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Service with a smile

Good service completes the dining experience in a restaurant.

THE CITIES are witnessing a mushrooming of restaurants -- fancy names, snazzy decor, and an international cuisine. Restaurant patrons are willing to pay for the quality of product, service and ambience.

Well, usually the product is there, the ambience is there, but where are the well- trained waiters? Restaurant staff should follow the basics -- be scrupulously clean, hair in place, clean hands and fingernails, no body odour and a stain free, crisp and well-fitting uniform. These augment the guests' feeling of confidence in the establishment.

Most people, when they look at a menu are quite unsure of what to order. Instead of hovering around quietly to take the order, how delightful it would be if the waiter came up and said , "May I recommend this" and be a partner with whom one can discuss what one really wants to have. For this to happen, they need to be knowledgeable about the various foods and beverages that are named in the menu. The waiter is not just the `gofer' between the kitchen and the table; he should be the sales person who is actively involved in the product, answering customer queries.

Right attitude goes a long way. A courteous, respectful attitude (not servile) towards the guests and co-workers adds to the ambience of dining. The waiters should be non-obtrusive, but observant, and anticipate the needs of the customer in a timely manner. The perfect waiters are those who:

Greet diners with a cheerful smile. Give each diner a copy of the menu. Know the menu, the daily specials, and details of preparation.

Offer suggestions and recommendations If something is not available, let the guests know immediately.

Check to make sure the meal ordered is to your guest's expectations.

Are courteous. `No problem' is not a substitute for `You're welcome'.

Don't let the people wait long between courses.

Wait until all guests are finished before you start to clear a course.

Ask the customer how they enjoyed the meal and thank them.

Recognise regular customers and make the effort to make them feel special.

Remember, good service can rescue a bad meal, but nothing makes up for bad service.

CHITRA DANGER

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