Restaurant server timing

Quality servers are important
Quality servers are important

Here at One Fat Frog, when we talk about restaurants, we tend to focus on the cooks, the food, and the equipment. One of the most important parts of the dining experience, however, is the server. The restaurant server is the face of the company to each and every customer. If they are slow, people will perceive the restaurant as slow. If they are rude or unknowledgeable, it reflects poorly on the restaurant as a whole. One of the most important skills to learn as a server is perfect timing.

As customers, we all have a clock in our heads that notifies us when it has been too long since we’ve seen our server. We don’t know how long that amount of time is, but we sure know when we have reached it. Where on earth is my server? I need a refill! Timing is everything. The server needs to greet customers shortly after they are seated, keep coming back until all orders are in, and then check in routinely after that to make sure they don’t need anything.

That includes, as a general rule, checking in around one minute after the meal arrives. Maybe we should make that more like five, though, because this Frog knows they usually ask “how is everything” before I’ve had a chance to take a bite. “Um, I have no idea. Can you ask again later?”

Another key to having great timing as a server is making sure you ask the customer a question right after they stuff their mouth full of food.

“So do you need anything else?”

“Mmmghkrkkg.”

“Okay, great. Let me know if you need anything.”

I kid about that, of course. Timing is important, though. You want to check in often enough that the customers can ask for something any time they need something, but you don’t want to stop at the table so often that they feel like they’re being bothered.

“No, I still don’t need a refill. I haven’t even had a chance to drink anything yet!”

It’s a fine line to tread, but if you do so properly, you will enhance the dining experience of the restaurant guests. And in the end, if the customers have a good time eating at your restaurant, they are going to want to return, and you need those returning visitors in order for your restaurant startup to succeed.

 

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