Waiters or waitresses provide a first-hand service to their guests, creating a lasting impression on their customers, which means the correct formalities must be followed to create an ideal dining experience.
Here are a few guidelines on the etiquette that waiting staff should follow:
Physical appearance – As waiting staff, you are representing your establishment, an event, or brand, so looking professional is key. You should look clean, tidy and wear the correct uniform. Never fiddle with your clothes as you will look distracted and never touch your face or hair as it is unhygienic. A well groomed appearance will not make up for poor posture, so stand up straight at all times and never lean on walls or counters.
Behaviour in the establishment – When you are not serving the guests you must still maintain professionalism in the front of house; do not run, rather walk slowly and smoothly, do not drag your feet while walking, do not congregate with other waiting staff and do not use facilities that are meant for guests.
Interactions with guests – Improper behaviour can ruin your guests’ dining experience and you may as well say goodbye to any tips that you could earn. Having wit and charm will entertain your guests but remember that you are not there to socialise. Also always be courteous and patient as you are providing them a pleasant service.
Serving the table – After your guests have been seated, take the orders starting with the guest of honour, then women, men, the hostess and finally the host. If you are not clear on this then go in the order of seniority. Whilst serving be discreet and unobtrusive; do not interrupt guests if they are speaking to someone. All plates must be served at once and if a wrong plate has been bought then address it immediately so guests can start their meals at the same time.
Waiting on tables – Ensure all tables are attended to and top up water or wine intermittently. All waiting staff should stand in a prominent place where they are easily located and should always be on a lookout if guests need anything else. You may not be able to anticipate what guests will need but they should not need to catch your attention all the time.
Clearing the table – Ask the guests if they have finished eating first, so ask “Are you finished?” or “Can I take the plates away?” before clearing the plates and do not make them feel rushed when you do so.
The bill – Only bring the bill when the guest requests for it, never bring it unsolicited.
Providing a good service for your guests will give them a positive experience where they will be more likely to give you tip for your hard work and also return.
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