Back to basics

There are both subtle and not-so-subtle service techniques. Some work best for fine dining, and some in a casual operation. But the basics work in every foodservice setting.


In honor of the back to school season, here are some service ABCs:

Restaurant managers should reinforce the basics of service
Announce the name of each menu item you set on the table. Think about it. Just ten minutes ago you're telling the customer your name, that you'll be their waiter, that you're practically their new best friend. Now you set a dish in front of them without so much as a hello? This is the one time that guests typically stop talking, anticipating the meal being placed before them. Take adavantage of this pause in the conversation. Reconnect with the guest by and show that you're delivering their order... as promised.

Be genuine. Great the guest with a warm smile, make a sincere eye-to-eye connection and give the customer the real thing. It doesn't matter what you say next, whether you bow or get down on your knees next to the table. If you're good at this, a genuine greeting will earn you straight A's.

Check back in a timely manner. Remember our 2 Bites, 2 Sips, 2 Minutes rule. If it takes longer than that, don't bother. It's will be a moot point that the french fries are cold or the steak is overcooked. And once the meals are underway, think of another reason to visit the table... and it better be good!

We've listed the service basics (from A all the way to Z) as a study sheet for your service team. Download it , copy it, and then review at a pre-shift briefing, stuff them in employee mailboxes or put them with a paycheck.

See also:
5 tips to higher tips
The ten commandments of service
Are you being served?


Bill Main is a nationally-recognized author, consultant and speaker. His company, Bill Main & Associates, specializes in strategic growth plans for foodservice entrepreneurs. For information on how you can grow your top line revenues through innovative marketing, menu, leadership and training systems, visit

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