For excellent dining room service, it’s important to create floor diagrams that include position points and indicate the locations of each section. The computer system may have floor diagrams, but you cannot rely solely on that.
Example: A waiter carrying three hot pasta plates walks into a busy dining area with no clue where to place the food. Is the waiter supposed to place the three hot pasta plates on a table and then log in to the computer to find the right one? I don’t believe so. The waiter may guess which table the food will end up on, potentially leading to a costly error of serving the wrong food. The waiter will be able to quickly see the floor plan and order the food quickly.
Example #2: Recently, I witnessed the restaurant’s owner changing the numbers of the dining room tables during the shift. It was a complete disaster. He explained that he had to keep track the coupons distributed for restaurant’s marketing campaign, which required a separate table for each coupon.
This system was not designed to deliver exceptional customer service. The restaurant staff often brought the wrong food to the wrong table, despite the fact that it was delicious and well-prepared. This happens many times a night, once a week, or one month. It’s better to take a small amount of money and then throw it out the front door.
Below I’ve listed a few basic, yet important, concepts to improve customer service in restaurants. Many restaurants make costly errors by not implementing these concepts. This results in lost revenue and a bad service reputation which can discourage repeat business.
Here’s how it works:
All dining room staff must have clear printed floor plans with the correct numbers for each table and point. Additional printed copies should be available for any new waiter. The diagrams should be visible to all staff, and preferably not in the way of the customers.
If you want to improve customer service in a restaurant, it is important that position points be established. A specific table number and seat number can identify each diner at a restaurant. If all staff members of the dining room know the arrangement in advance, it won’t be difficult for them to keep up with position points. It is essential to identify the position point 1 for each table. The best way to establish the position of #1 is to have your customer’s back straight in line with the location of the restaurant (or as close as you can) such as the front/back door, kitchen or a visible piece of decor.
Position #1 is the customer whose back is closest. After that is done, begin to rotate clockwise around each table, identifying each customer at position #2, 3, and 4. As a guest might be arriving late, it is a good idea to assign a number to empty seats. Waiters will often call customers out to order their dishes if customer position points aren’t used. This is wasteful of time and energy. Customers will also be interrupted unnecessarily, especially if they are in the middle of a conversation or laughing.
In every waiter training program, the position points must be explained clearly. The main objective of the waiter is to ensure that the food and beverages are served correctly, safely and efficiently. It is easier to do this if the waiter has a good idea of the number of seats and tables at hand.
These concepts help restaurant staff to “feel where they’re at all times,” which is especially important for new restaurants. It increases communication which will in turn improve customer service.