A man – or a woman – walks into a ….Restaurant



And the big question is what happens next?

Irrespective of whether or not you are the owner of the bar or restaurant, or the customer, or an employee of the establishment concerned – what happens next should be the same in every case time and time again.

At a time when Scotland’s food and drink industry has plenty to shout about in terms of quality, there is no doubt that bar and restaurant owners face fierce competition for customers and their hard earned cash.

The design and layout of any licensed premises is vitally important. Perhaps the place concerned is part of a chain or has a specific theme which hopes to attract customers. Perhaps the premises are “local” hoping to attract regular customers from the immediate neighbourhood as opposed to a destinational establishment which attracts people from far and wide?

Irrespective of what kind of establishment the man or woman has walked into, the first thing they should see when they come through the door is a smile – and they should see it sooner rather than later.

Clever designs, an appetising menu, a good location – all help to make a successful and profitable bar or diner, but it is at the sharp end of service that can really make for a great consumer experience and boost profits.

Owners and managers should see waiters and waitresses as a point of sale and train them accordingly. With the right training in terms of attitude and practice, waiters and waitresses can make a huge difference to the experience of the customer and success of the business concerned.

So here are a few basic tips for the budding waiter/waitress/manager or owner when it comes to meeting and greeting those who have chosen to walk into your bar or restaurant:

1.The newly arrived customer should be met with eye contact and a smile within a minimum 30 -45 seconds of arriving on the premises and should be shown to a seat within no more than a minute or two at most.

2. The newly arrived customers should be asked if they wish a drink at this stage  (sale 1).

3. Within 3 – 5 minutes, the waiter or waiterss should return to the table with the  drinks concerned and any menus. At this stage the waiter/waitress should  advise of any special offers or dishes (Potential sale 2)

4. After a few moments, the waiter/waitress should return and take any food order (sale 3) and should offer the customers any bread/breadsticks  dips or other available savouries while they wait for their main meal (sale 4)

5. The waiter/waitress should then ask if the party wish any wine or other drinks with the ordered  meal (sale 5) and then ask if the table would like some water (sale 6)


6. When delivering either food or drinks, or indeed dealing with any other enquiry the service should always be delivered with a smile and courtesy, with an eye being kept on the progress of the meal. The waiter or waitress should always sound positive and offer helpful suggestions in terms of drinks or dishes (upselling where possible).

7. At an appropriate time, the table should be asked if they would like any further drinks with appropriate suggestions being made.(sale 7).

8. Desserts should always be offered (sale 8) as should tea or coffee (sale 9)

9. Most importantly when presenting the final bill, the customer should always be presented with a business card representing the premises – so they can be reminded of their visit to the premises or to pass on to a friend or relative (this is sale 10).

Provided the chef has the food right, the owners and managers have their pricing right, this is how the humble waiter or waitress makes the maximum possible number of sales to the customers and helps boost the profits of the business.

Of course excellent service enhances the customer experience – and is likely to guarantee the waiter or waitresses gains that most prized possession — the maximum tip possible!


And finally — a little reverse psychology – here’s how not to do it!



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