What to Expect From a Waiter
by Giuseppe De Carlo
When a waiter is trained and gets a position, he should be told what is expected from him in regards to service. He will be given x amount of tables in the establishment which will be called his station and even though he is paid a wage, his station is his own business. The better he services his business, the better his rewards. So what is expected from a waiter when he gets paid to run his own business?
The waiter must always be on time.
His station must always be spotless. Tables, chairs, carpet,crockery, cutlery, glassware, flower vases,dumb waiter, menus, salt and pepper, pepper mill, cheese grater, all mustards and sauces.
He must also prepare all requirements in the kitchen as required for service.
Always be aware of personal hygiene, always smile, walk briskly and be polite.
In the dining room, check out the specials for the evening and be ready for service on your station ten minutes before it is open to the public.
On the arrival of diners, as the headwaiter approaches your table you immediately begin pulling the chairs out and and welcome guests.
A good head waiter will usually give you the name of the guests he will sit on your station. This information should be written down in a pad and as the head waiter approaches your table fourteen, you will
give a quick look at your pad if you have not memorized all your guests names, put the pad back and say "good evening Mr.Jones, ladies sir," help to seat the guests by pushing their chairs as they settle and when seated, remove the serviettes one at the time from the place
settings. Ladies first, place them on their laps, get the menus and give them to the ladies , then the guest and the lastly the host.
You then ask if they would care for an aperitif or a pre-dinner drink, or "Mr. Jones, would you and your guests care for a drink before dinner sir?"
(When I will discuss service, I will introduce a Sommelier (drink waiter and a runner.)
Get the drink order, take it to the bar, return to the table and explain the specials of the day, ( I will write an article on how to learn about the cooking methods to enable you to understand the way
the chef cooks, so you can learn and explain the specials quite easily, and also how to learn and understand wines.)
Return to the bar, pick up your drinks, take them to the table and while serving them explain that you will return shortly to take their order. Return after three minutes, asking "Mr. Jones, ready to order sir? Or may I help by explaining some other dish?" This will help you in taking the order quickly as this is what the chefs want,ie - the order taken as quickly as possible. The diners will give you their choices which you will then take into the kitchen, placing your order
manually or it may be computerized. If there is bread and butter, or other breads in your order bring them out and serve them.
Never come out of the kitchen empty handed if there is something to bring out. Take wine order, return with wine present it, let the host try it, if acceptable pour it, within five minutes bring out your appetizer, serve it, check the wine, top up if necessary and say "enjoy your appetizer."
After five minutes return and inquire "how are your
appetizers?" If they state "very good thank you," smile say "thank you" and walk away. This may take ten minutes or so during which time other guests may arrive and you will repeat this procedure with all your other tables. You must also clear empty tables when they
have all finished, check wines and water or any other requests that diners may have, keeping your eyes open for gestures. If some one picks his hand up and looks at you, he wants to see you. Go there immediately and see what request he may have. Serve main course and
after five minutes check if satisfactory. If the diners are having a conversation keep your eyes on them but don't interrupt.
Serve dessert, check on wines or drinks, serve coffee, liqueurs while always checking tables for top ups, drinks, liqueurs. When diners have finished, they will ask you for the bill. Get and check that it is exact then give it to the host with a "thank you very much sir."
When he pays he may gesture for you to pick up the account. Having done so and never looking at it in the dining room you will take it directly to the cashier.
99% of clients will tip and if 1% does not, it may be because of ignorance.
This may have been a one night in a life time for them, so be gracious and say thank you. By doing so you have accomplished two things - one, you were perfect in the eyes of these two diners and two, the establishment respects your understanding.
Ignorant waiters would have made a scene, those poor people who may have saved for a year for this night were shattered and the waiter with the beggar mentality should be fired, because he gets paid for having the honor of working where he can meet great people and make great money. In life there must be give and take, not just take.
Giuseppe De Carlo