The Minimum Knowledge your Stewards need to work and sell more

You have most likely been hearing about lack of talent in the hotel industry. Frankly speaking these days it feels like you need to hire anyone who walks in from the street. Sadly while the customer expectation has gone up, the quality of service staff has gone down. (Of course, there may be exceptions)

The goal of this post is to equip you with the bare minimum training your team should have before they hit the restaurant floor if you are going to have productive team members.

In order to be effective your stewards need to learn to basically do these 3 things:

  • Greet people and talk to them?
  • Remember the menu and offer alternatives?
  • Smile and take care of guest requests?

If they can get this basic sorted you should have a steward who is able to take care of your guest

Question 1: Can they greet people and talk to them?

The first logical process while a guest enters the restaurant is to make eye contact and wish the guest. Often your steward is busy doing mise en place or some other important work behind the touch screens and fail to notice the guest arrival.

How to solve this problem?

Train the team that guests need to be given priority in the scheme of things. Repeatedly emphasize the fact that they have to do mise en place only because the guest is coming to the hotel. If they don’t take care of the arriving guest, guest will not feel welcome and they may not come back.

Allocate sections to the team in the briefing

Human beings are social animals and your team tend to cluster up in bunches near the POS machine to talk about their latest interest. These talks are so interesting that they fail to see the guest arriving especially during the early part of the meal period. By making sure that they have a section allocated and they are busy preparing their section, you can ensure any guest who comes in can get immediate attention.

Open their mouth and wish arriving guest

We have been trained not to talk to strangers, however, when the stranger happens to be our customer, it is important we forget childhood training and retrain the team on the basic script to wish our guest.

“Good morning welcome to the XXX café Mr Sharma” is a good way to start any conversation. An additional script like “How are you today? “should be incorporated into your arrival script

Question 2: Can they remember the menu and offer alternatives?

Menu knowledge is very important along with the ability to offer alternatives in case of allergy or other dietary concerns.

How to solve the problem?

There is a popular quote associate to Confucius

I hear I forget

I see I remember

I do I understand

Taking this saying to heart, in addition to the briefing where you talk about the dish etc, get the chef to bring out the dish and explain the dish. The team can see the presentation, the garnish, taste the dish and then ask clarifying questions.

Make it a routine during all briefing to bring out a dish that you can explain to the team so that they understand the ingredients correctly. Suggest alternatives so that they know what can be replaced and what cant be.

Question 3: Can they smile and take care of guest requests?

Let’s be honest, being a steward is difficult. Being on the feet and running around to get stuff is physically demanding. An average steward walks 11000 steps in a busy breakfast shift, almost equal to the recommended 10000 steps, but the day is still not done. And then there is the issue of remembering details of who ordered what etc.

How to solve the problem so that they can be cheerful.

Offer a little downtime:

10 minutes of a mini break will allow them to be refreshed, catch up with their breath and return to take care of the guest with the enthusiasm that the guest deserves.

Train them to preempt:

If they learn the art of observation, they can understand the needs of the guest before the guest asks for it. By asking them to keep their eyes on the table level during their work day, they can observe cues and respond to them making sure that the guest is happy and in turn, they are not hassled.

Taking care of guest in a restaurant is easy. Most of your guest comes in happy, to celebrate, our job is just to ensure they leave that way and your team can make that difference.

Train your team on these minimum steps and you can ensure a high social media ranking, repeat guest and full restaurant. For detailed training for your team you must refer to this post