10-Steps of Customer Service

We are not fast food. We are a full-service sit down restaurant. Therefore our customers come to us with the expectation of receiving full, sit-down service. If we break down service into steps, you know exactly which step you're at with each customer. If you miss a step it sticks out like a sore thumb. If you perform each step, the customer will think wow! good  service.

# Step Say Do
Greet & Seat
Hello I'll be right with you!

A) Sit wherever you like; -or-
B) I'll be right there to seat you.
Shout "Hello" the moment the door opens (even if busy with other customers!)

A) Direct customers to take any seat; -or-
B) If store is busy, direct customers to seats that are ready.
Offer Beverage
Coffee or Soda today? Approach quickly offering a beverages and serve those right away.
Take Order
Are you ready to order? Be an adviser, "care for meat with your eggs, soup or chili with your burger?"
Repeat Order
Let me repeat your order back.

(If on 3rd shift, say "I'll be right back with your check, we have to collect right away after 10 PM.)
What you heard and what the customer thinks they said, may be different.
Place Order & Issue Check
Here's your check.

(If on 3rd shift, say "I need to collect right away it's the policy after 10 PM.)
Place the order on the POS, then run the receipt right over and place the check on the table (and if on 3rd shift, return to collect also right away).
Return for Refill
Care for a refill? While the customer is waiting for their food, return to offer a refill on coffee or soda.
Serve Food
Here's your order...
Do you have everything you need?
Serve the food and make sure the customer has everything they need.
Check Back
How is everything? Within "two minutes or two bites" check back to see if everything is all right.
May I take your plate? Monitor tables and pre-clear dishes as soon the customer finishes eating.
Thank you! Good Bye! Come again! Thank the customer for coming and ask them to come again!

So what else is there to being a Server?

Respectful Service

Talking nicely and using good language shows respect. Use the standard phrases in the "Say" column below when you interact with customers.

Making Tips

  • Quickly saying "hello" the moment the door opens. It's the first opportunity to make an impression
  • Ask about beverages right away.
  • Repeating the order back. Studies have shown that you earn more tips if you repeat the order of each guest exactly as they've said it. This avoids mistakes and helps you create a connection with your customer.
  • Keep an eye on the table whenever you pass by.
  • Learn to turn tables over. While you should always be kind and courteous, you want people to eat, pay, and move on so that you can get a new table, and thus a new tip. To do this, come collect the dishes once everyone has finished eating. It encourages table turnover.
  • Be prompt to collect. Customer shouldn't have to wait to pay.Your good service and the potential tip you've earned can be lost by being slow to collect.
  • Say good bye, come again, it closes the visit with a favorable impression.

Coffee RefillsGood Coffee Image

Coffee in Cup = Happy Customer!

Customers are unhappy when they're sitting with an empty cup!

Refill One, Refill All

When you refill coffee for one customer.... take the pot around and offer refills to everyone who's having coffee!

Ask First-Then Pour

The customer may have their coffee just to their liking or they may not want more, so ask first, before pouring.

Runner Every Shift Has a "Runner"

The runner runs back and assists and coordinates the activities of the cook in order to expedite food preparation. If there are two server/cooks on duty, the server is the runner. If there are three server/cooks on duty, one of the servers is the runner. If there are four server/cooks on duty, the one cook (on the egg side) is also the runner that should help out front as needed to take orders, etc. but then run back to help get the orders out.


Dishes Everywhere Pre-clearing

Does this look appealing --->?

Pre-clearing the customer's main dish while the customer is still seated is a a vital step to keeping the restaurant looking tidy and to encourage table turnover.

Don't Waste Time Running to the Sink. Clear Tables into Bus Pans! Don't Clutter the Sink!

Dish Clutter Image Bus Pan Image

By pre-clearing into bus pans you're keeping the dirty side of the dish sink clear of loose dirty dishes.

Resetting the Tables - 1st Priority after Customers Leave

Set Table ImageGet the place back into shape!

Doesn't this look nice? Here's how:

  1. Pull the condiments away from the menu holder and wipe underneath.
  2. Arrange the setups
  3. Set out placemat and silverware rolls
  4. Table tent in the middle

Clear and reset tables before anything else. Before doing dishes, before taking breaks. The place needs to look clean and presentable.

Answering the PhoneTelephone Image

While in-store service is the priority, call-in carryout orders represent a significant portion of our business.


  • The phone must be answered and call-in orders taken.
  • If you're busy with other customers, excuse yourself to answer the phone.
  • When answering, don't immediately say "hold" and set the phone down. Let the customer get a few words in so you know why they're calling! Then, if you must put them on hold say: "I have another order, I'll be right back with you."
  • Please answer the phone as follows:  " Hello, George Webb's on _____(street)______ this is ___(your name)_____"

Customer Complaints

Indifference Looses Customers

Disgruntled Image Late in getting to the customer? Food took too long? Forgot a beverage? It's not the occasional lapse in service that results in us loosing customers, it's your failure to show sincere concern and to resolve the issue quickly.

It doesn't matter whose fault it is. Just resolve the matter! Later, in your actual training, we'll show you how to turn a customer complaint into a positive outcome.

Recovery after Complaint

Apology Card Image

Follow this two-step process in order to "recover" from such a situation:

  1. Take Action.  It doesn't matter whose fault it is. Resolve the matter! Depending on the situation say:

    • "Thank you for waiting, how can I help you?"
    • "I'm sorry about that, let me fix it!"

  2. Issue an Apology Card. Use the opportunity to drive home the point that we value our customers.

Image Restaurant ManagerWe're All Managers When It Comes To Customer Service

Is the Manager Here?

When a customer asks "Is the manager here?" --or--

the phone rings and the caller asks if they can speak to the manager...

The answer is "We're all capable of answering your question, how may I help you?"

What If They Insist?

Say: "What is the issue, I'm sure I can help you."

How You Can Help?

  • You have the authority to remake food to customer's liking if necessary.
  • You have the authority to void a ticket
  • Last resort you have the authority to make a refund if it was our mistake. (Just remember to prepare a void/refund ticket.)
  • You can say "I can take down your information and pass it on if you like".

But don't say... "There is no manager here".

Table Sections

If you don't use sections when the store is busy, there are customers who may get overlooked. So when there are two or more servers on duty, divide the restaurant into sections so that each of you can focus on the customers in your section. Decide among yourselves who will take which section. However, continue to work as a team, helping each other as needed.

End-of-Shift Customer Hand-Off

Hand-off your customers to the new shift.

  1. Point out each customer.
  2. Explain to the oncoming server what stage of the 10-steps you are in with each customer.