Sunday, November 20, 2005

Sincere Motivated vs Proper Service

How many times have you dined in a wonderful 3 star restaurant and came away feeling something was missing? The food was fantastic, the ambiance stunning and the proper service impeccably formal. Since our focus is on service, let's review your experience from a service perspective.

The hostperson welcomed you with a politically correct smile and greeting. They efficiently escorted you to your table. Your server was instantly at your table requesting if you cared for a beverage. Meanwhile water and a beautiful display of breads miracously appeared on your table. The table was fine linen, crystal glasses and REAL silverware. Your food courses appeared in the proper time frames and the dishes were excellant. The wine was superb, the atmoshere hushed and elegant. As the valet gingerly handed you your car keys you said to your companion "we must do this again sometime." Driving home you knew you had a great dining experience but something was missing.

Your mind drifted back to the dining experience you and your companion had 2 months ago. You smile as you remembered the enjoyable evening.

The hostperson greeted you with a warm, sincere welcome. They noticed you had flowers and as they escorted you to your table asked "may I get a vase for your flowers and is this a special occasion?" Your server also warmly welcomed you to the restaurant, introduced himself AND his team by name and requested if you and your companion would like to try the restaurant's homemade beverages. The server assistant poured water in your glasses and asked if he could bring a basket of homemade breads. The table had clean pressed linen, the glassware was modern and the silverware unique. After each course the server informed you when the next course would be served, usually within seconds. Noticing one course barely touched a manager came and asked if their was anything wrong with the dish. You assured the manager you were just saving room for the rest of the meal. The wine was a pleasant surpise and different from the usual Pinot Noirs you've tasted. The server had thoughtfully given you the name, vintage and where you could purchase the bottle in the area. As you were leaving, the hostperson gave you an enthusiastic goodbye and informed you your car was being brought up by the valet (the server had requested your valet ticket when he gave you the check) The valet thanked you and wished you a wonderful and safe evening.

The two scenarios just given were embellished to show the difference between formal proper service and genuine caring service. Proper service techniques can be taught and executed. However only a Motivated Service Team can give warm sincere service. Ambiance isn't always the cost of items in an environment. The ambiance should complement the service and not vice versa. Todays restaurant managers are inudated with information thanks to our wonderful technolgy. We follow trends, do demographics on almost a daily basis. We can get into what I call the "Plug and Play Concepts Game." We hear of a hot new concept, download the information with templates, etc. and roll it out at our next staff or shift meeting. Three months later we're trying something else. We are so busy on "what's hot" we are not focusing on the service to our guests. Kitchen service (i.e. food quality and presentation) become sloppy. Guest service becomes hurried or indifferent. Then we wonder why our profit line is decreasing.

Next we begin finger pointing as to why we aren't doing well as a restaurant. That sounds like an interesting subject for our next blog.