Adjust Utensils Forks, knives, and spoons should always suit the food order. Whichever utensil will be used first should be placed on the outside. If the customer has used an incorrect utensil, clear it from the table and preset the correct utensil for the next course.
Some customers may want to order food to carry out of the restaurant. Use these steps to prepare carry-out orders for customers:
• Place the customer's order with the kitchen. Specify that the order is for carry-out.
• Prepare any items that the kitchen would not, such as rolls.
• Assemble the order once it is ready, and double-check it to make sure it is correct.
• Place the order in a bag. Add any necessary condiments.
• Bring the order to the customer.
Servers should check back with their customers during the meal to see whether they are satisfied. However, be careful not to interrupt the customer too often. You can check back with customers by sight as well as sound. Check back with the customers once they have been given a minute or two to taste the food. Watch their reactions as they taste the food. If they appear content, no further action is required. If a customer's facial expression shows disappointment or displeasure, however, ask whether the dish is prepared to his or her liking.
Use a tray to make clearing and carrying soiled dishes and service items safer, easier, and more efficient. Watch tables regularly to decide whether all customers have finished eating before clearing any dish. Customers might push the dish away, place their napkins on the table, or lay the utensils side by side across the dish to show that they have finished with a course.
If you clear a customer's dish before all of the customers are finished, you may make him or her feel rushed. Clear the dishes from the right side using your right hand. Do not reach across the table or in front of customers unless absolutely necessary. Keep cleared plates in your left hand away from the cus tomer and table. Move around the table clockwise. Do not overstack dishes on your arm or on the tray, and do not stack dishes on top of food. Do not scrape leftover food from one plate onto another plate when you stack dishes.
Although many foodservice operations are smoke-free, some have separate smoking areas. Ashtrays should be changed by placing a clean ashtray over the dirty one. Remove both from the table, and then place the clean one back on the table.
Assess Customer Satisfaction
There are many ways to assess how satisfied customers are with their meals and service:
• Use a survey or feedback cards. Ask customers, "How was your meal?"
• Listen for customer comments throughout the meal.
• Share comments with your manager. File any written comments for later use.
• Work to improve your service based on customer comments.
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