Ways To Motivate Servers

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Given the popularity of last Monday’s post on management styles, I decided to follow up with another management post.  This may become a regular Monday feature depending on the feedback.  While I am a server, I have worked on the other side of the office door.  I prefer serving.  I enjoy making guests happy and connecting with them.  Managing led me to have to deal with too many angry ones and not have the opportunity to prevent the problems in the first place.  As a manager, you spend your day fixing the problems your staff creates.  I moved back to serving years ago and don’t regret the decision.

In my time as a manager, I had the chance to test some of the theories on management that I had developed as a server.  It is far more difficult than it seems.  I decided when I made the switch that I was going to be the type of manager I wanted to work for.  This is where my theory of “Sergeants and Generals” was born.  Make no mistake about it; I was a Sergeant.  I always made it clear that I would never ask my staff to do anything I wouldn’t do.  I was forced to stand behind that principle enough times that no one doubted it.

At my first management job, I instituted three very specific ideas to motivate them.

Read the full post at The Manager’s Office

Three Ways to Describe Dishes

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One of the biggest stumbling blocks to servers when trying to make the jump from casual dining to nicer restaurants is describing nightly specials.  Learning to describe the dish in a way that makes it sound appealing without tasting or possibly even seeing the item can be difficult.  Many restaurants offer multiple specials on any given evening, which only serves to make it more complex.  Add to that the limited amount of time you have to learn it before your first table and you have a very stressful situation. It is imperative that you have a system in place to learn and recite information about the items you offer in a way that makes them appealing to the guest.

We have already discussed the importance of offering a recommendation and what words to use in it.   The skills discussed here are particularly relevant to servers who have to recite specials nightly, but can be employed by all servers.  When you offer a recommendation off the menu, you need to be prepared to describe the food in greater detail than the menu provides.  Describing food, whether it is on the menu or a nightly special, must be done in a way that makes the food appeal to the guest and paints a mental picture for them.  Ideally you want to create a mental picture of the entrée in their head while describing the flavors that make it exceptional.

Read the full post at Tips For Improving Your Tips

Servers Vs Dentists

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Here is a little video I made discussing how people act differently in restaurants as opposed to say the dentist’s office.

For more funny reflections of serving visit our new friend the only slightly cranky waitress

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Selling Away and Selling Up

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Great restaurants are often built around one or two signature entrees.  These meals get people talking to their friends and coming back again the next week.  Every menu has a few dishes that stand out from the rest.  Conversely, every menu has items that are not as well received.  Knowing how to steer your guests away from meals that will disappoint them and towards your best offering will lead to happier guests, larger checks, and more money in your pocket.

This blog will deal heavily with how to sell those signature items.  This post is about your backup strategy.  You should be recommending to tables the items that will make them most happy.  If they fail to take your advice and order something that you feel certain they will not like, it is you obligation to provide a word of caution.  How you do this is incredibly important.  Most servers will just take the order to avoid offending the guest.  Approached properly you can help guests avoid ordering mistakes while improving their perception of you.

Here are the steps to carefully move guests from sub par dishes to your specialties:

Read the full post at Tips for Improving Your Tips

Five Great Food Stories

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Who doesn’t love a great story?  Even before written language, humans shared stories to remember their great moments.  When we are children, our parents read us stories and as adults we read them to our children.  When we are with the people we have known the longest we tell stories of our past and work to create stories for the future.  It is fundamental to human nature to enjoy a good story.

The best stories are those we can pass along.  Over the years I have collected a great number of stories from guests and fellow servers.  They are referred to as stories rather than fact, because they are often oversimplified to the point of being inaccurate.  A great story must be both easy to understand and easy enough for you guest to tell their friends next time they eat out.  Getting too bogged down in details will lose the guest’s attention rather than making them feel smarter.  If your story makes them instantly think, “I can’t wait to tell that story,” you have a great story.

Here a five great stories to try on your guests.

Read the full post at Foodie Knowledge

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