Sponsored Content

“What Happened to Service?!”

The impact a positive customer experience has in the hospitality industry.

Presented by Summer House November 20, 2018

Written by: Mike Granthon co. Owner of - Above the Bar Hospitality Group (The Hub Baja Grill, The Cottage Restaurant, Summer House Steak & Seafood, The Beach Club, Smokin Joe’s Pub)

1. The Welcoming Committee: Back in the old days of dining the host or hostess was always the owner of the business! The owners wanted to be the first to welcome the guest into their home, as family should. Guest dining at the owner’s restaurant were considered family.  The host or hostess should mimic behavior of an owner, always happy and eager to help you feel right at home. An exceptional host or hostess appears reserved, focused, happy, and willing to help despite long waits and crazy lines. A good host or hostess will look right at your eyes with a warm smile and say, “hello welcome” “good evening” or “welcome back”. Beware of the host that greets with the old “two”! or “four”! My name is not two!?

2. The Cat Walk: Navigating a busy dining room is hard enough, right? There should be no need to have to duck out of the staff’s way— as you walk through the dining room the staff should stop and let you pass through first or escort you to the restroom, bar or your table. After all you are the guest in our home. Staff’s body language should emulate “welcome” and “please right this way”. Their body posture will present a sense of gratitude and gratefulness. You should feel you are the only guest in the restaurant.

3. Your Tour Guide: A good server loves to take care of people—they are invested in the hospitality concept. You will be able to tell the difference between the people who have bought in the concept of hospitality and the ones who are just passing through. “Hospitality” as it has been described “is the virtue of a great soul that cares for the whole universe through the ties of humanity”. I know a few servers that would get upset with me if I interrupted their opening welcoming line. These professionals only have less than 30 seconds to adjust their service to fit your visit. Look for these servers during your dining experiences, they are always respectful, proud and knowledgeable. They’ll take you on a culinary journey through their mannerisms, knowledge and demeanor.

4. Master of the House: A good manager has his finger on the pulse. They should be visible and available, always looking for those wandering eyes. The good manager knows a guest needs something as the guest is thinking it and before the guest can even ask. Anticipating a guests’ needs is their second nature; for instance, if you’re rubbing your arms, they’ll turn the air up and then check on you. If you’re not eating your food, most likely you didn’t like it—the swift ninja manager should come and quietly help you with a new dish. We get it, you may not want to make a big deal of the situation; a quiet and soft spoke approach is the only way.

5. The Personal Touch: Engaging with a personal touch is a must. I’ve been to several hotels in Central Park, NYC. One of them said hello and welcome as I walked out of my Uber, asked me if I needed help with my luggage, after I declined they pointed towards the front and informed me the lobby is to the right. As I arrived at the front desk I was greeted with a smile where I checked in and off I went. You may say that was pretty good, and I thought so too. But like Jim Collins said in his book -Good to Great, “Good is the enemy of great”. Just a few blocks down and two years later we decided on a different hotel where my initial experience was quite different. As I arrived via Lyft this time, the car door was opened for me and I was greeted with “Welcome to ------“, they then quickly got my luggage out of the trunk without even saying one word, then asked me if I had a pleasant trip. Their next question was inquiring about how many days did they have the pleasure of serving us. At this point I was wowed, but what they did next really stood out for me; as they escorted us towards the front desk one the employees asked my six-year-old daughter if this was her first time in NYC and what was she most excited to visit while in town. I know next time I visit that particular hotel I will hear, “Welcome back Mr. Granthon!”. -Good is the enemy of great

6. The Feeling: This is the time to evaluate how they’ve made you feel so far. One of my favorite quotes of all time, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” -Maya Angelou

Well folks that’s it-the most important aspect is the way you make them feel when they are dining with you. It all comes down to the feeling they are all creating for you when you step into their house.

I remember— one 50-degree cold February evening at The Hub Baja grill several years ago. There must have been at least sixty people outside waiting for a table, half of them where children. I really wanted to wow everyone and let them know in some small way that I appreciated them waiting to dine with us. I ran to the market across the street and got hot coco for everyone waiting. I am not sure who got more excited; my team or the families waiting. Since then I’ve seen several staff members go out of their way and even out of the building to take care of the guest without asking management if it was ok to do so. Honestly that’s just fine in my book—we need more people like in the hospitality industry.

With 30 years’ experience in the Bar & Restaurant industry I am lucky to surround myself with service-oriented individuals that teach me something new every day.  

We are not perfect, but you can bet we come with a sincere approach from the heart.

Like my grandma, Mama Luchita used to say; “Salute I pesetas” (Health & good fortune)

I would love to hear your thoughts: [email protected]