés take extra time?  Please don’t say “Well, they didn’t ask.”

Effective Communication begins with you sharing information.  It’s your responsibility to ‘offer’ the information.

I recently took a trip to LA and was looking for a place in Hollywood late in the evening to eat.  I went to one of my old hang outs-The Cat N Fiddle.  When I walked in I was told that if I want food I would have to order now.  I asked if they had fish and chips-they did. So I ordered that.  I didn’t look at the menu-I just asked the waitress and ordered right away.  A short while later when my food came out I was appalled to see that my fish and chips were lying on a bed of green peas!  UGH!! Yuck!! I absolutely am repulsed by green peas. I asked her what this was and she said “Oh, it just comes that way.”   I’ve had a lot of fish and chips at British pubs and I’ve never seen it come that way.  She should have told me.  It was her responsibility to offer that information.

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The main point here is -Communication is Key.  Please, let your guests know.  I assure you they will appreciate being kept in the loop.  Hey, that’s another synonym for communication.

 

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Successful communication is not just about what is said but also how it is being said.  It also involves the sender of the message taking responsibility that the receiver actually got it.  It’s not enough to have the attitude of “Well, I told him. If he didn’t hear me that’s on him.”  Words have power and spoken words even more so.

Communication also involves listening.  Involves what? Exactly.   There is so much more involved in effective and successful communication and we’ve only scratched the surface here.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Thank you for enjoying another serving of Soupfly.  Please Like and Share on Social Media.  Also, I encourage you to hit the FOLLOW  button so you can receive an email each time a new Soupfly post is published.

Thank you for your continued support!!  And we now have readers in France!

Cheers and God Bless you All!!

Christoff J. Weihman

ASPIRE Enterprises

Las Vegas, NV

ChristoffJWeihman.com