What Makes an Excellent Restaurant Server?

For those that have seen the movie Waiting, or for anyone who has dealt with less than stellar service in the past, it’s easy to believe that there is no such thing as an ideal server. Or there is, and they’re called robots.

But the truth is that service is one of the most critical components of any restaurant and that good waiters can turn a first time customer into a regular. When I was working as a host at Chilis back in highschool, there was a waiter there who was so good at his job that people had regular nights of the week they came in just to see him. Even though he was a complete asshole in real life, when customers came in he could turn on the charm and upsell like you wouldn’t believe.

So when gauging what makes a good employee, here are some things to consider:

1.) Do they buy in to your vision?

If the waiter doesn’t get excited, or seem to get excited, about working for your restaurant then the customer will know it. Just like having someone post for your social media, authenticity is key as a waiter and reflects how well your organization is being run.

2.) Are they Dramatic?

Unfortunately, the service industry does tend to attract a large number of people using this job as a support until they get what they’re passionate about. That group often includes those who wish to be actors. Which is fine, until that drama conflicts with the atmosphere you’re trying to create. Making sure your employee can keep a level head is important.

3.) Are they honest?

While there have been big leaps in technology that allow owners and managers to check employees from gauging or outright stealing from the business, every restaurant needs their employees to have integrity as there will always be ways to take from the business.

4.) Are they experienced?

This is not to say that every new employee needs to have worked at another restaurant before. In fact, many seasoned professional waiters will walk in with a chip on their shoulder and a concreted belief in how things should be done. But having some level of experience does help them get into the swing of things faster than a newbie, and shows that they understand what its like to deal with customers on a day to day basis.

Bill Parks works for My Owner Box, a company that shows people how to open a restaurant.

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