SERVER TRAINING

President's Message

Image of President's Message

Hello, I am Tom Aldridge, the president of Aldridge, Inc. and the author of this training manual. The manual is based on my 35+ years at George Webb. I began as a dishwasher, then became a server and cook, a manager, and eventually an owner. I learned a lot along the way... and I would like you to do your work in the way that I prescribe in this manual. Why? Because I have learned the fastest most efficient ways to do the job of being a server and cook at George Webb. So please follow me through this manual and learn my way of doing things. If you do, I guarantee you will succeed.

Our PurposeImage of Branded Customer Service

Our purpose here is to serve the customers in the fastest, most friendly and accurate way possible. Lots of restaurants have good food. Some have good service. Many have fast service. In today's world, if we are to compete, we have to focus on our customers at all times. So, is your focus on you? Then forget this job, because your focus needs to be that of the customer at all times.

Our MissionImage of Our Mission

"The purpose of everything we do here is for serving our customers in the fastest, most friendly way we can."

Essential Qualities of the Best ServersImage of Rating Checklist

  1. Focus is on the Customer
  2. Personal needs never gets in the way of attending to customers.
  3. Fast & Friendly
  4. The moment the door opens a genuine "Hello" is followed up by immediate service.
  5. Make eye contact
  6. Refer to customers as "sir" or "mam", not "hun" or "dear"
  7. Talk nicely and use standard phrases like:  I'll be right with you!, May I take your order?,  Care for a refill?, May I take your plate?, Do you have everything you need?, Thank you, and You're welcome!

MultitaskingImage of Multitasking

It's a busy world and everyone expects instant service! So follow me through a hypothetical few minutes working at a George Webb.

  • You're out front cleaning and wiping
  • A customer walks in. You say "hello the moment the door opens and say please sit wherever you like.
  • You ask, "are you having coffee?" You get the coffee and serve it.
  • A group of two more customers arrives. You say "hello, I have a seat right here and are you having coffee?". They say no. You ask, "soft drinks? They say Pepsi. You say, "okay, I'll be right there".
  • You take the first customer's order. You enter it in the POS system. You return with the soup he ordered. You make your way towards the second group and deliver their soda.
  • On the way to serving the sodas, another group comes in. You say "hello, please sit where ever you like, are you having coffee? You say "Yes, okay, I'll be right with you".
  • You return to the second group and take their order. You enter it into the POS system.
  • You see the food is ready for the first customer. You serve the order and ask if he needs anything else.
  • You approach the third group. You say thanks for waiting, are you ready to order?

... and so it continues all day. And in between, you clean and stock. Can you do it?

10-Steps of Customer Service

#
Step
Say
Do
1.
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!)

Direct customers to take any seat; -or-

If busy, direct customers to seats that are ready.
2.
Beverage
Coffee or Soda today? Approach quickly offering a beverages and serve those right away.
3.
Order
Are you ready to order? Be an adviser, "care for meat with your eggs, soup or chili with your burger?"
4.
Repeat
Let me repeat your order back.

(If on 3rd shift, also say "I'll be right back with your check, sorry we have to collect right away after 10 PM.)
What you heard and what the customer thinks they said, may be different.
5.
Place Order & Issue Check
Here's your check.

(If on 3rd shift, also 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).
6.
Return
Care for a refill? While the customer is waiting for their food, return to offer a refill on coffee or soda.
7.
Serve Food
Here's your order...

Do you have everything you need?
Serve the food and make sure the customer has everything they need.
8.
Check Back
How is everything? Within "two minutes or two bites" check back to see if everything is all right.
9.
Pre-clear
May I take your plate? Monitor tables and pre-clear dishes as soon the customer finishes eating.
10.
Close
Thank you! Good Bye! Come again! Thank the customer for coming and ask them to come again!

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.

Pre-Clearing TablesDishes Everywhere

Does this look appealing --->?

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



Clear Tables into Bus PansBus Pan Image

Keep bus pans handy on the lower shelf of the customer counter. Clear dishes directly into bus pans. This saves a trip to the dish sink.




Dish Clutter Image Don't Clutter the Sink Area

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


Resetting the TableSet Table Image

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

  1. Pull the condiments away from the menu holder and wipe underneath.
  2. Wipe down the condiments if dirty
  3. Arrange the setups left to right:
    • Sugar
    • Salt & Pepper
    • Jelly holder
    • Ketchup
    • Mustard (in front of ketchup)
    • Creamer bowl (in front of jelly)
  4. Placemat and silverware roll
  5. Table tent in the middle

How to Answer the PhoneTelephone Image

Customer service is our top priority for in-store customers and call-ins!

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 few words in so you know why they're calling! If you must put them on hold say: "I have another order, I'll be right back with you." Then go ahead and put them on hold.

Answer the phone as follows:

"Hello, George Webb's on ________ this is ________, how may I help you?"

ComplaintsDisgruntled Image

Indifference Looses Customers

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


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.

The Successful Bar Rush - 3rd Shift

The definition of a successful bar rush is: "no service problems or delays in food preparation and no customer hassles".

Working the bar rush successfully takes a skill set that you can learn. Work the following way and the rush will likely go smoothly with less tress and good tips.

  1. Be Ready:  Well before the bar rush don't spend time standing around or being on your phone. Get  ready by checking all the setups on the tables; stocking the paper goods and other things you need; and sure you have two full bins of silverware wrapped. Have the dishes are washed and put away.
  2. Be Friendly and SmileGreet people the moment the door opens "Hi, I'll be right there" makes a big difference. SMILE. You'll be amazed at what smiling even at people that have been drinking can do to help things go more smoothly.
  3. Be Proactive:  You're in charge out there, act like it. Be quick with service, help people to decide, telling them you're very busy and will return if they're not ready to order.
  4. Work the "System":  Don't abandon your skills during the rush. Use the 10-Steps to Customer Service.
  5. Collect In Advance All the Time:  Collect in advance for every table, every night, for every customer, all-the-time, no exceptions, even to regulars.
  6. Communicate with Customers:  Example, while your standing waiting for payment for one group, you notice new people come in or others needing service, acknowledge the other people saying "I'll be right with you as soon as I collect here".
  7. Don't Hold Back Tickets:  When taking orders, take one and put it into the system right away, then move to the next table. Never take orders from more than one table before going to the POS. It creates a bottle neck in the kitchen.
  8. Table Touch:  Be aware of who's new, who's waiting for food, who's eating, etc. As you see that food is taking quite a while, stop back and offer beverage refills and say I'll check on your order.
  9. Don't ask the Kitchen How So and So Order is Going:  It confuses the cook. Instead, step in and help on the eggs side of the kitchen and you'll readily see where the various tickets are at.
  10. Clear Tables Right Away:  A big goal is to turn tables to get people in and out as fast as possible. So pre-clear dishes as soon as people are done eating which encourages them to leave and it makes the place look much less chaotic. Pre-clear into bus pans instead of cluttering up the sink area.

Summary

So what did you get out of this guide? I suggest you go back and read it a second time right now. You'll probably get a point or two that you didn't get the first time.

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.

Every Shift Has a "Runner"Runner Image

No matter the number of server/cooks on duty, one is also the runner. 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 The runner runs back and assists and coordinates the activities of the cook in order to expedite food preparation.

When are there Two Dedicated Cooks? Only when there are two cooks and two servers on duty.

Daily Server DutiesServer Shift Duties Image

There's lots to do besides waiting on customers, so let's get to it.

The daily shift duties list is a timeline for the shift. What to check right way, when to stock,  when to take breaks, and everything your responsible for. It sets the rhythm for the shift.

Some of the most important Daily Duties are as follows:







Daily Server Duty... Red Bucket (for Wiping Towels at Customer Counter Red Bucket Image)

Wiping towels must be stored at all times in red bucket filled bleach-water located on the customer counter shelf.

Refresh the red bucket from the bleach-water dispenser as soon as the shift begins and again every two hours or as needed.


Daily Server Duty... Deep Clean Itemserverduties Server Deep Clean Schedule Each day, Monday-Friday there is an extra item to clean.
Daily Server Duty... Soup and Chili RefreshSoup Heaters

Pour the soups and chili into clean pots; check the soup of day and chili and add a little hot water if too thick; and check the temperature of each soup and record it.

Daily Server Duty... Dessert FridgeDessert Cooler

Clean and Refill the dessert cooler with desserts and bottled beverages.

Daily Server Duty... Front Door Glass Door Glass Image

The first and last thing the customers see are the doors as they come and go. Keep the finger prints away regularly by spraying with glass cleaner and wiping with paper towel.


Daily Server Duty... Bathrooms Restroom Image

Customers judge us by the condition of the bathrooms. The janitor only works a few hours per day, so check out the restrooms during your shift as follows:

  • It only takes a minute
  • Wear gloves if you want
  • Pick up litter and put it in the garbage
  • If the garbage is overflowing, push it down!
  • Check if TP is needed

Daily Server Duty... Stock

Early and often throughout shift not leaving it for the end.

Styro Cups and Lids, Crackers, Coffee, etc.


Daily Server Duty... Prep Work

Assist cook with prep work. Refer to the Prepwork Intake Report to see what needs to be done.

Daily Server Duty... Meal Breaks

Start the first break right at the beginning of the "window".

Break Windows:

  • 1st Shift: 8-10am
  • 2nd Shift: 3-5pm
  • 3rd Shift: 12 mid-1 am
Daily Server Duty... Soup StationSoup Heaters

Wipe down the heaters and soup area

3rd Shift: Each heater, pour out water & replace with fresh


Daily Server Duty... Wrap Silverware Silverware Roll

All during shift as time allows. Sufficient silverware to leave two bins for the next shift.


Daily Server Duty... Setups - Cleaning and FillingCondiments Image

The setups are the condiments at the tables. Clean and fill the setups during the last hour or two of the shift as follows:

  • Do setups in place rather than to gather the items
  • Take a sanitized wiping cloth and the sugar can
  • Visit each setup as follows:
  1. Slide condiments away from menu holder
  2. Wipe counter underneath
  3. Wipe and fill sugar jar
  4. Wipe ketchup & mustard
  5. Wipe salt & pepper
  6. Fill jelly caddy
  7. Wipe menu Put it all back nice

Daily Server Duty... Beverage CounterBeverage Equipment Image

During the last hour or so of the shift clean the following beverage counter items starting on one end.

  1. Bottled Beverage/Dessert Cooler
  2. Hot Chocolate/Cappuccino Machine
  3. Orange Juice Dispenser
  4. Soda Machine
  5. Coffee Machine

The secret to easy beverage and soup counter clean up at end of shift is to keep it clean all during the shift.

Daily Server Duty... Sweep and Spot MopSweeping Image

Pick up paper and litter as you see it. Sweep the floors and spot mop as needed.

Daily Server Duty... Empty the garbage

Just before end of shift
Empty rubbish containers, tie the bags and take to the dumpster.

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.


How To Complete All of This

The work outlined above is all doable as long as you work at it between customers all during the shift. You can't possibly get everything done if you stand around waiting for customers. So refer to the shift duties list. Most of the work take moments to a few minutes and makes the place look nice.

When To Go HomeHand Off Image

When the work is done, which should be on most days by the end of the shift. If the store was extra busy, or you failed to pace yourself during the shift, you must stay and complete the work. The next shift is counting on you to have the place in shape!