6 Things Restaurant Servers Should Never Do

 In Bar & Restaurant Operations, Customer Service

Your servers have more interaction with customers than anyone else. If your servers are well-trained, helpful, and friendly, this can be a good thing. But on the other hand, it can also be a very bad thing. Of course you want your servers to help your business, not harm it, so make sure they avoid doing the following things.

1. Make guests feel unwelcome

Every guest in the restaurant should feel welcome. That means greeting each guest as s/he arrives and being friendly at all times. Servers will want to be friendly to their own tables, of course, but they should also be just as helpful to guests at other tables. If another server’s customer asks for a refill or more silverware, a server shouldn’t ignore him or her just because he won’t be getting a tip. Servers represent the restaurant, so they have to be sure they’re courteous at all times.

2. Be too casual

The flip side of not being friendly enough is being a bit too friendly. Servers should never touch customers or interrupt a conversation. And no matter how casual the restaurant is, servers always need to be professional—never touch the rims of glasses or the ends of silverware, always write down orders, and remember that the customers aren’t personal friends. They deserve to be treated with respect.

3. Hide things

Servers shouldn’t lie to customers, deceive them, or be anything other than honest. Is there a delay? Tell the customers as soon as possible. Will there be an automatic gratuity added for large parties? Let guests know, so they’re not unpleasantly surprised. Is there an upcharge for subbing out a side dish? Make sure to mention it. And always let guests know the price of specials and whether the restaurant is out of something before they order.

4. Argue with customers

This might seem like a given, but it’s important. The quote, “The customer is always right” is a cliché for a reason! When a customer complains, servers should do their best to listen and help. They should fix the problem when possible, or refer the customer to a manager if there’s nothing they can do. They should never, ever fight with customers or dispute their complaints, even if they’re wrong.

5. Make the customer feel rushed

When customers come to your restaurant, it’s a treat. They want a night away from home to relax and enjoy themselves. What they don’t want is to feel rushed and pushed out so the next party can be seated. Servers shouldn’t take plates away too early (especially if everyone in the party isn’t done eating yet) or bring the check too soon. No matter how crazy the restaurant is or how many people are waiting for tables, make sure customers feel relaxed and comfortable.

6. Ask if the customer wants change

This is a simple action that can really make servers look unprofessional. The customer will let a server know if s/he can keep the change. Asking just seems presumptuous and rude.

The most important thing for servers to remember is to always be friendly, courteous, helpful, and professional. By keeping these tips in mind, your servers can avoid big blunders and keep you from losing sales!

Showing 2 comments
  • Mark K. Laux

    Sadly, it's necessary to tell people this…

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