10-Steps of Customer Service

Our customers come to us with the expectation of receiving full, sit-down service. By breaking down service into steps, you'll know exactly which step you're at with each customer. Perform each step and the customer will think wow, good service. Miss a step and it sticks out like a sore thumb.

# Step Say Do
Greet & Seat

A) Sit wherever you like;

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 and
Repeat Order
Are you ready to order?

Let me repeat your order to avoid any mistakes.

Be an adviser, "care for meat with your eggs, soup or chili with your burger?"

What you heard and what the customer said, may be different.
Place Order I'll go place your order and be right back with silverware (and the check)

(If on 3rd shift, say "I'll be right back with your check, we have to collect right away after 10 PM.)
Place the order on the POS.
Deliver the Silverware and the Check
Here's your silverware (and the check)

(If on 3rd shift, say "I need to collect right away it's the policy after 10 PM.)
Deliver the silverware and waitrpaid w/receipt to the customer.

(If on 3rd shift, collect 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 when you interact with customers. Examples:

Making Tips

Coffee RefillsGood Coffee Image

Be a "Runner"

It takes longer to prepare the food than it takes to take the order. So the kitchen becomes a "bottleneck".  This is why the server needs to also be a runner who assists and coordinates the activities of the cook in order to expedite food preparation. If there is one server and one cook on duty, the server is the runner. If there are two servers and one cook on duty, one of the servers is the runner. If there are two cooks and two servers on duty, the cook on the egg side is also the runner that should help out front as needed to take orders or collect payments.

Pre-Clear Dishes from Tables

Dishes Everywhere

Does this look appealing --->?

This is what happens when the server doesn't  "pre-clear" the customer's main dish while the customer is still seated. As you can see, pre-clearing is a a vital step to keeping the restaurant looking tidy.

Where to Pre-clear the Dishes

Don't clutter the sink with dirty dishes. Pre-clear into a bus pan. Keep bus pans handy on the lower shelf of the customer counter and at a nearby bus-cart.Bus Pan Image

1st Priority after Customers Leave - Reset the Tables

Set Table

Doesn't this look nice --->?

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

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

Wipe and Sanitize Customer Tables between Customers Red Bucket with Towel

Use a clean wiping cloth and the bleach water in the red bucket to wipe and sanitize the:

The Red Bucket Solution

Test StripsTest Strips

All wiping cloths should be stored in the red bucket with chlorine/water sanitizing solution. Change the bucket often and test the solution, every 2 hours or more depending on usage. Use test strips found on the wall. It's a simple process of inserting a test strip as the water comes out of the dispenser. It should read between 50-100 ppm, and definitely not less than 50 ppm.

How to Answer the PhoneTelephone Image

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

  • This means the phone must be answered no matter how busy we are.

  • Simply excuse yourself to answer the phone.
  • Answer as follows:  " Hello, George Webb's on _____(street)______ this is ___(your name)_____"
  • 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! If you must put them on hold say: "I have another order, I'll be right back with you."

Customer Complaints

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.

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 it! 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?

You're going to hear this at times. We don't have a manager on duty at all times. So rather than to say the manager isn't here right now, say: "I am capable of solving your problem. how may I help you?"

  • You have the authority to remake food if necessary.
  • You have the authority to void a 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

Loosly divide up the tables into sections when there is more than one server on duty. This way each of you can focus on the customers in your section. However, continue to work as a team, helping each other as needed.

End-of-Shift Customer Hand-Off

Change of shift can be a weak point if you only focus on doing last minute work in order to go home.

It's important that you hand-off your customers to the new shift.

  1. Continue to take orders, including entering them into the POS system right up to the end of the shift.
  2. Point out each customer and where they are at in the10-steps to service
  3. Point out any remaining carryout orders


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