Service pet peeves


People often ask what the most annoying things in service are. Well, everybody is different, but here is a list of a few pet peeves of Bernd Gerwig, the owner of SIOS Restaurant Consulting. Over the years in the service industry, there are a few recurring themes that every hospitality professional should observe. Read on, and decide for yourself if you agree:

  • Are you still working on this?” This may sound like a commonplace question in a restaurant, however, I think it is highly frustrating. The guest is not here to work, rather to have a nice night out! Hence, I suggest, rephrasing with “Are you still enjoying your dinner, or may I remove your plate?” Or something similar, I am sure you can come up with a good way to phrase for yourself. Just leave the word “work” for yourself, as you the hospitality professional are here to work, and your guest is enjoying themselves… hopefully.
  • Say hello! When someone walks into a room, they usually say hello first. So, please don’t walk up to a table, and ask right away for the guests drink orders. It makes them feel rushed and not appreciated. Start with a simple “hello”, “good evening” or something appropriate. It will open up your guest’s minds and get them to smile at you. Good start!
  • Crumbing on the floor. I see many servers crumbing their table, which is good, however only if the crumbs end up on a plate. Not on the floor please! Use your crumber responsibly.
  • Marking the table. Obviously the guest needs appropriate silverware for their next course. Mark the table before you bring the food. The chef will thank you.
  • S&P off the table. If you have a chance, please remove salt and pepper shakers after the main course. It will make for a very nice and clean looking table, the first step for a good dessert set-up.
  • Special occasions. This could be its own blog, but for now let’s put it here. People go out to celebrate their special moments in life. Be grateful that they do! Just like at the airport, the motto should be “If you see something, say something.” In other words, you see presents, mention them and start a conversation about the occasion. Maybe a song and dance is over the top, but acknowledging someone’s celebration is a simple, friendly human interaction that the guests will thank you for with a good tip. Happy birthday!

These are just a few things to think about when interacting with your guests. There are about a million more, but I think the basic idea should be to be courteous and have common sense. After all, we are in the hospitality industry for a reason: Make our guests happy!

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