While other aspects of running a restaurant are important, the importance of providing your guest with excellent service should not be forgotten. In fact, when a guest is in a restaurant, the management needs to do all it can to try and offer him the best service it can.
Focusing on the guest experience is important as it will help create a bond between you and him and increase the likelihood of him coming back to your establishment in the future. However, no two guests are the same, and it is important you learn to read what kind of person you are serving, and what would be the best way to interact with him.
How to read a guest
Reading a guest works the same way as reading another person: you observe them determine their behavior; are they happy, sad, silent, expecting service, etc. Competent managers, however, go one step further by taking an active interest in their guests, and asking them questions about themselves: How was their day? How did they hear about the restaurant? Are they locals or on vacation? All of these things will help you analyze exactly what kind of guest you have to serve, and what your approach should be to give them the best experience possible.
Analyzing the guest
Typically, all restaurant goers fall into four distinct categories.
The Boss – This guest is demanding, blunt and expects a fair amount of formality in his dealings with you.
The Mingler – This guest is primarily here to have fun, and is very engaging, interactive and trusting.
The Listener – A patient person, this guest will prefer to engage in conversation with you and would like to be educated on new things.
The Perfectionist – This guest is a planner and pays special attention to detail and rules. The slightest thing out of order can easily put him off and make him uncomfortable.
Deciding on your approach
Once you’ve read your guest to ascertain which category he falls in, you need to first decide on your approach to him, before actually interacting with him. Whether your approach should be formal, playful or casual should depend on the type of guest you have to serve; a formal approach would be best suited to the Boss and the Perfectionist, while a casual and playful approach could work on the Listener and the Mingler, respectively.
You also need to decide the pretext of your interaction with them, choosing one that they would be the most comfortable with. It could be something as simple as a recommendation or inquiring about their day.
First impressions are important!
The first words you say to your guests can have a great impact on them, so it would be wise to have your opening line well thought out and rehearsed before delivering. Your opening line should also be tailored to each guest individually according to their situation, for example, you could ask tourists what they enjoyed doing most that day, and in the case of couples, you could inquire how long they’ve been going out. Get creative.