Improve Restaurant Service Through Balance and Consistency
There are 2 words that I constantly repeat while holding waiter training sessions: balance and consistency. Both concepts can easily be applied to restaurants where waiter performance is basically 1/2 physical abilities and 1/2 mental abilities or 1/2 a science form and 1/2 an art form.
The physical aspects of balance is obvious; carrying/serving more than one plate at a time, carrying/serving cocktails on trays, balancing one’s feet while in motion etc. For physical consistency, it amounts to not only excellent physical condition, but also the consistency of the waiter service skills and technique, or the “consistency of balancing” – if you will.
Physical consistency is how one carries his or herself in the restaurant dining room, and the physical vibe (body language) that is emanated as well. This affects diners who are trying to enjoy themselves out and away from the stresses of daily life.
There also has to be a mental balance to a waiter’s performance as well such as being realistic about the amount of tables that can be handled at one time or asking for help from other waitstaff when overloaded with too many tables on an especially busy night. Basically, it is being able to make the “common sense” restaurant and people decisions needed to provide successful dining room service or functioning on an “even keel” so to speak.
For mental consistency, one hopes to always have a positive and empathetic attitude towards the customer and other staff members, especially in the face of adverse situations. Restaurant service is always problematic, so it is imperative to have a consistent trouble-shooting approach to all situations.
Balance and Consistency can also be applied to food and drink concerning taste, texture, spiciness, color, presentation etc. A mouthful of mixed foods can be crunchy, yet balanced by softness in texture. A sip of wine can have a certain crispness, yet be balanced by delicate fruits. When pairing food and wine, balance is necessary as you certainly don’t want one taste to overpower another.
And, of course, consistency is a desirable trait in every aspect of your restaurant’s performance. Your customer’s long for consistency in the quality of your food, your customer service, the cleanliness of your restaurant (bathrooms especially) and overall ambiance you provide.
Restaurant service is a balance between the physical and the mental, a balance between the mechanics and the attitude, a balance between the service functionality and the “look”, a balance between the science and the art form, a balance between the “laws of service” and the “freedom” for the frontline workers to be creative and flexible in their problem solving.
Restaurants that excel in the above areas are the ones that thrive. They’re the ones that are happily recommended by others, are talked about by the water cooler and the ones that have waiting lines every weekend night.
About the author: Richard Saporito is a NYC Restaurant Insider with more than 30 years experience. He is currently the President of Topserve Restaurant Consulting, Inc. and the author of “How To Improve Dining Room Service.” Discover how to improve your restaurant’s dining room service and dramatically increase your profits here: