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Managers – are you a master at table visits? What about your servers? If not, you are missing out on a valuable gift. Learn why.
To learn more please either watch the video above, read the transcript or listen to the podcast below.
Read the Video Transcript by Clicking Here...
I want to talk about table visits, or table touches as some people call them. There is no right way or wrong way to do this, but there are some tips that I have to make them easier for you.
Ask the right question:
The first one is more casual and comes from your server 30 seconds to a minute after they drop off the food – it’s a quick check-in. It’s asking questions like “Is everything okay?”, “Is everything cooked properly?”, “Do you need anything”, “Did I forget to bring the ranch dressing that you asked me for three times?” – this is a casual conversation. The common question is “Is everything okay?” or “How is everything?” and what response do we usually get? “Fine, okay, great”. That doesn’t help us.
The question that I want you to ask is “Is everything exceeding your expectations?” or “Did that steak exceed your expectations?”. That’s a much harder question to ask. If your servers aren’t capable of that, train them and get them comfortable with asking that great question. You’re not going to get answers like “Fine, okay, great.” If I ask, “Is that steak exceeding your expectations?”, you’re going to hear answers like, “It’s a little salty.” or “It was a bit overcooked.” or “I was expecting it to come with a sauce.” The answers are going to be great and provide a great opportunity to address these concerns.
The problem is most servers have a hard time with this and this is where the Manager Touch comes in. If you’re a family casual restaurant, the Manager’s Touch isn’t as important, but if you’re anything like medium level or fine dining then you absolutely need it on every table.
The first thing I want to do is teach you this more empowering question. Managers, you have no excuse! You should never just walk up and ask “How is everything?”. You should always be introducing yourself and then asking if everything’s exceeding their expectations or if their particular dish is exceeding their expectations. That is going to give you way better feedback.
Whatever they’re about to say might feel like it could be damaging, but trust me those comments are gifts. What a gift that they’re giving you – the opportunity to fix something before they tell their friends about it and never come back. It is a gift if they tell you they were expecting this and not that. If you hear the same feedback a few times it’s an amazing opportunity to improve your menu, to give guests what they want, or to fix it right then and there.
If they say they were expecting their meal to come with a sauce, go get them a sauce. If they say that they were expecting it to be cooked a little more, go get it cooked a little more. Exceed their expectations! The only way to do that is to know what their expectations are.
Another tool I want to give you, I call L.A.S.T.(Listen, Apologize, Satisfy, Thank).
- The first thing is we need to do is listen actively. Introduce yourself and then listen.
- Apologize. Let your customer know how sorry you are if there was a problem or if something didn’t exceed their expectations.
- Satisfy. Give them whatever they need and then thank them genuinely. Thank them as if I handed you a gift like a new iPad or a new car. You’d be beyond thankful for that, right?! These people are giving you gifts – they’re telling you how to improve, to attract or to satisfy more customers. Genuinely thank them for that gift.
- Thank your customers as if they were a guest in your house. If a friend were in your house, you would say hi, welcome them, and thank them for coming over. You would be more personable with them.
I think sometimes in the restaurant, we forget that these people are your guests. When you’re touching their table it’s not a formal process that you treat as a mundane task, it’s a check-in. You check to see if they are happy, comfortable, or if can you get them anything as if they were guests in your home.
Summing it up:
1) Ask a better question.
2) Be prepared with what to do if they give you an answer that you weren’t expecting.
“Treat them as if they were guests in your home, because that’s what they are.”
I hope this was helpful for you today. I’m honored that you’re here spending time with me and I look forward to bringing you more videos just like this.
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