Exceptional service not only leads to positive reviews and guest retention but drives your revenue. There are many moving pieces that affect the level and quality of service. Here is a breakdown of our three keys to exceptional service.

1. Provide Excellent Training

Establishments should take the time to hire and train exceptional staff members, not just focus on covering shifts in a schedule. The training program should be detailed, documented, and tracked. This process should also include time shadowing each position in the restaurant, as well as daily food and beverage tasting. The key to outstanding service is 90% preparation and 10% execution.

2. Know the Forecast

When a service is successful everyone is responsible, but when service fails the management team is to blame. Management is responsible for hiring, training, and scheduling. Management should be knowledgeable of the days and shifts with increased or decreased traffic, the environmental and community factors that will influence restaurant goers, and the strengths and weakness of each staff member in order to plan accordingly. Understanding the business and being prepared for different levels of revenue are paramount to service.

3. Schedule Accordingly

Too many staff on the floor and guests can be smothered, too few and the guests are left in limbo. There is nothing worse than poor service on a slow night. Consider spending less time in the office during these shifts and more time engaging staff during idle hours. In addition, consider opening and closing shifts when creating the schedule. A server focused on getting side work done is not focused on guests. Make sure to schedule an opener that can get set up finished prior to taking tables, then bring a closing server in as late as possible and do not give them any side work. By the numbers, the last table in the restaurant should get the best service.

As with anything, when we stop paying attention we get into trouble. To be known for excellent service, be sure to hire well, provide detailed training, forecast conservatively, and schedule accordingly.