Small Bites

Special Needs A host can accommodate customers who have special needs:

• Sight Impairment Offer Braille menus, if available, provide check information, offer help when the customer is ready to leave.

• Hearing Impairment Speak directly to the customer.

• Obesity Offer more comfortable seating, such as an armless chair.

• Wheelchair Keep aisles clear, make appropriate accommodations at tables.

• Language Barrier Determine customer's language, locate an employee who speaks the language, if possible, offer a menu in the customer's language.

• Children Be alert to the child's actions, offer special seating, get parent's permission to offer crackers or crayons to keep the child occupied.

When customers arrive, the host should ask them if they have made a reservation, and in what name.

Keeping track of waiting lists is another responsibility of the host. Hosts often track empty and busy tables on a printed or computerized chart. Use these guidelines to track and seat customers using a waiting list:

• Ask how many people will be dining. Review the waiting list and seating chart for empty tables that will fit.

• If there is no empty table available, apologize to the customer and ask if he or she would like to be placed on the waiting list.

• Tell the customer about how long the wait will be. Call the customer's name when the table is ready. Many restaurants use pagers to alert customers that their seats are available.

• Cross off the customer's name from the waiting list once he or she is seated. If you do not do this, you may become confused. The host also leads the way to the table.

The host should always walk slowly so that the customers can easily follow. The host then seats the customers and presents them with

Conserve Energy Every server should look for ways to save time, energy, and motion. What are some ways that servers can conserve time, energy, and motion?

• Receive the correct payment from the customer

Servers must have good communication and interpersonal skills. They help set the tone of the dining experience. Servers are the sales staff of every foodservice operation. They help customers make beverage and food decisions by recommending menu items. A server must know the ingredients and preparation methods of all beverage and food items.

Use of Time and Motion

Service staff members are often responsible for serving a group of tables. This group of tables is called a section or station. The server should always look for ways to save time and energy when serving a section. Servers must be well organized and know how to set priorities, using as few steps as possible. For example, avoid unnecessary trips to the kitchen to increase your time management.

their menus. Hosts in fine-dining restaurants should pull out chairs to seat customers. Each customer should receive a menu. If the customers have any special needs, such as a child's booster chair, the host will either provide the need or inform a server of the need. If the customer wishes to change seating, the host should inform the server of the change, and make sure the new seating is suitable. None of the services provided by the host should be rushed. A sense of being rushed will make customers feel uncomfortable.


The server is the service staff member who has the most contact with the customers. Servers perform four tasks:

• Represent the foodservice operation

• Serve menu items skillfully

Cross-Training During training, chefs also learn basic money-handling skills. Why is this important training for chefs?

Also, when pouring water at a table, the server should check his or her other tables to see if anyone else needs water.

There are other ways to save time and motion during service. You may set more than one table at a time, deliver food items for more than one table at a time, and clear dishes from more than one table at a time. Always be aware of customers at all the tables in a station. This allows you to be more effective and efficient.


The busser helps maintain an inviting table and keeps the service station stocked with supplies. The service station is where supplies are kept for the service staff to reset tables between customers. Bussers sometimes serve water and bread to customers as soon as they are seated. Then, as customers finish eating, the busser clears the table. The busser also cleans and resets the table prior to seating the next customer, and notifies the host when the table is ready.

In some restaurants, the server or busser will clear the table between courses of a meal. A course is a part of a meal that is served at one time. Remember, dishes should not be removed from the table until all the customers have finished eating. When in doubt, you should ask the customers whether you may clear their dishes. Bussers also keep the dining room tidy.


Some busy, informal, or family-style restaurants have a cashier. A cashier is the employee who correctly reads the amount of the bill, processes the payment, and makes change. Other restaurants may have servers process customer payments and bring change to the table.

The cashier should always thank customers for their support. Spending money at a business is called patronage ('pa-trs-nij). Some establishments also offer items for sale at the cash register. These may include cakes, pies, bottled dressings, sauces, or syrups. The cashier sells these items to customers as they pay their bills.

\ Determine When should dishes be removed from the table?

Continue reading here: Service Skills

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