Steps of Service

Restaurant Server Steps of Service

The Restaurant Server Steps Of Service is key to consistent WOW customer service.

Implement the steps of service into your restaurant. Require your service staff to know the steps of service by memory.  It is one thing to say that you know the server steps of service it is another to actually work the steps of service.

What are the restaurant server steps of service?

Apply the restaurant Steps of Service although out the customers visit at your restaurant.

The Restaurant Server Steps of Service are:

  1. Greet and Seat the guest
  2. Tell and sell the menu
  3. Ring and bring the product
  4. Check back and refill/ bus
  5. Tell and sell dessert / check back/ drop off the check
  6. Receive payment and reset the table for the next seating.

The manager or supervisor should be on the floor directing the service staff in the steps of service.

Think about it, if every server actually executed the server steps of service  properly and consistently you will achieve repeat business.

There are literally hundreds, if not thousands of restaurants that use the steps of service in their restaurants.

Every person in your restaurant has a role in the restaurant server steps of service.

Step 1
Greet and Seat – greet the customer immediately and seat the customer as long as there are open tables. Start a Wait Sheet  if all the tables are taken. Inform the server that you sat the customer in their section.

If the server can not greet the guest with-in 2 minutes, then the greeter should take a drink order as long as no one else is waiting at the door to be seated.

If there are customers waiting to be seated at the door inform management to help out taking drink orders or help seat the door.

Step 2
Tell and SellThe server should approach the guest with-in two minutes of being seated. The server should suggestively sell the menu starting off with an appetizer.

The server should implant a certain appetizer in the guest’s mind by describing in detail the appetizer.

Never approach the customer and say ” what kind of appetizer can I get you”. Profile the customer and decide prior to approaching the guest an appetizer. If it is a large party suggest’s a sampler or several appetizers. You get the picture.

Make sure you write down the customers order from left to right to prevent auctioning the food. Anyone can deliver the entree’s to the guest. If the order was taken from left to right and entered into the POS system from top to bottom, then the top entree belongs to the person on the left and the last entree belongs to the last person on the right.

Suggestively tell the menu and sell the menu.
Suggest the specials for the day or night, 

Step 3
Ring and Bring – Ring the entire order with-in two minutes of taking the customers order.

Here are some standard delivery times:

  • Drinks delivered – 4 minutes or less.
  • Soups and Salads – 4 minutes or less.
  • Appetizers – 7 minutes or less.
  • Breakfast – 8 to 10 minutes of less.
  • Lunch – 10 to 12 minutes or less.
  • Dinner- 15 to 20 minutes or less.
  • Desserts – 7 minutes or less.

Some dinner items may take additional time to prepare such as a steak dinner. The server should always inform the customer that it may take additional time to prepare the food item that they ordered.

Step 4
Check Back/Refill –  Check back after two bites. Refill the drinks when half empty do not wait for the customer to flag you down for a drink refill. Automatically refill the drink.

Pre-bus the customers table, remove dinner plates and trash. Leave the glassware and utensils on the table unless the customer is ready to pay the check.

Step 5
Tell and sell dessert / check back/ drop off the check – Suggestively sell desserts by implanting a certain dessert in the customer’s mind. Describe the Delicious dessert to the guest.

Check back after two bites to make sure everything that was prepared for the guest was okay. If no dessert is ordered then drop off the customers check by placing the check into a check presenter, then stand up the presenter directly onto the table. If the dessert was ordered then drop off the check when you deliver the desserts. Follow the same procedures when dropping off the check to the customer.

Step 6
Receive the payment / Reset the table
Server Banking – If the customer pays cash as a form of payment than receive the payment and give back the change from your server banking money. Do not cash out the check at the host stand. Remember to cash out the check from the POS immediately.

If the customer is paying the checking by using a credit card make sure you get an authorization number by processing the credit card through the credit card processor machine.

Give the check to the guest by placing the slip and the guest check into a presenter. Remember to stand up the presenter when placing it on the table.

When the guest is ready to pay the check they will lay the presenter flat onto the table which is a signal that the payment is ready to process.

Remember to close out both cash and credit card transactions as soon as possible.

After the guest leaves the restaurant with-in two minutes, reset the table for the next seating. Reset the table by cleaning top to bottom. Clean the salt and pepper shakers and refill them as needed. Refill any condiments as needed. Clean and sanitize the table and chairs and /or booths. Sweep around and under the table. Reset the table with the necessary dinnerware,  glassware and utensils.

I have been in restaurants that do not follow a steps of service program and within months they close up shop. I know you as a restaurant owner, you want to succeed. Implement the steps of service into your restaurant. You will create repeat business as long as the servers and management are consistent in executing the steps of service.

Visit these sites for other resources for your restaurant:

Cash Handling Policies and Procedures
Credit Card Handling Policies and Procedures

Restaurant Server Steps of Service Test

Test and Answer Key

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Restaurant Server Steps of Service Test

Steps of Service Answer Key

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