Secrets to a Stellar Service? A Strong Team!

Working in the Hospitality Industry often attracts, big, interesting, dynamic independent personalities.  Employees are attracted to working in restaurants for a host of different reasons: the schedule, the interaction with people, the money, the flexibility, the adventure, the exposure to the culinary arts or because you need a job. The motivations are as diverse as the crew itself. Orchestrating a flawless service, maximizing the talent of all the unique individuals involved and producing a memorable experience, consistently, is a bit of an art.

What steps can Managers take to assure a great dining experience with effortless perfection?

Hire the Right People for the Right Job

Hospitality is one industry that will demonstrate who is a fit or not, pretty quickly. When interviewing ask questions that will demonstrate whether or not the candidate is a match for your team. Rather than asking, ‘do you have experience serving?’ Ask: ‘demonstrate for me how you greet a table?’ The example they give will tell you a lot. Servers need to think on their feet, they should be able to field any ‘example’ type question you throw their way.

Reinforce the Importance of Being Prepared, On-time and Showing up for Your Shift

Someone who gets up, dresses up, and shows up ready to work with their supplies will be very valuable in the industry.  Provide a checklist for your staff. Items that will help a bartender or server are: a small notepad, a handful of pens, cash and coins so they can make change on the spot if needed, and a working wine key.

Have a Brief Team Meeting at the start of every shift.  A ten minute huddle will set the tone for the upcoming service. All of the staff should be present for the meeting. Make it quick and meaningful. Start with what went wrong at the last service, end with what went right and discuss the goals for today’s shift.  Set an aspirational target for the next service: a wine bottle selling contest, push a new special, or ask the patron to provide feedback on their experience on social media. Reward the winner at the next meeting. Prizes are always appreciated!

Get Comfortable with Tough Conversations. Things happen, kids get sick, trains are missed, we all have off days. Even your best employees may slip once in a while. As you have your meetings and conversations with staff, great words to use when delivering tough messages are “we are firm but compassionate.” Use your judgment as to when flexibility should be granted.  You’ll feel it when someone needs a break or a second chance.  By creating a family environment where all are accepted and encouraged to do their best, you’ll be well on your way to creating a Stellar Team. You’ll have future employees waiting in the sidelines for the opportunity to join the work party you’ve created.


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