Service Basics

The art of food service is not simply bringing food or beverage and delivering it to the table. It is doing it with style, personality, knowledge, and skill. This culture is coached by a team of dedicated hospitality professionals and passionate managers, who in turn work for successful owners that understand the real art of service. They don’t get in the way, but even better, support and encourage it. The leadership team is responsible for setting the mood, tone, and environment that creates the atmosphere. Are you demanding this of your team?

Here is a list of the top ten service basics for authentic service:

  1. Passion for service is a must, not an option. If you do not have the passion on your team, you are missing the key to your restaurant’s success. Combine this passion with knowledge and experience and profit will follow.
  2. Guest needs must come first. What the kitchen does, and does not do, is dictated by guest needs and not egos. Make the right decisions. Respect your Chef’s skills and creativity, but make sure to balance this against guest needs and desires.
  3. The Staff is your front line. Make sure to take care of the troops, mind them, nurture them and develop them. Remember the Golden Rule: Treat others as you wish to be treated.
  4. Instill pride in the restaurant. Talk about being the best, why the role is important. Don’t allow this to be “just a job” to them. Pride and positive attitudes are infectious.
  5. The Manager’s place is working with the staff, not in the back or in the office. Lead from the front, not the rear, don’t be “that manager”.
  6. Scan. Look and listen systematically. Use your eyes and ears; scan the room. Read expressions and body language of your guests and servers. Evaluate the mood and respond accordingly.
  7. Know your customers’ names and use them whenever you can. Building a loyal customer base is your bread and butter.
  8. Be the role model for your team. Behave and communicate with guests as an example to your staff.
  9. Make sure that you and your team listen to what your customers want, and any feedback that they may have. This will make them come back, time and time again.
  10. Coach: Ensure that your team has the tools they need to do the job, which includes training, skills, and attitude.


Russ Blakeborough is Managing Director of Focus F&B.

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