The 3 P’s Vital to Service and Hospitality Success

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WELCOME BACK TO SOUPFLY!!

Hello Everyone! It has been a very busy anniversary, visiting Grandson- quick trip to Minnesota, mini-stay-cation ( i don’t normally use/like that word), prepping for big Mandalay manager’s meeting presentation,  week, -so I wanted to bring to you One of our Most Popular Soupfly posts from last year. Please Enjoy Reading!! A fresh new Soupfly will be coming your way next week!!

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!!

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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!

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Cheers and God Bless you all!!!

Christoff J. Weihman

ASPIRE Enterprises

Las Vegas, NV

725 777 9900

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Helpful Hints for Holiday Party Hospitality

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WELCOME BACK TO SOUPFLY!

Continuing on our theme from last week’s post, I will be sharing here some helpful hints to help make your Holiday events Successful.  It is so important that we think from the customer’s perspective.  In doing so, we’ll be better equipped to not only meet their expectations, but hopefully to really provide a WOW! experience for all.

As I mentioned previously, we all know that this time of year-the Holiday Party Season, is for many, including restaurants and such establishments, very busy and hectic.  But this season need not be a source of stress-it is meant to be a happy, joyous and celebratory time.  Let’s endeavor to make it so.  With that in mind, take a deep breath and let’s dive in with some thoughts that can ensure a smooth flow of service for each and every party or group event at your establishment.  The following is by no means meant to exhaustive but merely 5 helpful hints.

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  1. Start with a Positive Attitude
    This may seem very elementary and it is, but I’ve seen so many Service & Hospitality Professionals stressed out during the service of large parties.  They often are seen running frantically, to and from the bar, the kitchen and the dining room.  The energy that you convey and exude literally is being transmitted and transferred to your guests.  You want your guests to enjoy this very special occasion.  Your job is to help ensure that they have a wonderful holiday party.  So, please begin with a positive mindset, with positive energy and with the expectation that everything is going to go smoothly, orderly and in a timely fashion. Your Attitude affects your outcome. Of course, being organized ahead of time will make it easier to have a good positive attitude.

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  2. Be Knowledgeable
    Please know your menu, your wine list and your specials. Imagine that you are serving a large group and as you are taking their order, one of your guests ask a question to which you don’t know the answer. Your response of, “I can go find out for you” is not providing great service. So, if your guest says, “Yes, could you please find out for me?”, now you have to either go back to the kitchen to get the answer, putting a halt on the order taking of the rest of the table.  Or you decide to take everyone else’s order-skipping this individual for the moment, and then you go to the kitchen to find the answer and THEN return to your guest to provide him or her with the answer.  This slows everything down for the rest of the table and does not make for smooth flow of service.  I admit, yours is a very difficult job. There is a lot that you must know.  Please educate yourself and do not rely on the “I can go find out for you” method.  If your guest has asked a question, they probably really want to know the answer BEFORE they decide what to order.

    Many times for large parties-there is already a set menu with limited options available for guests to choose from. In this case your job is a little bit easier.  Still, I encourage you, become a student of what you are selling. You really need to know the menu completely.

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  3. Think of Your Grandma
    Jeffrey Gitomer, Sales Guru and Customer Service Expert says to “Treat every customer as though they were your favorite celebrity, hero, friend, neighbor or GRANDMA.”  I completely agree with him. Actually, I would say, just Grandma.  If you knew your Grandma was going out to a restaurant with a group of people for a holiday event you would want her to have a great experience, right?  And if afterwards, she told you how awful it was, the Service staff were not polite, they didn’t get her order right, it seemed like they didn’t care and they weren’t friendly to her, how would you feel?  Because you’re in the the industry and because you’re a professional you’d feel bad for her, right?  You would also probably think or even say to her, “Well, Grandma, that would not have happened if you and your group came to my restaurant and I was serving you.”  -That’s the kind of attitude and approach and care you must take for EVERY group that comes to your place of business.  Ask yourself, “Is the service I’m delivering right now, the level and type of service that I would be proud to deliver to my Grandma, my Parents, my Loved ones?”  Hopefully the answer will be yes. Sometimes with Grandma you may need to be a little more patient.  You may need to explain or repeat things.  If Grandma-your guest- doesn’t know what quinoa is, or hummous, or arugula or whatever, take a moment and explain.  Be kind, be gracious and be helpful.

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  4. Consider the Coats
    The temperature is dropping all around the country and yes, most everyone will be bundling up as they go out to these wonderful festive parties.  The problem is that oftentimes their coats are too big and bulky to hang on the back of the chair at which they’re seated or the restaurant doesn’t have nearly enough hook space for the number of guests.  Perhaps your guests may arrive wearing long knee length or longer, coats which actually are much taller than the height of their chairs.  So what to do?  I know this may not be something that you’ve considered, but again put yourself in the shoes-or in this case, the coats, of your guests.  They got all dressed up to come to this Holiday gathering at your restaurant, they’re decked out in their favorite long winter coat and when they arrive they find out there is nowhere to hang their coat.  How frustrating. Now they spend the entire evening picking up their coat as it gets brushed and knocked to the floor every time a service staff or someone else walks by.

    So, what is the answer?  I know every restaurant is set up differently and the answer may require some creativity on your part. Of course if yours is a more upscale restaurant-you probably solve this issue with providing a coat check service.  But what of the smaller establishments?  I know it’s not ideal, but at one place where I worked in the past, we actually stacked up the coats in the owner’s office.  Will that be the answer for your establishment?  I don’t know but I do know that this is a situation that you need to be aware of.  It’s really very similar to during rainy season when all your patrons are coming in with soaking wet umbrellas. Do you want all your guests carrying wet umbrellas to their table, dripping all across the dining room floor and creating a slipping hazard?  Of course providing a bucket to stash umbrellas in is a bit easier of a remedy than where to place 25, 40 or 50 coats.  I don’t know the answer for your establishment but I do know that considering the coats and having a solution will help you deliver WOW! Service.

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  5. Respect Food Sensitivities
    There may be nothing more disheartening for a guest at a Holiday Party than to find out that there is really nothing on the set menu or even the regular menu that he or she can eat. If you are creating a set menu for your Holiday Group Parties, please make sure that there is a vegetarian or vegan option as well as a gluten free option available. This should be something that is thought of, considered and planned for ahead of time. Perhaps the one organizing the event from the company or organization didn’t think about this. But you the Service Professional should be aware and discuss this with whomever is planning said event. Or at the very least, please have options for these sensitivities available to be ordered by your guests.

    No one wants to go to a Holiday Party if they know that they’ll just be watching everyone else enjoying their dinner.  Again, what if your Grandma was Celiac and she went to a party where they had nothing for her to eat?  And a suggestion, please use some creativity. If you’re serving Filet Mignon to the majority of the people, please don’t just put a plate of steamed broccoli and carrots in front of your vegan guests-that is not very festive.

    Perhaps worse than a guest not being able to eat anything at a Holiday Party because the establishment was not able to accommodate his food allergy or sensitivity, would be if they ate something that they thought was okay but then they later find out had gluten in it or whatever their senstivity was.  This is a very serious issue and could cause discomfort or sickness for your guest. That would not make for a very good Holiday Party.

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    One last thought: So many times I’ve seen guests at restaurants walking out carrying a stack of 2 or 3 or more togo containers because either they didn’t ask or the server forgot to offer/give them a bag to carry them in. Please Give A Bag.
    If you implement these 5 hints you will be on the road to a successful Holiday Party Season. You will be creating and delivering WOW! Service for your guests, who in turn will hopefully, become loyal, long time fans of you and your establishment.

    Thank you for Reading!  Happy Holiday Party Season!!  I appreciate all my Soupfly Readers from over 100 plus countries around the world!!

    I invite you to hit the Follow button below.  Also, please Like our Facebook page:   https://www.facebook.com/SoupFly-1438615929733655/

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God Bless and Cheers!!!

Christoff J. Weihman

ASPIRE Enterprises

Las Vegas, NV

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To order your copy of my book, Getting to WOW! Everybody WINS with 5 Star Service go here:

http://gettingtowowbook.com/

For Customers outside the United States please order on Amazon:

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Every Holiday Party Deserves 5 Star Hospitality

WELCOME BACK TO SOUPFLY!! 

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Now that Halloween is past and we’ve turned our clocks back-(at least in the United States), and there’s a bit of a cool nip in the air, it signals that the Holidays are fast approaching. Soon we’ll be seeing the return of ugly sweaters, elves on shelves and Black Friday shopping mania.  That wonderful festive, joyous, stressful, happy, depressing time of year.  Yes, it is Holiday Party Season for the restaurant and service industry. Many businesses do the largest percentage of their year’s business over the next two and a half to three months, from November til early January.

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This time of year is a huge revenue generator for most in the Hospitality Industry. This is the time of catered office parties, large family reunions and get-togethers, special romantic dinners, and huge corporate events.  If you work in any type of restaurant or bar-you know that the next 2-3 months are going to be super busy and crazy.  You also know that you can expect to make a lot more money than  during other slower months-like August.

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Unfortunately for the customer, oftentimes these large parties,  group dinners and special events don’t always receive the best of attention, care and concern that they ought.

Ensuring 5 Star Hospitality for Your Holiday Parties

Here are a few thoughts to keep in mind to ensure that you are truly delivering WOW! Service & Hospitality at all the holiday parties and events you host and serve.

First, I’m going to address something and I know that many of you will disagree with me, but I feel compelled to say.  All of these holiday parties, group dinners etc., because they have a certain number of people-6 or more-the gratuity is already included. It is what we call in industry speak “auto-grat”-as in automatic gratuity.  What I have observed many times is that there is often a lack of attention and focus and frankly on doing the job well and right because the service staff is already guaranteed a specific tip ahead of time.  It seems to happen on large groups-where the server is no longer “earning” their tip.  In my mind though, it ought to cause the Service Professional to desire to do an even better job, provide above average service. This sub-par service takes many forms. I want to share with you some things to avoid and some tips to apply to ensure that every party or group you and your team serves receives 5 Star Service.

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Three couples dining together at restaurant
Three couples dining together at restaurant

Host, Hostess, Maitre D’ (HHM)  It is super important for you to realize that You set the Tone. How you greet and seat your guests establishes the tone of the evening and what they expect their dinner event to be like. Please be pleasant and polite and use sentences. Don’t just say, “Can I get a name?” or “How many?” Use your personality and actually engage your guests. Greet them. “Hi, Good Evening, Do you have a reservation? What name is it under?”  Or “Hello, welcome to abc restaurant. Have you been in before? Are you with the XYZ Corporate Party?”  Your job is extremely important. And yes, when you have 50 people crowding your reception area and you have only a few non-reserved seats that you can sell and you have to tell people that it’s going to be a 1 to 1 1/2 hour wait-it can be very stressful for you.  But you must keep your composure, keep smiling, be attentive and send out positive energy. You play a very vital role in the overall smooth flow of service and the perception the guests have of your establishment.

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Servers-Communication and accuracy of order are so important.  When food is being served-there is often no system of distribution. There is no organization or communication between the service staff as to who ordered what. In this situation the food is auctioned-“Who had the chicken parmagian?  Who had the veal saltimbucca?”  etc. This is not professional. This is not great service.  This is poor service. The Service Professional, whomever is acting as the lead or head waiter over the table or group must do exactly that-take the lead. Write down position numbers of the tables. Draw out a chart with seat positions, and what each order is.  By doing this, other team members who are assisting in serving- can refer to your diagram and efficiently and smoothly serve the proper order to each guest. It is very disconcerting and quite comical (not in a good way) to watch as guests pass plates after the server has left the table because they were not served what they ordered.

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Communicate effectively with the kitchen.  As much as possible, make every effort to serve ladies first. If that is not possible on the entrees-certainly you can ensure that ladies are served their initial drinks first, and their salads.  It is still proper in 2015 to serve ladies first.  Please endeavor to make this happen

Timing-Most people when they dine out together whether it’s a couple, a group of 6 or 20, they would like to be served at the same time.  Many restaurants seem to treat groups like they’re eating tapas-sending out a couple of dishes at a time. This is not good service.  As a Server in charge of a large table, you must act as the conductor or the quarterback, leading your team to seamlessly provide great service. You must develop your Restaurant Eyes and non-verbal cues that you can use to communicate to your team without saying in front of your guests.  There is a whole chapter on this in my book, Getting to WOW! Everybody WINS with 5 Star Service.

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Connect and Care- Even though you are serving a large group of people all at once, rather than the usual 2 or 4 or 6, you must still maintain that personalized service.  Don’t view them as merely a group-Treat each guest as special.  Look at them as you take their order.  Don’t just stand at the head of the table and shout to each person, saying “And you Ma’am, what will you have? And you, sir, what is your order?” never once looking up from your notepad as you write it down. That is not great service.  Treat each one as if they were your Grandmother, your mother or best friend.  How would you talk to and treat them if you were serving them in your restaurant?

Bussers, Food Runners, Server Assistants-When you are assisting serving a large party or bringing the food out to a server, you must ensure that the order is correct and complete before returning to the kitchen. It is very frustrating for a server to be standing at a table about to serve a group of 10 or more and he sees that there is an item that is missing or incorrect but the food runner, the busser, and the server assistant are all nowhere to be found. He is now feeling stranded, abandoned. He still has to serve each of these guests and he knows that some item is missing. Did the kitchen forget to plate it up? To put it on the tray? Did he the server forget/neglect to put the order in?  Precious seconds are ticking as he knows that at least one guest will have to wait for his order to be made.  Communication is so key in this situation. Oftentimes the server is depending upon their busser or assistant to help things go smoothly.

Anticipate your guests needs.  If the glass is half full and it’s a free refill item-water, iced tea, soda, coffee-please don’t wait for the guest to ask-offer to refill.

Pre-buss.  Both Servers and Bussers need to be on the top of their game with this.  Many times with group service there is a lack of attention to detail of clearing unused, unneeded or dirty items from the table.

Communicate effectively with the kitchen.  As much as possible, make every effort to serve ladies first. If that is not possible on the entrees-certainly you can ensure that ladies are served their initial drinks first, and their salads.  It is still proper in 2015 to serve ladies first.  Please endeavor to make this happen.

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Management-One of the biggest problems or challenges I see during the Holiday Season is that when restaurants are booked with so many parties, they tend to be understaffed.  I’ve been places where one server is serving 25, 30 or more guests all by herself.  That is not great service.  There is no way to provide WOW! Service if you are stretching your staff so thin. I know every restaurant is different but no server should be taking that large of a party alone. It would be better to have 2 servers share the duties of a large group and then for each server to also have a couple of smaller tables that are seated staggered in time. Yes, this is stressful for you.  Yes, making schedules work is a challenge but it is also your most lucrative time of year.  You must lead by example with a sincere desire to make every guest’s experience at your establishment a positive and memorable one.

There are many more points to cover on how to really give 5 Star Service to every Group, all the time. We’ll continue this conversation in our next post.  Until then, Thank you for reading.  Happy Holiday Season!!

If you are interested in ordering a copy of my book, Getting to WOW! Everybody WINS with 5 Star Service, you may order here (it is still on special for a few more days)

http://gettingtowowbook.com/

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Outside the U,S. please order your copies on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Getting-WOW-Everybody-WINS-Service/dp/0692359192/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1446594420&sr=1-1&keywords=christoff+j.+weihman

Happy Holiday Season to Everyone! I appreciate your continued Support. Please Like us on Facebook 

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God Bless You and Cheers!!

Christoff J. Weihman

ASPIRE Enterprises

Las Vegas, NV

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