It starts with, "Hi, my name is Jordan, and I'll be your server tonight."
When your customer asks, "What's good here?" the server replies, "Everything."
After the food arrives, the server asks, "How's everything?"
All of the above are cliches that customers hear over and over again. Those expressions reduce the chances that any meaningful, relationship-building conversation will take place between your servers and their guests, and that can be bad for your business.
When servers initiate personalized, intelligent conversation, many powerful things start to happen. Brains become engaged, meaningful dialogue starts to happen, servers connect with their guests, and guests have a better time and feel appreciated and cared for.
How does that affect your business? Satisfied guests usually tip better, and they're inclined to come back to your restaurant more often.
Use your pre-shift meetings to discuss ways your servers can improve their interactions with your guests. Discuss antidotes to typical server sayings, such as:
"Hi, my name is..."
Truth is most people don't care what the server's name is. Try a greeting such as, "Hi, welcome to The Crab House. I'm so glad you decided to join us tonight." This puts the focus where it should be, on the guest rather than on the server. Have your staff practice their table greetings with a bright smile and direct eye contact, and you'll be miles ahead of most of your competition.
"What's good here?"
Coach your staff to describe two or three popular items that you do really well or better yet, have them recommend what they like.
After the food is served, have your servers practice specific, intelligent questions that pertain to what your guests have ordered. "Is your tuna cooked the way you like it?" "Does anyone need more barbecue sauce?" "Have you tasted the lobster bisque yet?"
When there is meaningful conversation, human connections are made and guests feel valued and appreciated. Added bonus: they'll want to know their server's name so they can ask for them on their next visit!
Want to stake out a competitive advantage? Start by creating the most welcoming, sociable and conversational service staff around.
(Source: National Restaurant Association)
photo credit: ChrisGoldNY via photopincc