Anyone who’s been reading my reviews for any length of time knows that I’m a stickler about service. A dinner with wonderful food can be less enjoyable with poor service. And a mediocre meal can become delightful if the serving staff is excellent. I’ve always considered the servers to be the most important people on a restaurant’s staff because they have full control and the ability to turn any situation around.
Or at least they should.
So many times I’ve written phrases like “The serving staff could benefit from some training,” or “My waiter didn’t seem to know the basics of proper service.”
I know that you’ve experienced it, too, as a diner. You’ve had servers “auction” off plates to the table; you’ve found yourself looking around for someone because your order isn’t right; you’ve had waiters and waitresses 20 years younger than you address you and your guests as “guys”; and you’ve rolled your eyes when a server who had been detached throughout your meal suddenly becomes friendly and attentive when presenting the check.
Most of the time I don’t blame the individual servers. In fact, it’s been my observation that most servers want to know how to do a better job, they’re eager for guidance. But too often, the management doesn’t have the resources or the knowledge to properly train the staff. It’s pretty common for the managers of a restaurant to have been promoted from the ranks of the serving staff, so they bring their lack of knowledge for proper service with them.
I’ve always felt that Central Florida should be the leader in hospitality. Others around the country should refer to an “Orlando style of service,” a style to emulate. But no such standard exists. I’d like to change that.
I’m pleased to announce the launch of Scott Joseph’s Restaurant Server Training Course, an online tutorial designed to give servers the tools they need to be better at their jobs. It’s a video based course that not only offers the basic skills that are standard to the industry but also incorporates the things I’ve learned about proper service over the three decades that I’ve been reviewing restaurants. Course modules include my Diner’s Bill of Rights; What a Critic Looks for; the Qualities of a good Server; and Learning (and Unlearning) How to Speak.
The course can be taken on computer, smartphone or tablet device and takes approximately three hours to complete. Most modules include a quiz on the topic that the student must pass. Upon successful completion of the course, the server will receive a Certificate of Achievement.
As part of the inaugural launch, I’m offering a limited number of coupons for $50 off the individual tuition. Enter the code SJO at checkout to claim the discount. Restaurateurs interested in a group plan for the whole serving staff may contact me for pricing details.
This is a generic course, but I am also offering customized versions tailored to the needs of individual restaurants. These may include modules that describe each dish on the menu and quizzes on the ingredients and preparation. Contact me for those particulars, too.
I’m really excited to launch this course, it’s been years in the making. And I’m hopeful it will be a useful resource to improve the overall quality of service. Better servers make better tips. Better servers make happy customers. Happy customers become regular guests. Regular guests make restaurant owners happy. Everybody wins.