What being a Server means to me?
I distinctly remember the first time I applied to be a server in a restaurant. This restaurant had a great location with a strong local clientele and was always busy. I had eaten there many times and always liked the “flair” that the servers and bartenders had. They wore red and white striped shirts with suspenders adorned with buttons and pins, as well as hats of their choosing that showed off their personalities. I told myself that I wanted to be a part of this dynamic and high energy team, after all how hard could it be? I was an intelligent and confident 20-year-old that was not going to take no for an answer. During my interview, the General Manager asked me if I had any experience in a high-volume restaurant, which of course I had none. He then very politely asked me to come back after two years, to which my reply was, well why? I had told him that I did not think it was too terribly difficult to introduce myself and asked what someone wanted to eat or drink. He was absolutely taken aback by my response, and later revealed to me that he only hired me because of my tenacity and over the top personality. TGI Fridays was where I learned the mechanics of being a server, how to handle being busy, and using that over the top personality in a casual and fun atmosphere, but I yearned for more.
Several of my friends worked in “fine dining”, nice upscale restaurants with crisp linens on the table and polished silver flatware that complimented the fancy little bread plates. After having my first meal in one of these restaurants, I knew that this is where I had to be, this is where I needed to be. I wanted to live vicariously through these people coming to eat in such places. And so, my journey into the world of freshly prepared culinary creations paired with amazing wines from every corner of the world began.
The very first General Manager I had in one of these amazing restaurants noticed my ability to sell, but asked me what I thought it was to be a great server. I could only reply with what I thought was true at the time, and that was to give my guests what they wanted. This, however, was entirely the wrong answer. He stated that to be a good server that would be enough, but to be a great server you must have a server’s heart. Perplexed, I asked him what that meant, and he stated that one must genuinely care for their guest, as they are an honored guest in your home and with a humble spirit. To this day, this is the same mantra that I carry with me every time I have the pleasure of waiting on a guest at Kres Chophouse, the best steakhouse in Orlando.
My sole desire at Kres is to provide each and every guest with an unparalleled experience they cannot get anywhere else. Working at Kres, the best restaurant in downtown Orlando, means that I have to treat each and every guest like they are the best. As someone in the Hospitality Industry that can truly appreciate genuine, seamless, and unwavering service, there are certain things that I look for when out as a guest, but more importantly it’s these same things that I strive to give to each one of my guests.
Just a few examples of these are:
• Anticipate your guests needs before they do.
• Maintaining a perfectly manicured table. No trash or crumbs, whatever the guest is not using or needs, comes of the table.
• Always try to use the guests name throughout the course of the evening, but especially when completing payment.
• Great servers always know when to engage their guests in conversation or when to provide silent service. When possible, get to know your guests, their likes and dislikes regarding food, wine, trips, destinations. This is a key to getting guests to feel like that are truly being taken care of and will most likely return and ask for a particular server again.
• Finally, be yourself and have fun! Your personality and being who YOU are, are what ultimately create a guest experience. Even fine dining does not ever have to be pretentious.
Ultimately, this is what being a server means to me, and how I perceive great service to be. Whether I am out on the town enjoying all the many culinary adventures Orlando has to offer, or eating at my own delicious Kres Chophouse, the best fine dining restaurant. Perhaps this will give you a little more insight into what you like, or how you like to be treated while dining out.
As always, it is a great pleasure to write for each and every one of you, and please feel free to comment and leave any feedback. Also, let me know if there is anything in particular that you would like to see on a blog. You never know if you will be featured!
Ciao for now,