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Outstanding Examples of Quality Guest Service For Restaurant Managers

Aug 17, 2007
Here, I'd like to offer a more personal piece. We're going to learn about how to give quality guest service by examining customers-eye views of outstanding examples. these are various incidents encountered in all varieties of establishments, from both sides of the counter, over the years. they're incidents that stick in the mind.

You want your business to stick in a customer's mind, after all. That's the kind of business we dream of - when a customer remembers your experience years later. The kind of great service that a happy patron can relate years later, as an example of service above and beyond the call of duty.

The Emergency Check-Out
My wife and I were in the first years of our marriage, with the kids still in the toddler stage. We had gotten away on one of our short weekend vacations from the kids, much-needed rest for both of us, and had booked a room at a casino in Laughlin, which was only one city away. This was only to be for one night and one day. We opted for in-home babysitting, split up into shifts between two teens. The one had been our baby-sitter for years and was a trusted family friend, but the other we'd hired out of the paper and we didn't know too much about her.

Anyway, we'd stayed at the hotel overnight and arose the next morning and the first thing we did was call in at home to check. The more experienced sitter answered, and informed us that she had arrived early and witnessed the other sitter being abusive with the kids. One of them was sporting a mark. If your heart just skipped a beat, you are a parent who can empathize with how we felt. Even though we had the room for the rest of the day, we immediately crammed our belongings into our luggage and ran down stairs to check out.

There was a huge crowd checking out at the exact same time. Only one check-out clerk was working the desk, with a line of about 20 people milling about. My wife and I skimmed the scene and then button-holed a passing clerk and explained our situation.

This saint of a clerk immediately sprang into action, opening another window just for us at the check-out desk and speeding us through the minimum motions required to get us on our way. We had another day paid for that we didn't use, but we didn't care - they could keep the money, we just wanted a fast exit - and out the door we got. All eventually ended well when we got home, but we returned to that hotel later to personally thank the staff.

the Best Date Ever
This was when my future wife and I were dating. We had discovered a gem of an Italian restaurant tucked away in a downtown area, and this was the most memorable place we'd been to. It was huge and quirky, with two stories and a basement. The furnishings were incredible; a "monster gallery" was set up in the basement sharing space with a wine cellar, the restaurant proper was a practical museum of artwork, and the second story was a maze of balconies looking out over the floor.

We showed up at an odd hour, and since the place wasn't too busy, we got the full service treatment. First we got an interesting guided tour, then were offered our choice of seating anywhere we liked. We picked a cozy alcove, and our meal spanned a couple of hours, during which time every single waiter, server, and somelier appeared out of nowhere right on cue, performed their duties, and left us with some alone time. The food and beverages were so excellent, we still talk about that place fondly even ten years later.

Towards the end, a little band of musicians assembled on stage, mainly to get set up for the expected crowds later that evening, but seeing just us, they improvised a little musical number just for us. I think the whole restaurant staff could tell a young couple of sweethearts when they saw one, and I swear there was a coordinated effort behind the scenes to give us a night to remember.

the Best People Skills
We were at a large inn in a tourist location. It was a very popular and busy place, and the rest of us had grown noticeably uncomfortable waiting for our tables in the lobby, all because of one loud and unruly man. He seemed very emotional, was definitely intoxicated, and was hostile and abusive with the hostess and the headwaiter. Finally one of them paged for the security guard, who arrived to handle the situation.

This guard had to be a psychiatrist moon-lighting as a security guard! Where others might have been brisk, stiff, and formal ushering the guest out of the building with his loud protests and making a scene, this officer was the most respectful and personal professional I'd ever seen. He talked to the guest, listening to what he had to say. The guest rambled on, babbling about this grievance and that, but the guard had a quieting effect on him.

The guard listened and nodded a lot, saying "I understand." and phrasing a lot of the conversation with sentences starting with "So you feel...". In ten minutes, the guest was calmed down, his anger averted, and the guard actually persuaded him to leave on his own, which he meekly did. We were in awe. I hope that guard later got a job as an international diplomat.

the Cheerful Waitress
I was traveling on business, and of all things found myself stuck in a strange city on Christmas Day. What's more, my whole family was several states away, and as if missing my loved ones dearly on that day weren't enough, the whole trip had been a series of annoying mishaps, with not even the business part going as I'd hoped. I'd completely forgotten to eat, on awakening late Christmas morning, and had stepped outside to find some food only to be confronted by a city mostly deserted, as it seemed nearly every business was closed with its staff home enjoying the holiday while I shuffled through the streets alone and hungry.

You can imagine when I did eventually find a restaurant after walking for blocks, I wasn't in the best of spirits. I got in and ordered a table, and noticed that the whole place was busy, probably the only restaurant open for miles, and the rest of the crowd was in groups and families. In the middle of all this, the waitress, who had to have been almost too busy to bother, noticed my low spirits as I ordered and stayed to talk to me.

She was incredible, handling orders for about ten tables with large families at each one, yet I got equal time. When she asked why I looked so down and I related the situation, she said, "We've all been there once." I kept my order simple, but even though I didn't want to be any trouble she made extra time for me, taking time to talk to me and visit, making it clear that just because I was one person in a wall-to-wall crowd that it didn't mean I was any less important.

This small bit of personal thoughtfulness alone made my holiday. It was such a small thing but by the end of the day it was all that mattered.
About the Author
Freelance writer for over eleven years.

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