Yes you heard right…my waiter got a $20 tip for just getting a cup of coffee for a guest. That’s pretty good, what secret trick did she do to make it happen?
When I was an active Director of Banquets, I always told my staff that we must be flexible with what we offer our customers and how we offer it. The customers that come into our establishment are expecting to be taken care of and for us to do so as THEY see fit, not as WE want it to be.
Some are vegetarians, some have allergies, some have religious beliefs that prevent them from eating certain foods, and some just don’t want what we have to offer. We must always expect to make adjustments and substitutions to the well-thought-out menus that our chef has developed. That’s part of the business. You must adapt to your customer’s needs.
But what do you do when a person that is a guest at our property for a wedding asks his waiter for a cup of coffee, espresso to be exact, just as she places the first course salad in front of them? Dessert and coffee aren’t planned until 3 courses later. What should she do?
Here are some options the waiter has:
- Tell the guest that we don’t offer espresso at this event (the host has not provided this option)
- Tell the guest that coffee will be served 3 courses later with dessert
- Tell the guest that “I will need to get approval from my manager”
- Tell the guest “Yes sir, it will be my pleasure”
You will be surprised at how many times the answer the guest receives is one of the first three things listed. What happened to being flexible? What happened to understanding the needs of the guest and adjusting to them?
Especially a customer, our guest, who has a basic request like a cup of espresso? I hope so. In this case it was worth a very nice tip to the waiter. She made the guest happy and he did the same for her.
It doesn’t matter if we are speaking about coffee, here’s another scenario…
Many restaurants offer a different menu for guests that are seated at the bar versus guests seated at a table in the main dining room. Why this is I don’t know but I do know that this should never prohibit a “bar guest” from placing an order for a high priced steak because only burgers and wings are on the bar menu.
Have you ever come across this scenario?
Even though our employees are expected to operate within the guidelines and policies of the restaurant,
Many times our guests, the people who pay us their hard-earned money, want a different choice than the one we are currently offering.
It all comes down to smart business. Do we operate expecting the customer to adjust to our needs and what WE want to provide? Or should we see what the customer WANTS, find the best way to provide it AND be flexible enough to adapt to their ever changing needs?
I vote for the latter.
If we are not flexible we may still be offering the equivalent of a “flip phone” when the customer desires a “smart phone”. Or a “film camera” versus digital. What we wish to provide, and when we do so, is not important if the customer wants something else.
If you are willing and able to adapt you will be successful…and maybe you too can get a $20 tip for a cup of espresso!
What are some ways YOU have adapted to the special needs of a customer? Leave a comment and add to the discussion.