restaurant-guestsThere’s a saying it all starts at home. The guest’s experience all starts with the owner and/or managers. Like at home, the father and mother should not predominately be the best friend to the child. There always has to be a dividing line between the two. The same goes for your restaurant. You, nor your managers should be close friends of any employee. The largest of corporations adhere to this and there’s a reason for it. Your employees are not your friends, they’re just that, employees. Crossing the line is costly to your business and it’s a proven fact so there’s no reason for experimenting to see if it works.

You as an owner have total control over who controls what happens when you’re not there or can speak in your absence if you’re busy with other things. Most restaurant have a ‘front of the house’ staff and a ‘back of the house’ staff both with completely different tasks but severing the same essential purpose, making your guests happy. The front of the house has initial contact with your guests. The only employees that should handle your front door is the ones that have the biggest and brightest smiles. They’re going to set the pace for the ultimate ‘guest experience’. They will set the pace for the experience your customers will enjoy and hopefully brag about.

Everything in business has to start out good and fresh. A new day is no different than your opening day, every day should be opening day for your guests, even if they’re regulars. They should experience a clean setting with bright, clean and cheerful employees to greet and serve them. A good server or greeter is genuinely a happy person, they’re happy both at work and at home. Your guests can tell this mainly because of the amount of time they have to spend with their server. An attentive guest can tell a fake smile and masked cheerful tone instantly so it’s best not to play with their intelligence.

It’s also imperative that your servers and other employees know your menu and know it well. There’s nothing more annoying to a guest than to get an “I don’t know, or let me check” as an answer the their question about a menu item. As soon as the server walks away the negative comments and negative experience begins. The restaurant’s fighting chance of a successful service greatly diminishes and the order hasn’t even begun. Proper, qualified training is the key. Just as so for your servers as your kitchen staff. Your servers must know the food and preparation techniques and the cooks have to know how to cook it utilizing those techniques.

When controlling costs of your restaurant it’s your employees that will make the actual profit from theoretical profit expectations. Portion control, cooking experience and wait time will all factor in when it comes to collecting money from a table or sending them away with a free meal. Consistency from your prep chefs to your actual chefs are what matters when the guests finally receive their meals. The portioning process must always, always, be consistent. Especially if you’re running a franchise or chain restaurant. The guest must receive the same quality and size meals visiting in California as they would back home in Maine. It’s what they’re going to expect from the chain/franchise, so it’s imperative they receive it.

Burnt product costs money. It needs to be documented and thrown out. At the same time, but in the long run, under-cooked product can and will cost you more. An overcooked dish can easily be caught by the plate setup personnel or server before it heads out to the table. Under-cooked meats are noticed once the product is cut into or moved about on the plate by the guest. Detected or undetected it’s costly. Detected before eaten may result in a complimentary plate or at worse, an entire table’s bill picked up by the restaurant. This is actually the best case scenario. If gone undetected and the guest becomes sick later while at home and has to seek medical attention, things went from bad to worse rather quickly. Not only will the owner be calling the patron and compensating them, medical bills and bad publicity are sure to follow.

Taking the time to interview quality, experienced candidates for your restaurant will pay off generously in the long run. You’ll need good people and you have to be ready to pay for their service. Each and every employee you hire will set ‘Your’ example for each and every employee you hire after them. It’s a cycle that you’ll build from the day you decide to open a restaurant. Everything rolls down hill and the quality of your upper management will set the example for the employees to follow suit. Sadly at times we live in a ‘monkey see, monkey do’ world, and employees become characters of nature of your business. By habit if they’re shown good practices from the beginning there’s a chance that’s all they’ll know. Obviously this happens vice versa also, bad management, bad training results in bad employee conduct.

Hopefully if you’re already in business you have an extremely high grade of standards that your employees are bound to follow. If not it’s a must to try and recruit the highest standard of personnel possible in your location. Recruit is a good word to use because if you’re out dining yourself and find exceptional service there’s a chance people are not happy doing what they’re doing. Always keep an eye out for who may be able to bring your restaurant to the level you desire or the next level in general. Quality employees will be harder to find than quality supplies so your time allotted to finding them should be rationed as such. Your staff will build you and your business, focus on this and to keep your chances of success at the highest level possible.