Do you know the other businesses around your restaurant or hotel? Are you one of those that just drive straight from your home to work without noticing what’s around you? If so then snap out of it!
You need to be a fountain of knowledge… and I don’t mean about the menu.
If your guest at table 14 was interested in buying a gift for a friend of theirs and asked you if you knew where the nearest bookstore or men’s clothing store was, could you steer them in the right direction? Or would you say “I’m not from around here, sorry”.
If so, you should be ashamed of yourself.
Would you give that same lame excuse to one of your friends? Or to your grandma? Heck no! You would go out of your way to find the answer. You would ask someone else, get out the telephone book or of course get on the internet, plug in your zip code and search through countless results to pick the best store nearest you.
Would you do this for the lady at table 14? Now I realize it’s not practical to expect you to go searching the web during your shift to help your guest, but what if you did? What if you didn’t know where the nearest book store was but you DID want to help your guest?
Maybe you could tell your manager about this and get permission to do just that, search the web. After all, you are doing your best to satisfy the needs of your customer right?
Use your phone or the nearest office computer but do it fast! Plug in the info, get the answer and rush back to your table and say…
“I’m sorry I didn’t have the answer for you right away but I asked my manager if I could use his computer to search for the nearest book store and he said yes”.
“There is a big store only a mile and a half away from here and they are open until 9pm. I take a different route when I come to work so I don’t pass it but now we BOTH know where the book store is. Hopefully you can find the book you are interested in”.
Can you imagine the surprise you just gave to your guest? Would they have ever dreamed that you would have followed up on this after you said “you were not from around here”? Never in a million years.
That’s how you WOW a guest.
Now this scenario may not be possible in your establishment. Maybe you have a jerk boss that is not interested in “WOW”ing the customers and won’t let you get on the computer. But there is another way to get the answer for your guests though it’s not as good as the computer.
Over the next several days or weeks, take a different route to work if possible. Notice the other businesses that are near your job. Think of the type of shopping your guests may be interested in and want to go to after they had a meal in your restaurant.
Would they look for a book store? You know where that one is now. Maybe they’re running out of gas and need to fill up. Tell them where the closest station is. Maybe they decided to pass on dessert with you and just wanted to take a stroll to help digest their food. Why not tell them where the nearest park is. You know, the one with the small lake and pretty ducks. You’ve gone there yourself.
Anytime your guest asks you a question about something you should be able, within reason, to give them an accurate answer.
It may not be the exact answer they were looking for but sometimes it is the effort you gave to try to help your guest that matters. They would welcome an answer, almost any answer, over a blank stare and an I don’t know comment.
Now if you were this customer, would you expect to reward this nice waiter with a big fat tip for his efforts? I would say so!
This story is adapted from my book “Earn More Tips On Your Very Next Shift…Even If You’re a Bad Waiter“, available on Amazon.
We’re coming up on National Waiter and Waitress Day on May 21. Wouldn’t my book be a perfect gift for the waiter or waitress that you know? If so, get your copy today!