Thursday, December 22, 2011

Assisting the Customer

I was watching TV at home and turned on Iron Chef American. In this particular contest, they had two guest chefs teamed with chefs who regularly perform on the show.  As I watched, I quickly noticed the regular chefs calmly walked around the cooking arena while the guest chefs frantically searched for their utensils. We, as restaurant entertainers, need to be familiar with our restaurant.  We know where the restrooms, telephone, hostess desk and bar are located in the restaurant.  We know the area and what is around the restaurant.  We need to be able to assist our customers in locating the bathroom, banquet hall, or assist in providing driving directions. Many times customers will ask for directions to the restroom, or what to know about local events.  So, it is important for a restaurant entertainer to be knowledgeable about their restaurant, and also the community that surrounds the restaurant.

If you are entertaining in a restaurant for the first time, walk trough the restaurant and look for the hostess desk, bathrooms, coat room, telephones. Also find out were complaints or questions should be direct to.  All restaurants have a manager who can handle these questions, but get the managers name.  This way when asked, you can tell the customer who to ask for and where they can find this person.  Detailed information like a manager’s name, will make your input valuable and appreciated by the customer.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Helping the Wait Staff

When I started working Sunday mornings at a local Crackle Barrel my typical solution to show customers I accept tips was to wear a clear bag with a couple dollars showing.  As the day progressed, I placed more and more tips in the bag.  On a good day the bag is bulging. But on this particular day, I was doing extremely well.  At the end of my shift I sold back my singles for larger bills.  The manger who hired me told me the wait staff was upset with me be because I was taking their tips.  They had seen my bag go from flat to full and they didn’t like that.  The manager told them, “You have to be more like the balloon dude and be happy and friendly and your tips will increase.”  Now that’s not 100% accurate.  Tell the wait staff that you work the entire restaurant while they only have four to six tables.  “If we compare tips, you will find you made about the same amount. It’s just that I (restaurant entertainer) had to work the entire restaurant to make the same”.

The wait staff is your companion on the restaurant floor.  You need to assist them when needed. It may be something as simple as getting their customer a fork, or more difficult as tracking down the waiter/waitress to correct an order.  A simple comment made to a customer can help the wait staff improve their tip.  Inform customers the wait may be longer today because somebody called off and the kitchen is short handed. You are now transferring the problem off the wait staff on to another part of the restaurant.  By doing this you are insuring the wait staff will still receive a tip.  Sometimes people seat themselves or a hostess neglects to inform a waiter of a new table. If you are entertaining at this table – immediately stop and track down a server.  The server will thank you later for getting them another table and possibly, saving their tip.  Servers, like restaurant entertainers, rely on tips to subsidize their income.