I had the privilege of being served recently by a great waitress. I was eating with one other person and I had the opportunity to engage her a bit, so I asked her the following question:
“You are very good at this. What do you think goes into being a great waiter or waitress? Intuition? Training?”
“Both. Certainly you need to have some aptitude for the job. You have to like people and you have to be sensitive to their needs.
In our training, we are also taught to master the menu. Real foodies always appreciate it when we can speak intelligently about the entrees and how they are prepared.
We are also taught to carefully listen and observe. There can be a big difference between, say, two men who want to be served quickly and a couple who is taking their time enjoying a night out.
We are taught to pay attention ‘but not hover, and we are taught never, ever to barge in and interrupt a conversation. In terms of service after the entrée is served, I like to stay nearby if I am needed. I am also sensitive to nuance. I think it is silly to stop by two seconds after the entrée is served and ask, ‘How is everything?’ That is a waste of a touch and frankly annoying. Better to wait a few minutes to stop by and ask that particular question.
And of course, if any kind of challenge comes up . . . maybe the kitchen is backed up a bit or some part of the meal has fallen short, the key is not to disappear or avoid the issue . . . meet it head on and communicate honestly and clearly.”
Wow . . .
- Know your stuff
- Listen well
- Don’t over talk
- Observe the situation closely
- Handle issues head on
. . . sounds like a great prescription not only for an outstanding waitress/waiter but for an outstanding salesperson!