Steps of service
Remember when I said you don't need an event planner- so if you get one, they had better be worth your while? In just the same way, no one needs to go to a restaurant to have a meal. So if you are going to go out for food and pay a premium for it to be cooked by someone else and served to you while you do nothing but enjoy a glass of wine and good conversation- that experience had better be worthwhile too, no?
As a stickler for good service and a veteran of the food industry- nothing devastates me more than bad service or low quality eats.
Here are some steps of service I'd like to share, with the hopes of educating future service providers, and setting fairly high standards for your future nights out.
- Upon arrival guests should have their basics covered the moment they are seated: cutlery, water, a wine list, and a menu is all it takes to make guests feel welcomed and attended to. If there are food or drink specials- this is when I want to hear about them too.
- 5 minute rule- after guests have had a chance to settle in their drink orders should be taken and sent to the bartender for pouring.
- Ideally, when drinks are brought to the table- the server takes food orders. Nothing makes me happier than when a server can make quality recommendations for drink and food pairing.
- When food is served- the server should repeat what the dish is called and it's key ingredients. To both refresh your memory, showcase their attention to detail, and prepare you for the impending deliciousness. This is also a great opportunity to take a 2nd round of drink orders.
- The 2 minute rule- after food has been delivered to the table the server should check back in within TWO minutes to make sure everything is to the satisfaction of the guest. If there is something wrong with the meal- for the love of Cod clear the plate from the table. No one wants to stare at a rejected/ unsatisfactory meal longer than they have to.
- Napkin and water top-up. You know you are in an establishment that truly cares about good service if you never go without a full glass of water and if when you return to to your table from the washroom your napkin has been refolded. The attention makes me swoon.
- Clearing dishes as soon as possible is also a key element. No one wants to enjoy a lovely conversation with their fellow guests when they have to lean over dirtied plates and glassware.
- Payment- if guests ask for the bill, it means they are ready to end their evening. It shouldn't take longer than 5 minutes to have the bill brought to the table. When guests are paying- never leave them at the table with the card machine alone, it's the servers last opportunity to make the guest feel attended to.
With that, here are some restaurants I can always rely on to have fantastic service and food: Chez Lavelle, Miku Restaurant, Boralia, The Good Son, Lee's by Susur Lee, D-Bar, and Bar Buca. Give them a try and let me know if you have other go-to's you think should be added.