There is no better way to get a pulse on your shift or restaurant as a whole than touching tables. There is no better way to meet your regulars or to identify problems before they happen. There is simply nothing more important than touching tables during your shift.
Here are a few do’s and dont’s when it comes to touching tables.
- Ask them how everything is.
- Speak clearly.
- Ask specific questions like how a specific food item tastes or if they have been in before.
- Look for body language that would suggest their visit is not up to their expectations.
- Resolve any issue.
- Ask if their is anything you can get them.
- Look for any way to make a connection with them.
- Refill their drinks, get them more ranch, pre-buss the table or help in anyway you can.
- Interrupt guests engaged in conversation.
- Seem rushed or disingenuous.
- Identify an issue and ignore it with a simple apology.
- Ignore body language that suggests the guest is not enjoying their visit.
- Take up too much of their time.
It is very important not to interrupt guests engaged in conversation, people go out to eat with friends or loved ones, they generally don’t like to be interrupted. Look for guests who are looking around or who are not engaged at the time. I like to do something for the table. I will carry around a pitcher of water, or offer to remove dishes. This is a great opportunity to not only help my team but to engage the guest.
A huge advantage of touching tables is identifying who your return guests are. Remember their names. I am really bad with names so I have a pad of paper in my planner that I usually keep in the office. When I meet a new guest I will immediately go into the office and write down their name with a description. I also write down anything I know about them, how many kids they have, where they are from, what they like to do, etc. to spark my memory.
If you are able to touch tables properly, you will greatly reduce the amount of guest that leave unhappy and greatly increase the amount of people who want to come again. You can build lasting relationships with your guests as well as get important feedback on your restaurant. So many great things come from this simple step.
Remember you can’t run a successful shift with out table touches. So form the habit. Get on the floor.
Question: What are some tips you can share on how you make you table touches more successful?