Let’s face it: in the hospitality business, the little details matter. In fact, those details are critical to the success of your operation. Here’s why — your guests are coming to your restaurant so they can relax and everything you do – and don’t do – contributes to how enjoyable their experience is going to be. If they spend their evening worrying about the little stuff (“Where’s my food? My check? My server?”), they won’t be back.

Restaurant managers set the tone for how their employees approach their tasks. Are you doing everything you can to ensure that your guests are satisfied and sales are as high as they could be? Are you getting too bogged down in your management tasks that you’re forgetting about guest service? Take a look:

  • Suggestive selling. You may be great at training your team to suggest food items, but do you do it yourself? When you walk by a table and notice the pitcher of margaritas, do you tell guests about the nachos and how great they would taste with their drinks? Do you congratulate guests on food or wine choices and offer additional pairings?
  • Customized service. You probably tell your team members to remember the names of regulars, but do you? Do you glance at the ticket and study the credit-card name before you make a final stop at the table so that you can speak directly to Mr. Smith? Do you ask customers specific questions about the quality of the food (“Is your steak cooked exactly the way you like it?”) or do you fall back on the standard “Is everything okay here?” Do you personally address a party that is celebrating something special? When restaurant managers deliver customized service, team members will do the same.
  • Outside-the-box thinking. Most restaurant managers encourage team members to look for new ways to develop exceptional service or boost sales, but then neglect to do that themselves. If you think stories boost sales, how many are you telling? If you train your team to sell specialized items using descriptive adjectives, do you stop by a table that’s studying the menu and report what you’ve seen in the kitchen?

The best restaurant managers focus on the details and consistently demonstrate the behavior they want to see from their staff. When you do this consistently throughout every shift, your team will follow your example or, at least, have a clear idea of what you expect.

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