Monday, December 11, 2006

Nothing New

Who remembers tableside service? Many of us who are seasoned (i.e. older) restaurant service professionals remember tableside service. The days of steak dianes. ceasar salads, strawberries romanoff, bananas foster, carving racks of lamb, etc.etc. In fact there was a time in certain areas if you couldn't perfrom tableside service you couldn't work in a formal diningroom. We studied cuts of meat, sauces, cooking tempatures, carving and you were asked to make at least 2 tableside dishes as part of our interview. Where am I going with this? There seems to be a resurgent in tableside service with a twist. Today's tableside service is not a lot of cooking but the SERVICE part emphasized. Why? BECAUSE CUSTOMERS/GUESTS WANT PERSONAL SERVICE. I am hopeful that as we move away from order takers/waitpersons we will embrace Service Professionals as a job description in the future. Of course this coin has two sides. The other side of being called a Service Professional means you must know your craft. Wine service, food preparation techniques, sauces, infusions, proper service and professional demeanor. This requires training and SELF-STUDY. As we move into a New Year we truly know "Change is inevitable Growth is optional" May we have a FRUITFUL 2007.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Secret to Service Success

Okay we've been discussing this Restaurant Service Journey long enough, what's the bottom line? Is there one key to successful service in all restaurants.? Yes! OUR SERVICE STAFF. This includes management, utility, bussers, servers, cooks, hostpersons, etc. Anyone which is everyone who contributes to the service of your guests/customers. Today usually minimum amount of time and resources are spent on having the best staff possible. We spend huge amounts of money on marketing, equipment, decor and produce. We then cut costs in wages, uniforms, benefits and training. Then we have countless meetings on why we have little repeat business, high turnover, poor morale, theft and unprofessional service. Very few industries would send out the key people who represent their organization improperly attired, without proper tools, insufficient training and underpaid. We in the restaurant business do it daily. Let's think outside the traditional restaurant management box for a second. We build our business from the ground up. Demographic surveys, menu engineeering, market analysis, etc. We do look for that unique chef to fit our cusine and maybe a front of the house manager that understands our vision. We get the latest cool uniform for service staff (of course we don't think of getting input from anyone who will be working in them) maybe a Head server, hostess or captain, they haven't been hired yet (save that labor) NOW last but not least we have a job fair and hire 100 people for 60 permanent positions. Never would have thought of hiring 60 people who will stay with our restaurant if we offer professional working conditions similar to other professions. Rush through an accelerated training program and Viola! Opening night. What's wrong with this picture. You do the math. Honestly their are many restaurants and restaurant organizations that train and provide service staff with a professional environment to succed in. However generally the aforementioned scenario is the norm in our business. My love for the restaurant service and optimism for our industry tells me this is changing.