100 Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do (Part 1)

In The New York Times section of ‘You’re the Boss’, Author Bruce Buschel puts together a list of “100 things that Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do.” This is Part-1 which lists 50 things.

This is interesting because while the author has a lot of experience with complex ‘productions’ like film and theater, he apparently has never run a restaurant before. This makes this ‘never do’ list interesting for a number of reasons.

First, it bring a customer’s perspective to the front, a good reminder for restaurateurs who set up mystery shopping or guest survey programs that it is wise to concentrate on what matters to guests.

Secondly, the list is almost exclusively behavioral and centers on how to treat guests.  Much of it is common sense (no touching, wait to clear, don’t curse, etc.), but others focus on how a server should not impart opinion and limit personal discourse.

I find some of the ‘don’t dos’ a bit troublesome because our research has shown that guests rely on servers to be forthcoming with menu advice, and I would advise servers to err on the side of being overly interactive than mute.  Asking a few ‘What’ or ‘How’ questions will give the server plenty of information about the guest, allowing the server to give excellent advice and make a very strong emotional connection with the guest.

I particularly liked the author’s advice about wine.  Too often, the most expensive thing a guest purchases is handled poorly at the table.  Nothing is worse than being served a hot red wine or an ice-cold white. Maybe it will be in the next 50.  My biggest pet peeve was missed:  When I check in for my table, don’t look like it is the first time you have ever heard my name. Act like you were expecting me and are glad that I am there.

Read the NY Times list here.

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