To make guest feel welcome and important, whenever any guest arrives, it is the responsibility of the service staff to approach and meet the guest with a smile, maintain eye contact and with proper body posture greet the accordingly at the door.
As discussed before, the first employee who gets contact with customer, has the opportunity to make a positive impression on guest. In fine dining, guests are generally welcomed by hosts or hostess or may be even by the owner but in normal cases,a server or waiter or waitress may be the first person who acknowledge and welcome guest; Each and every employee should have the training to greet guest.
The employee who greets the guest should use very brief but welcoming phrase to greet guest like “Good Morning/Afternoon/ Evening, Sir/Madam Welcome to XYZ(Name of Your Restaurant). Must remember ladies should be greeted first. In some restaurants, guests can leave their belongings like umbrella or overcoat in the reception. If you have such arrangement then politely ask guest about it.
2. Check Guest Reservation
Check reservation and ask about any special need
To be ensured whether guests have any reservation or booking very politely ask “Do you have any reservation?”
If the answer is Yes which means guests have reservation, then thank for guests’ name by saying May I have your name please” . Check your reservation book and repeat the reservation back to guest.
If there is one guest who comes without reservation then instead of saying “Are you alone, Sir/ Madam” you could ask “Table for one person?”
If you have enough free table then ask (if appropriate): “Do you have any preference sir like ,sitting in a smoking or non-smoking area or near the window etc.
Ask about special need. For example there is a child in the group then ask guest whether the baby needs any high chair or not.
3. Handle Difficult Situations
Example :-A guest or group of guests may come without any reservation. In that case, greeter or host could say “Please allow me few seconds sir. Let me check if there is any table available or not.”
Now if there is free table then the host could easily make guest seated there but what does happen if every tables are occupied? If none available then you have to handle the situation tactfully. If you have bar facilities or if your restaurant is in a hotel then you may say “Sir, I am very sorry. All the tables are occupied. Would you mind wait in our bar or in the lobby so that I can call you as soon as any of the table is free. In such way, you just prevent your restaurant from losing a very potential guest and also promoting the revenue of bar or any other business.
4. How to Arrange Seating Capacities
Allocate table according to the number of guests or size of the party. For a group or large family, seat guests in a large round table or if appropriate join 2 tables together and for couple, seat in a deuce. Deuce is a hotel or restaurant term which means a table with 2 sitting space.
Young couples trend to choose corner or near window to have romantic moment.Elderly or disabled guests should be seated near entrance so that he or she would not need to walk much.Loud, noisy parties could be arranged in private rooms or at least in the back so that other guest don’t feel discomfort.
Above all, if guests wish to get seated in particular areas and if situation permits then try your best to offer that.
5. Lead Guest To The Table
Maintain eye contact throughout, keep smiling and escort the guest to the table by saying “This way please Mr./Mrs. or Sir/Madam
Show the way by walking in front of the guest
Do not walk too fast. Maintain very small distant, not more than one meter away from guest and look back at the guest rapidly.
While you would reach the table, say: “Will this table be all right for you, Mr./Mrs./Ms or Sir/ Madam”
6. Help The Guest While Seating
In a courteous manner pull the chair out so that there would be just enough space for the guest to enter.
Lady Guest should be seated first with best view of the restaurant, then the gentleman.
While helping lady guest to be seated (if applicable) stand behind the chair, push with two hands on the chair shoulder and keep the right toe at the base of the chair so that guest can seat comfortably.
Help the kid to get into pull high chairs.
7. Before Leaving The Table
At this stage the hostess or host or greeter should leave the table at this stage and return to the reception desk to welcome and continue seating procedure for other guests.
Server may be busy in other table. Before leaving the table host or greeter should let the guest know that server has been, informed and will come very shortly.
A very good gesture from a server should be come to the table and say “I am very sorry Sir, We are very busy at the moment.I will be with you in XYZ (required waiting time)
Prior to leaving the table, wish the guest (by name)
At this stage, a service staff like waiter or server will take over the table to complete next steps.
Be friendly but very polite and courteous all the time.
Always speak with a clear and confident tone.
Keep smiling throughout so that guest feel comfortable.
Guest with reservation should always be given more preference than walk-in guests.