Taking Your Service To the Next Level
Everyone has good days and bad days. You might love or hate your job, depending on the day. But one nice thing about working in the hospitality industry is how much control you really can have over how you do your job. Your shift is truly your shift to manage and your tables are truly your tables, with no one constantly looking over your shoulder (hopefully). Given how much you rely on tips, it’s fair to say that in very real ways, you are self-employed. Adopting the attitude that you are your own boss when it comes to how you work your tables can go a long way toward upping your job satisfaction and empowering you to truly take your career to the next level. Here are some tips to help you take on the vibe of being the boss of you:
Have A Consistent Schedule, If Possible
As hard as it can be, try to keep your schedule as consistent as possible every week. This can allow you to develop relationships with regulars, who in turn will continue returning to your restaurant and start requesting your section. That’s how you become the server or bartender people ask for, and that’s how you rise to the top. Once your shifts are scheduled, be there! Of course, be your best, and all that, which you already know, but the key here is consistency over time to build a clientele for yourself. Even one customer asking about you will raise your reputation hugely.
Own Your Tables
Worry more about whether “your people” are taken care of than whether it’s “your job” to do whatever they need. If someone is falling short and it’s impacting your tables, definitely address it directly after your shift is over, but do everything you can to keep it from splashing on your customers during your shift. If there’s something you can’t do or something you don’t know, say so but that you’ll be right back with the solution or answer. Just because it’s not “your fault” something isn’t ideal doesn’t mean you don’t still take ownership for your own tables.
Use Time Where It Counts and Save Time Elsewhere
Tip #2 takes time – when are you supposed to fit it in to a busy shift? Try to steal time in ways customers don’t notice. Anytime you’re in your section, be sure to check on all of your tables before heading back to the kitchen. That doesn’t mean you have to say something to every table each time you’re in your section. Rather, make sure you’re at least looking at all of your tables for anything they might need so you can consolidate your work. Don’t make multiple trips back to the kitchen if you can get everything at once. Never bring anything to the table without also taking something away with you. Ask which condiments when at the ordering stage and bring them with the order rather than waiting until the food is placed and coming back. Sweep your whole section at once, not table-by-table… fill all waters, then fill all other drinks, bring everyone more bread… try not to pick up the same thing multiple times for different tables. You can’t stick to this 100%, but try to move in a regular pattern to the extent possible.
No Problems, Only Solutions
Don’t simply identify a problem and complain about it to the higher ups – propose a solution. You’re on the front lines and know which solutions will work best and which won’t. Do what you can to take control of your circumstances by proposing the solutions that will allow you to serve your customers the way you want to. Same principle applies with customers – Don’t just say why they can’t have what they asked for, give them a better suggestion of what they can have.
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