Waitron, Service, Motivation & Flow

Meeting & Greeting Guests

People buy from people they like. You need to think fast, understand the approaching clients’ dress and body language quickly, and act. Have your “ice breaker” ready, and give them an unconditional positive smile!

Give them a warm welcome however be careful not to overdo the welcoming and cause it to become fake and plastic.

  • Give a smile, it is 100% Free and it breaks the ice.
  • Make eye contact and connect with your guest.
  • Be genuine.
  • Analyze your guest’s body language fast.
  • The profile of the guest and your synopsis will determine your mannerism.
  • Are there kids with the adults?
  • What age are the adults, how are they dressed, formal, golf clothing, tracksuits, middle-aged, mature, or younger?
  • Are they elderly?
  • Are they single people?
  • Couples and their interaction with each other will tell you how much of your attention they will need.
  • Make meaningful and appropriate Smalltalk on your way to seat the guest(s).
  • Think in advance how you are ensuring prompt service as this will impact your tip.
  • Do not bundle menus or serving trays under your arm.
  • Ensure that the table, floor, and seats are properly cleaned before seating guests there.
  • After seating guests and it is not in your serving area, inform the responsible waitron first thing.
  • Enquire about dietary restrictions and or allergies before service.
  • Know what options there are for vegan’s, vegetarian’s and celiac’s(gluten intolerant) guest’s.
  • Pre-service gift’s, hand out small samples or little teasers of new products.
  • Interest guests in new products and offerings.
  • Offer beer and wine tasting’s to interest your guest’s.
  • Consider offering specific food and wine pairings.
  • Remember guests’ names, use them when appropriate and cause a memorable moment.
  • Make it personal.
  • Value and respond to your guests’ feedback during service.
  • Take care of the kids first.
  • Get payments at the table.
  • Be prepared to split bills.
  • Give a little gift, a voucher for their next visit.
  • Offer an after-dinner night cap.
  • Reward your loyal guests, implement a loyalty program.
  • Invest in perfect takeaway service and packaging.
  • Test your online ordering system regularly.
  • Employ reliable third party delivery partners.
  • Online presence, chatbot, respond to questions.
  • Post recipe give-away’s online.
  • Post video’s online and offer guided preparation.
  • Allow your sales staff to taste the products they have to sell.
  • Inspire fun and activity like date nights.

Meeting guests and building relationships with guests is like any doctor or dentist would build a practice and gather files with guest’s information captured. Build your practice and get the guests to like you. In time guests will book and ask to be served by a specific waitron or on arrival they will request to be served by a specific person. Make a point to remember names, preferential orders, specific details and recall what people enjoyed with a previous visit. You will impress the guests and build a valuable practice based on your wonderful service. 

A great smile is one of the free things that we can give to complement excellent service.

Serving Drinks & Meals

  • Propper planning prevents poor performance. Set yourself up for success.
  • Plan your table service.
  • Think ahead of what you need to deliver to your guests once they have ordered.
  • Prep your table before delivering food.
  • Set your table with, serviettes, bone plates, ice, lemons, finger bowls, or wet wipes.
  • Just before delivering meals enquire about condiments.
  • Alway’s announce what you are delivering to the table.
  • Make eye contact with the guest receiving the item.
  • Ensure that there is a safe space to place the meal or drink that you are delivering.
  • Announce that the plate is hot, or the teapot is hot, or the plate is heavy.
  • Ensure that kids are safe and cannot be hurt by accident.
  • Clear empties and debris away with every visit to the table.
  • Before leaving the table, check on drinks, top-up empty glasses, and offer a second or another round of drinks.
  • Think ahead about the desert.
  • When meals are done, during clearing away debris, suggestively place the desert menus strategically on the table.
  • Give the guest a little while for the main course to settle, engage with each other and chat comfortably.
  • Now approach and offer desert’s and coffee or a nightcap.

Selling & Writing down the Order

  • Decide who is the head of the table?
  • This person will most likely order last, or on behalf of everyone.
  • Start selling from the oldest female to the youngest male.
  • Write down and repeat back.
  • When repeating back use the opportunity to sell up, or suggest items that will pair well with the order.
  • Build confidence and know your products well, the guests must believe you are competent and you are building your tip.
  • When you deliver accurately the gusts will believe in you and know you are competent.
  • This way you will build a following and guests will ask to be served by you.
  • Selling up from a 200g steak to a thicker and juicier 300g steak, or selling a double burger when a single burger is ordered.
  • Selling the choice of a cheese or mushroom sauce, causing the guest to choose between either rather than choosing to have a sauce or not.
  • Decide in advance what profile of taste guests may have, this will increase the likelihood of selling them certain items.
  • Always clear debris away before leaving the table and top-up or offer drinks.
  • Always write down and read back orders and suggest or sell up. Be sensitive to guests body language and facial expressions.

Selling Techniques

  • Make eye contact and keep the guest’s attention.
  • Be alert of all non-verbal communication, be attentive to your guest’s body language.
  • Smile and break the ice.
  • Make a genuinely warm greeting and create that lasting first impression.
  • Develop daily workshops and role plays for the waitrons.
  • Remember, people buy from people they like.
  • Have an unconditional positive attitude and most likely your guests will return a positive attitude, they will not reject your suggestions easily.
  • Focus on subconscious selling techniques.
  • Practise suggestive selling techniques before every shift.
  • Practise mouthwatering descriptions of the food you are selling.
  • Recommend the pairing of menu items.
  • Key into the guest’s body language to find their telltale needs.
  • Concentrate on your sales mix of high-profit items, extras and top-ups.
  • Understand your products and know all your ingredients.
  • Understand allergens, vegans, vegetarians and celiacs.
  • When arriving for shift enquire about out of stock items, and have alternatives to offer.
  • Be enthusiastic and excited about your suggestions and recommendations.
  • Be specific, write down and read back.
  • Explain to guests that you have eaten what you suggest.
  • Consider the time of the day and the temperature when you suggest.

Speed & Accuracy of Service

  • Training, Training, Training.
  • Be visible to your guests.
  • Be available at all times.
  • Always write down and read back.
  • Always announce when delivering food or drinks to the table.
  • Ensure a comprehensive vibe meeting is held before the commencement of a shift.
  • Confirm stock and menu item availability
  • Confirm all equipment is working and ready before service.
  • Inform management immediately if you become aware of any equipment problems or failures.
  • Call waitrons and inform them immediately if problems with existing orders are experienced.
  • Check all food before sent to guests, final quality control.
  • Double-check orders with specific details.

Suggesting the Bill

  • Maintain eye contact with your guest.
  • Smile, people buy from people they like.
  • You are about to cement your tip.
  • Last offers and top-ups of drinks.
  • Judge the timing and suggest the bill.
  • Ensure the accuracy of the bill.
  • Then only present the bill.
  • After presenting the bill and placing it strategically on the table commence with after-sales service.
  • This is where after-sales service begins.
  • Be there, be available and visible.
  • You have earned your tip by now otherwise it is too late.
  • Be grateful for what you receive.
  • Express your appreciation.
  • Ensure that no phones, wallets or other property is left behind.
  • As guests are leaving thank them again and invite them back.
  • If you are not happy with the tip you received analyse your service.
  • When you find areas that can improve use role-plays, they are excellent tools to improve performance.

Clearing the table & cleaning your service area

  • Before clearing items away ensure that the guests are done with them.
  • The aim is to have a cleared table by the time the guests depart.
  • Always use the clearing away of debris as an opportunity to interact with your guests.
  • Look for selling opportunities.
  • Look for service opportunities.
  • Be attentive and do not destroy the vibe at the table when you are clearing debris away.
  • If the restaurant is busy and you need the table for a second seating, push through and offer the bill.
  • Clear away debris, however not too robust to upset the guests.
  • When it is quiet, slow things down. Linger longer and create additional selling opportunities.
  • Start cleaning from the top[ the roof ] to the bottom [ the floor ], ceiling, lights, decor, tabletop, underneath the table, table stands, condiments, cutlery, seat, table legs, chair legs, table feet, and floor.
  • Ensure to use hot soapy water to remove all grease.
  • Sanitize.
  • Check for bubblegums, hidden bones, and greasy areas.
  • Move graciously and gently, do not disturb guests.
  • Do not move furniture abruptly or sweep and mop wildly.
  • Tend to all your specific duties and call a manager to confirm that you can complete your shift.
  • Staff will respect each other and their respective duties when standards are maintained and checked on.
  • If required implement a double-check system where a waitron checks all the duties before a manager finally checks.
  • Team ethics will develop and become mutually respected.

Waitron Sales & Incentives

  • Waitrons are salespeople.
  • Incentives are for over and above exceptional performance.
  • Incentivize the sales of low food cost items.
  • Incentivize the high sales price items.
  • Set daily sales targets.
  • Set weekly sales targets.
  • Set monthly sales targets.
  • Food items, gift vouchers, movie tickets, and cash are all great motivators.
  • Create fun activities and competitions for the waitrons to achieve the best sales possible.
  • Play games like Pass the buck, the perfect bill, and Bingo.
  • Play the money or the box. Wrap some prizes or set up a cash value to choose from when certain sales targets are met.

It is quite scary to think that this is all in the day of one waitron. Considering the tasks above you will understand why it takes a team to execute proper guest service and not just one person, the waitron.

Think and plan ahead so that you do not fall behind!

Marius Joubert
Author: Marius Joubert

Founder of Restauranthub.co the first true community for the restaurant and hospitality industry.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top