Happy December. There’s a bit of a coolness in the air, ugly sweaters and elves on shelves are everywhere and we know that we are well into the Holiday Season. Yes, it’s that wonderful festive, joyous, stressful, happy, (depressing-for some) time of year-the Holiday Party Season for the restaurant and service industry. Many businesses in the service industry do the largest percentage of their year’s business over the two and a half to three months, from November til early January.
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 these 2-3 months are super busy and crazy. You also know that you can expect to make a lot more money than during other slower months-like August.
Unfortunately for the customer, sometimes 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! / Five Star Service & Hospitality at all the holiday parties and events you host and serve.
First, I’m going to address something that needs to be stated. 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. Many times it seems that there is often a lack of attention and focus on doing the job well and right because the service staff is already guaranteed a specific tip ahead of time. Since the tip is already included the server is no longer “earning” their tip. But if you think about it, this ought to cause the Service Professional to desire to do an even better job in to provide great service. However the opposite is sometimes the standard. 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.
Host, Hostess, Maitre D’ (HHM) It is so very 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. Welcome them. “Hi, Good Evening, Welcome. 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 host stand 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. You are the first impression and when you exude positive energy, and greet guests with your upbeat attitude, you really do set the tone for the guests entire evening. If you feel overwhelmed, or stressed, take a few deep breaths, smile and welcome your guests. They will remember how special and welcomed you made them feel as soon as they set foot into your establishment.
Servers-Communication and accuracy of order are so important. When food is being served-sometimes there is no system of distribution. There is a lack of 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.
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 2018 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.
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? Having eye contact and personal connection with each guest even when servicing a very large group, will make for a very positive impact on the entire event. Your guests are not expecting perfection, but they do expect a level of excellence that you and your team certainly are fully capable to provide. This is your time to shine. Imagine as you serve this large group of guests that you are making such a positive impression upon them that many of them, will become your regulars in the future.
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 or her order to be made. Communication is so key in this situation. The server is depending upon their busser or assistant to help things go smoothly. Teamwork is absolutely vital in this situation.
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. If you are serving dishes to be served family style, please provide serving spoons, forks, tongs. Don’t wait to be asked. Provide spoons for sauces. Be proactive. Your guests will be very grateful for your forethought.
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. You’ve done amazing in service thus far. Keep up the high standard of excellence by clearing unwanted items off the table. You may think it’s a small thing. I promise you it makes a huge impact.
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 2018 to serve ladies first. Please endeavor to make this happen.
Management-One challenge that happens during the Holiday Season is that when restaurants are booked with so many parties, they sometimes 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. Of course every restaurant is different but no server should be taking that large of a party alone. It would be better to have 2 or 3 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.
Touch Tables– As a manager, one of your roles and a vital one is to engage your guests and ensure their great experience. Don’t be that manager that stays in the office and only emerges when a complaint comes to you. You have a great team but they need your presence and support. Though it may be stressful, this can be a fun, exciting, enjoyable Holiday Season for everyone, guests, staff and management alike.
Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!!
Thank you for reading!! I know it’s been a while. I appreciate all my Soupfly Readers from all around the world. Thank you for your loyal support. Please feel free to share your comments.
Christoff J. Weihman
If you are inspired to up your Customer Service game, I invite you to order a copy of my book, Getting to WOW! Everybody WINS with 5 Star Service or my new one, The Customer Experience, (a Number 1 Amazon Best Seller) please go here.
Welcome Back to Soupfly!
It’s been a while and I’ve missed you all. Here is a fresh serving of Soupfly for you to enjoy!
Breaking Free of the Mediocre Mindset (Choosing and Using Better Words)
Words have power. They have the power to affect us. Positively or negatively. The words we say. And even the words we think. Our words affect our mindset, which in turn affect our feelings and inform the actions we take. Words spoken and unspoken. Conscious and unconscious. Our words affect the people we speak them to. Words carry energy.
I have noticed for some time now that there is an overall lax in the workplace in terms of the way people communicate to and with customers. Every day, in so many interactions, we hear service professionals being very non-intentional with their words. Saying the same thing over and over to customer after customer. Do we even give any conscious thought to the words we speak?
At a retail or grocery store, “Did you find everything ok?”
A host or hostess to a guest upon entering a restaurant, “Two?”
A restaurant server to the guest, “Is everything ok?” “Are you still doing ok?”
At any business establishment, “Have a good one.” A good what I ask?
At a bank, “I can help.” Not “Hi, how may I help you?” ?
When a customer says “Thank you”, oftentimes the response is “No problem.” What happened to “You’re welcome”? And by the way, why are you not thanking me for my business instead of me just thanking you?
At some establishments, like The Ritz Carlton, they say, “My pleasure” or “It’s my pleasure”. What a difference that is. Which sounds better and conveys a better feeling message; “No problem.” Or “My pleasure”?
What is wrong with saying “Is everything ok?” you ask. Nothing really. But it’s just a word that the only thing it conveys is a sense of average. Mediocrity. Think about it, do you really want your customers to be ok? Or would you prefer their experience to be great, awesome, wonderful, enjoyable?
My mentor and friend, James Dentley, says that average or mediocre is “The best of the worst and the worst of the best. It’s the top of the bottom and the bottom of the top.” Now tell me, is that what you want to be? Average? Mediocre? The words you use reveal what is in your mind. Are you being intentional or are you just using words that you’ve always used everyday and that everybody everywhere always uses?
Yes, I am particular and conscientious about the words I use and choose. But I too, fall into the trap sometimes. In fact, last month when I was speaking at a large sales rally in Chicago, I had just mentioned earlier in my presentation that we should be intentional and aware of the words we use. I even recommended omitting the word “ok” from our vocabulary and replacing it with something that carried more positivity. Then, literally moments after I mentioned this, I said, something like, “Is it ok for us to have fun?” And they all shouted “No it’s not ok. It’s great.” Good to know that they were paying attention and that perhaps I made an impact. The called me out on what I myself was speaking about.
I believe there may be better words for us to use. So, for example, when you mean acceptable, allowed, etc. why not use those words instead of ‘ok’? When you mean comfortable, satisfied or feeling well, why not say that instead of “Are you ok?”
These are just a few examples of what, in my opinion is laziness and a mediocre mindset. I know that these professionals are not intending any negativity by the words they say. However, neither are they putting any conscious effort into conveying a positive energy. They are not setting the tone in an upbeat manner.
When calling a company, oftentimes, the person answering the phone doesn’t even say the name of the company. Sometimes it’s merely, “Hello,” It’s a simple thing, but actually saying, “Thank you for calling Tony’s Bistro. How may I help you?” goes a long way to making the customer feel comfortable. Do you really appreciate their business? How do you show it? Do you answer the phone in a way that sends out a positive, upbeat, and welcoming message? Or does it convey that you really don’t care who’s calling, if anyone is calling or not?
In a day when business in all industries is over-the-top competitive, there has to be a way to stand out amongst the sea of mediocrity. Are you just going through the motions, hour after hour, day after day at your job? Or do you look forward to coming to work, with a positive mindset, an attitude of anticipation, filled with enthusiasm and eager to be of service to your customers?
Do you come to work with a conscious knowing that you have the power to positively impact your customers? With your smile, your attitude, your energy, and your words? You do. Our words have power. Your words have power. What kind of impact do you desire to have upon those that you encounter every day? It’s your choice. Words do have power. But words filled with mediocrity convey no power. Don’t let your words merely convey mediocrity. Don’t ask if everything is ‘ok’. Refuse to think, be or say the word “ok”. It’s a mindset. Do you really want your customers, your guests, your clients to think that your service or product is “ok”? Wouldn’t you love if your customers perceived that doing business with you was a pleasant, exciting, fun, stress free, and enjoyable experience? Something more than just ‘ok’?
In the words of my mentor, Les Brown, “You have greatness within you.” Let your words be one way in which you share that greatness with the world.
Thank you for reading. I am super grateful for all my Soupfly readers from around the world. If you enjoy what you read please comment below, follow and connect with us on Social Media!
Cheers and God Bless you All!
Christoff J. Weihman
To order copies of my books, Getting to WOW! or The Customer Experience please go here:
In case you haven’t heard, a little over a week ago, on June 30, my 2nd book, The Customer Experience hit NUMBER 1 on Amazon in 3 Categories and in paperback and Kindle version in those categories!!
Business & Money-Customer Relations-NUMBER 1
Sales & Marketing-Customer Service NUMBER 1
Business & Money-Leadership & Training NUMBER 1
Also, we were number 3,8 & 10 in 3 other Categories Business & Money-Company Culture Business & Money- Company Infrastructure Small Business & Entrepreneurship
I am Super Grateful to all of you who participated, supported, purchased, and helped me achieve this Amazing Accomplishment. I couldn’t have done it without you. You know who you are.
God Bless you-Every one of you!
Also, I am deeply Grateful and filled with Appreciation beyond words to my Amazing Wife, Life & Business Partner, Michelle Renee Weihman who was by my side to make this happen together.
There are a lot of very exciting things in the works coming from Christoff J. Weihman, The Customer Experience & ASPIRE Enterprises.
I am available for interviews on podcasts, radio, television, Facebook lives, any other media to share value from The Customer Experience Cheers Everyone!
In Celebration of this accomplishment-we have marked down The Customer Experience from it’s normal price of $26.95 to only $20.00-available on my website.
Order your copy today and I will gladly sign it for you!
For International orders outside of the United States-please order on Amazon:
I appreciate All my Soupfly Readers from all over the world.
Please feel free to connect with/follow me on Social Media and to leave comments below!
Cheers & God Bless You All!
Christoff J. Weihman
702 848 8955
The Cure to Procrastination
Have you ever started a project and not finished it? Have you ever told yourself you’re going to do something but it never got done? I know I have. Many times. You start off with a grand vision, an amazing idea, you put your ideas down on paper and you start with high energy and enthusiasm. Then after a couple days or weeks or months the excitement wears off. You get distracted. You lose your focus and drive. Oh, you still dream about doing or finishing the project you began, to write a book, start an online business, take art lessons, but for one reason or another you put it off. You procrastinate. The project winds up in a drawer, on a shelf or somewhere out of view.
Oftentimes people use perfectionism as an excuse to procrastinate. We have the mindset that it needs to be perfect before we can release it to the public. But what this does is delay sharing your genius, your talent your gift with the world. And that is a shame. You were blessed with your gifts and talents so you can be a blessing to others. Your gifts are not for you. You were given them so you can share them with the world. By procrastinating, you are cheating your audience.
Here’s the truth, your project will NOT be perfect. There may be flaws, mistakes. If you’re writing a book, even if you have the most educated, experienced, talented editor, there still may be a misspelled word or incorrect grammar. Don’t sweat it. You must be confident that you are creating something of value that people need.
The cure to procrastination is to have a standard of Excellence and then to realize that it may not be perfect. I’m not talking about being satisfied with mediocrity. It’s good enough mindset is not good enough. You have talents and gifts to share. Use them. Develop them. Be the best you that you can be. Go create that project with a standard of Excellence and then once it’s great, even if it’s not perfect-put it out there. Publish it. Release it. Share your genius with the public. Realize that NOT everyone will love it. That’s okay. There is an audience that needs to hear, and receive what you have to share. There are people who WILL love what you have to say, and share.
So, stop wasting time. Set a deadline for yourself. Envision the powerful positive impact your creation will have upon your audience. Set aside the time, put away the distractions and tell yourself, “I’m going to do this.” And then set about to getting it done. You will feel so elated once you’ve accomplished it. Doing so will exponentially grow your confidence and the world will be happy that you have shared your gift. You have greatness within you, don’t let it stay inside.
Thanks for reading. I appreciate all my Soupfly readers from all over the world. If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to share on Social Media.
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Christoff J. Weihman
702 848 8955
Welcome Back to Soupfly!!
It has been a while since I’ve posted an article here but now I’m back!
I miss all my amazing, supportive Soupfly readers from around the world. There are so many exciting things happening which I will share at the end of the this article. I hope you enjoy this.
“It has been said that Perfection is unattainable, but my experience has proven that Excellence is within our reach, and I’ll choose and aspire to Excellence every time”
People often make mistakes, miss the mark and mess up. We forget to call a customer who is waiting for an answer. We hit the wrong button disconnecting a customer who’s been on hold for fifteen minutes. We put the wrong address on a package to be shipped, we ring in the wrong item on a customer’s order and we charge them double, and God forbid, but sometimes we mistakenly give the wrong medicine to a patient. We are human. We are fallible. We make mistakes and we are imperfect beings. But our goal, our standard, what we aspire to must always be a standard of Excellence.
A person of Excellence is always a person of Excellence. The customer experience will inevitably, at some point, have missteps and imperfections. No customer expects perfection. If they do, they’re not living in the real world. What I hope for is that you desire and choose to become a person of Excellence. If you take pride in how you show up to work, your attire, your attitude, your energy, your demeanor, that is going to translate into an exceptional customer experience.
I’ve experienced many times at a restaurant when something was not correct. I call these instances a ‘Soupfly’-something that could go wrong, like a fly in your soup. I did not order soup with a fly in it. You, my server, did not put it in there, I’m hoping. And yet, there it is. But it’s not the end of the world, nor is it the end of the opportunity for me to have a great dining experience. You are a person of Excellence, so what do you do? First obviously, you apologize. No finger pointing, no excuses. Just take responsibility and own it. “I am so sorry, sir. We are not known for serving flies in our soup. Please accept my apology.”
Then what? Make sure you tell the manager and let’s move on. Bring me something that you know I will enjoy. If I’m vegan-I am, then do not offer to bring me your finest ribeye. If I’m gluten-free, my wife is, don’t offer to bring me your best fettucine alfredo. A person of Excellence is always a person of Excellence.
If you don’t take pride in how you answer the phone or set the table, how can I be sure that you are diligent in communicating my dietary needs and allergies to the chef when you place my order?
One of my favorite mentors, T. Harv Eker, author of Secrets of the Millionaire Mind, says,
“How you do anything, is how you do everything.”
And as my wife is fond of saying and reminding me, “A person of Excellence is always a person of Excellence.”
I think she is quoting me when she says that. No matter.
Your pursuit of excellence should carry through to every aspect of your work. This includes how you communicate with your customers. Excellence should be your standard in all you do, not just when someone is looking. Excellence and integrity are inextricably linked. You can’t have one without the other.
Excellence is NOT Perfection
We are not expecting perfection. We are expecting excellence. Striving for excellence allows for room to grow. Like my friend, International Speaker, James Dently, often says, “The largest room in the world is the room for improvement.”
We all can get better every day, as we strive for and make Excellence our standard. Excellence is not perfection. However, average is never acceptable. Don’t say or think or have the mindset of “It’s okay”. No, its not. Okay is not okay. Okay is mediocre.
Excellence is Contagious
When you commit to Excellence, that commitment will shine through and it will cause others to follow suit. You will positively affect those around you as you make Excellence your standard. You will be an inspiration to your colleagues and your peers. Your customers will be attracted to you and will come back for more because they know what you stand for and strive for. Excellence is what you deliver.
A championship team is made up of many champions, not just one superstar. This is as true in business as it is in sports. Michael Jordan led his team, the Chicago Bulls, to 6 NBA Championships. He set a standard of Excellence for his teammates. Yes, he was the leader but the team members rose to that standard of Excellence set for them.
You must do likewise for your team, even if you are not the official leader. You can lead by example. By being a person of Excellence.
Thank you for reading. This is an excerpt from my upcoming new best seller, I Am the Customer Experience, Consciously Creating & Elevating the Emotional Journey. Watch for it’s release mid-March 2018! We will be doing an Amazon Best Seller campaign the week that the book is released. I look forward to your support to help me achieve this awesome goal of becoming a Number 1 Best Selling Author on Amazon!!! And I humbly, thank you in advance for your support!
Online Course: I am currently developing an online course with YouWillChangetheWorld.com
The course will be based on content from my new book, I Am the Customer Experience. I am super excited and grateful for this opportunity to bring value to you in another format.
Training & Speaking: Last year was a great year in terms of sharing the message of Getting to WOW! / Five Star Customer Service. I was blessed and honored to speak to a number of conferences and do training for many clients. This year my goal is to speak on many more stages at many more conferences and seminars and to train thousands of people at a multitude of companies and organizations around the U.S. and Internationally as well. If you are interested in finding out more about how I may be able to Inspire, Motivate and Equip your Team to Elevate the quality of Customer Experience that you provide for your clientele, please contact me and lets talk. I look forward to being of Service.
Elevating the Customer Experience,
Christoff J. Weihman
702 848 8955