Posted by Katrina Degel, owner of The Waiter Depot on Sep 12th 2016
We all are guilty of regretting something we said at a table, but what about the less obvious mistakes? Yes, it can be exhausting to always be "on" for your guests, but create good habits and it becomes second-nature. Do you ever say these phrases? Maybe you are missing out on money or your guests missed out on a more complete experience...
SILLY: "Sure, the salad is big enough for an entree."
FIX: "I might suggest a side dish
of the eggplant parmesan, or another appetizer to create a full meal."
Suggestion is your strong-suit: all guests are in your hands. So guide them to the meal that you would want, every time.
SILLY: "Have you finished your cocktail?"
FIX: “Would you like another gin
martini, or a glass of wine perhaps?”
Every interaction is an opportunity to suggest the next move, so don’t waste it. Be specific.
SILLY: “Would you like to see the
FIX: “Did you save any room for our famous, gooey, baked chocolate pudding with
homemade vanilla icecream?”
Almost every guest wants dessert, but they need to be persuaded. Tempt them with a passionate description of your favorite dessert, and make it a simple yes or no question. If they are still on the fence, suggest a cookie plate to share or that you could bring the menu to help them decide.
SILLY: “I haven’t tried it but it
FIX: “Oh yeah, the pork chop is
fantastic. It comes from a local farm and is topped with a peach confit, and
served with polenta cakes.”
Don’t ever tell your guest that you don’t know something unless you are going to go and find out the specific answer to their question. You are in charge of their experience, so make them believe they are in good hands. If you are asked which item they should order or if something is good, create an answer that only leads to a solid decision and builds their confidence in you.
SILLY: “Would you like more water?”
ask, just do it.
Unless it is the bitter end of the night, automatically fill up your guest’s water glasses. Be available and active at your tables so your guests have an opportunity to order from you or ask questions: if you aren’t there for even one moment in which a guest wishes you were, you are docked a few points in his/her mind. Of course, we can’t always be there, so asking your fellow teammates to fill water glasses is a great way to keep a presence at the table.