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Oct. 10, 2017

Wine is a complex beverage produced from grape juice. Wine is essentially a healthy beverage when consumed within reason and an important supplement in food and energy to the body.

Wines are basically classified into 4 categories:

  1. Still Red, White or Rose Wines ( up to 15% Alcohol )
  2. Sparkling Wines ( up to 14% Alcohol )
  3. Fortified wines ( 16% to 21% Alcohol )
  4. Aromatised wines ( 18% to 20% Alcohol )

The main components of still wines are:   

  • 75-90% pure water drawn directly from the earth by the vines
  • 8.5-15% alcohol produced by fermenting the grape-sugar
  • 50 grams of residual sugar depending on the style of the wine
  • 3.0 grams of tannin
  • 1.5 grams of acids/pigmentation

Deciphering the label on (for example) Italian wine bottle will reveal common information like the Name of wine, Alcoholic content, Bottle content, Vintage, Shipper and Local Distributor and most importantly the various groupings, namely:

Vino da tavola – Ordinary table wine in lower price range which varies greatly in quality; not classified

Denominazione di Origine Controllata ( DOC ) – Good quality wine from an approved area of production; specific grape varieties, cultivation and vinification methods

Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita ( DOCG ) – Expensive wine of guaranteed quality; from approved areas; specifies grape variety and proportions; maximum yield; vinification methods; pruning and cultivation; E.G. Barolo, Chianti Classico & Frascati

The objective of wine service is to provide a better quality service, enhance the guest’s enjoyment of the meal and to enlarge price of the meal and increase revenue.

Presents wine lists and suggests the appropriate wine: The staff concerned may follow these procedural steps:

  1. Brings the guest’s attention to wine lists at the back of the menu after food order is taken
  2. Asks by saying “Sir/Madam would you like to order wine to complement your meal” or in any other professional ways
  3. If the guest wants to examine the list at length, quietly excuse yourself
  4. Once the guest is ready, returns to assist with wine selection or to take his order

Assisting with Wine selection:

The job of the staff concerned in this area requires knowledge of wines listed in the menu to assist the guest with the selection of wines. Sometimes the guest would order without consulting the staff, nevertheless it is your job to answer any general questions raised by the guests. Allows the guest to make his/her own selection by using some generalized questions. The staff concerned may follow these procedural steps:

  1. Inquires about his personal preference of wine
  2. Recommends 2 to 3 wines of different prices
  3. Checks for any special occasions or celebrations
  4. Determines choice of wine with the guest’s choice of food ordered

Takes wine order and determines when it is to be served:

Most of the time, guests would want to have their wines immediately regardless of the timing between courses but for certain guests or expensive wines it’s better to ask.The staff concerned may follow these procedural steps:

  1. Asks the guest: May I take your order now sir/madam?
  2. Writes the order accordingly and repeat the order to guest
  3. Asks host for the timing of the wine to be served
  4. Removes the menu and thanks the guest for his order and keys into the computer system

Ideal temperature: Knowing the ideal serving temperature helps to bring out the best flavour of the different wines and enhance the pleasure of drinking.Normally table wines should be served at the following temperature:

  1. Red Wines – 18 degrees Celsius or cool room temperature
  2. White & Rose Wines – 9 Degree Celsius or refrigeration temperature
  3. Sparkling Wines – 5 Degree Celsius

How to open a bottle of Wine: The showmanship in handling and serving wine is an important part of service. Opening wines requires skills and practice and a staff should not be seen struggling with the stopper at the guests’ table as this can cause embarrassment and unpleasantness with the guests.

Red/Rose or White Wine Service:

  1. Set the table with wine glasses next to water goblet with a round tray. Glasses must be well polished
  2. If both red and white wine are ordered, place glasses in a descending line
  3. A Red wine bottle is held with the left hand with cloth napkin tied around the neck, the label facing the guests and right hand carrying the side plate with doily paper. Dust on the wine bottle should not be wiped off as it indicates the age and careful storage of the wine
  4. White wine, rose wine and sparkling wine are carried in a wine cooler with ice and water and a cloth napkin folded in a long rectangle and placed over the top of the cooler and with a side-plate with doily paper
  5. Do not shake the bottle in front of guests view as guests might not like the sediments below to interfere with the drinking pleasure and also gives an unprofessional impression
  6. Present the wine with the label facing up and repeat the label as a form of affirmation. Wait until he replies or nods affirmatively.
  7. Cut the foil cleanly below the neck of the bottle and remove it
  8. Insert the worm of the corkscrew at the center of the cork and straighten it with one turn
  9. Turn the worms of the corkscrew until only one notch of the worm is left outside the stopper
  10. Holding the corkscrew in position with your right hand, lift the corkscrew straight up until the stopper is ¾ out of the bottle. Do not bend the cork
  11. Release the lever and pull the stopper out subtly without any sound
  12. Reverse the turning motion to remove the stopper form the corkscrew
  13. Present the stopper on the side-plate for inspection by the host. Possible signs of problems are corkiness, browning or sourness from inappropriate storing and may require you to change to another bottle
  14. Wipe the mouth of the bottle with the napkin
  15. Pour tasting portion (50ml ) for host to sample
  16. Proceed with serving the other guests and lastly the host. Note pouring is ½ glass for white and ¾ for red
  17. Return bottle to wine cooler for white or place the red wine with the napkin intact around the neck on the table. Remember to top up periodically

Sparkling Wine Service:

  1. Set table with the champagne saucer or flute beside water goblet
  2. A Sparkling wine bottle is carried in a wine cooler with ice and water and a cloth napkin folded in a long rectangle, placed over the top of the cooler and with a side-plate with doily paper
  3. Do not shake the bottle as too much agitation could increase pressure of the inside content
  4. Present the wine with the label facing up and repeat the label as a form of affirmation. Wait until the host replies or nods affirmatively
  5. Tear the foil capsule below the wire ring and remove it. Untwist the wire with the right hand while holding left thumb on the top of the cork
  6. Place a napkin over the cork; tilt at 45 degrees to allow the pressure to escape slowly
  7. Remove the wire ring and extract the stopper slowly without the “pop”
  8. Wipe the mouth of the bottle with the napkin
  9. Pour tasting portion (50ml ) for host to sample
  10. Proceed with serving the other guests and lastly the host
  11. Return bottle to wine cooler. Remember to top up periodically

Wine Storage: Storing wine does not necessarily require a wine cellar for domestic use, there are other appropriate places such as under the stairs or at the back of the pantry which are convenient places for storage. All wines must be rested horizontally to keep corks moist and in a dark storage with an even temperature. Bottles not stored on their sides can make the corks dry and air may enter through and adversely affect the wine.

Basic guidelines to follow are:

  1. Temperature: Cool and constant temperature is appropriate as variations can kill the wine while excessive warmth will age wines prematurely
  2. Humidity: Ideal humidity content is between 70% and 75%. Flooring can be cement or tiles but proper ventilation is important. Too much moisture can damage the labels and capsules
  3. Light: Light is harmful to the proper evolution of wine for it alters its color
  4. Smell: Cellar must be free from smells such as fuel, onions etc that could be imparted to the wine
  5. Organization: Bottles should be laid down in shelves that is practical and will fit all sizes. Space is a factor to consider when storing them accordingly to their types and origin
Sep. 3, 2017

Events Operations: The primary objective of a function is usually to unite people with the secondary objective of serving elaborate and quality food. Therefore a function/event/private party has the distinct feature of exclusive dining organized with privacy as well as food and services being adapted and delivered according to guests’ requirements.

Advantages of functions business include: Controllable Costs / Lower initial investments / Soliciting deposits / Additional revenue besides food and beverage/ Accurate forecasting / Business by contract/ Publicity

It is important for all staff to know the seating capacity of the restaurant and be able to provide instant information upon request through the phone or personally.  Though the easier way is to refer the prospect to the sales & marketing personnel, we run the risk of the sales & marketing personnel not being able to respond immediately for some reasons, thus giving the prospect the chance to consider someone else when we could have converted the prospect by providing basic information.  

Basic information Team Members are required to provide: One of the basic information they need to know is the number of guests. Other basic information they should know is the kind of food and beverages we serve in the restaurant.  They need to be able to provide the basic information and inform the prospect that a much better package involving menu selection, beverage selection, charges and sound systems etc. can be better arranged and negotiated with the Internal Sales and Marketing Personnel. They are not supposed to just give the contact number of the S&M staff only but they should mark down the clients name, contact/office number and preferences, just in case, and pass them to the appropriate person immediately if possible or follow up the next day.     

Understanding the Operations: A step by step approach to understanding the event from the reservation to the thank you letter:

  • Initial Guests Contact: The information to be derived from the initial guest contact is as follows: Day and Date / Meal period / Time of function /  Expected attendance/ Guaranteed attendance/  Budget / Type of Function / Type of Menu / Type of Beverages / Equipment
  • Proposal Letter :The proposal letter is to be sent out to the client immediately after the first sales contact.  The proposal must contain all the relevant information that was discussed with the client including the proposed menu.
  • Negotiations:After the proposal letter has been sent out, there will be more negotiations and updating of information.  All these information must be updated.  Any major changes from the initial proposal, a new proposal letter is being sent out.
  • Confirmation letter:The confirmation letter is sent out to the guests when all details pertaining to the function have been confirmed. The confirmation letter must consist of all information that has been confirmed by the client event though there may not have been any changes.  The guest is to sign the confirmation letter and return it.
  • Function prospectus:The function prospectus is to be drawn out and distributed to all concern departments immediately after the confirmation letter has been signed and return. Included in the function prospectus are: The menu /  Attendance /  Price /  Other relevant information .The function prospectus is then filed in the respective files until the event is over.                                 
  • Checklist for the function: A checklist is than drawn for the function:

1.    Have I calculated the amount of: a. Chinaware? b. Glassware? c. Cutlery? d.    Tablecloth and skirting?

2.    Do I need to requisite the a. Chinaware? b. Glassware? c. Cutlery? d. Chaffing dishes? e. Tablecloth and skirting?

3.    Do I need to requisite a. Beverages and bar items b. Pantry items

4.    Have I drawn up a floor plan?

5.    What do I need to brief the staff?

6.    Buffet table (if any) a.  Where will the buffet table? (if applicable) b. How is the buffet table to be set up? c. Where are the appetizers, main course and desserts placed? d. What equipment for the buffet table needs to be prepared? e. How much of this equipment must be prepared? f. Where will the reception table be set up?

  • Execution of Function:
  1. Roll call - Delegate the following:  a. How many tables to set up and what is the configuration of the tables b. VIP table / c. What time the dining room must be ready / d. Where to set it up/ e. Skirting of the table/ f. How many dishes / g. What chinaware to set / h.  How many chinaware to set / i.  Where to set the chinaware / j. How many serving gears to prepare / k. How many napkin folds to prepare / l. What time the buffet or tapas in case of cocktails must be ready / m.When to prepare the desserts / n. When to prepare the coffee and tea / o. How many glasses to prepare / p. What glasses to prepare / q. Chill the wines / r. Set up the beer machine / s. What and how many beverages to prepare
  2. Final Roll-call: a.Program for the evening / b. What time the dinner will start / c. What is the menu / d. What are the beverages / e. Any special instructions / f. Any special billing instructions / g. Stop courses / h. Table allocation / i. Sequence of service
  • Thank you letter: A thank you letter is then out immediately after the function.  The letter is to thank the guest as well as to solicit for further business.
Aug. 25, 2017

Guests are in general the sole judges of service quality but what do they really want from service? 

Assurance – Guests want to be able to feel confident about the organizations ability to provide them with quality of service.  The skills, knowledge and courtesy of employees and their ability to convey trust and confidence are considered very important.

Empathy – Guests value caring, personalized service that treats them as individuals.

Reliability – Guests consider important the ability to constantly perform the promised service in a dependably and accurate manner.  No one wants to fly on an airline whose pilots are "usually" reliable’ or do business with a company that "usually" delivers the goods on time.

Responsiveness – Guests judge the quality of service they receive by how well organizations staffs are willing to help them in a prompt manner when they require assistance.

Tangibles – In judging quality, Guests consider important the physical appearance of the facilities, furniture, equipment, personnel and communication materials (e.g. menu, brochures, personal grooming etc.)

A consistent level of quality service is provided when all Team Members carry out service related tasks in exactly the same manner, whenever possible. Management needs to state clearly the standards expected to be meet. Ensuring the consistent delivery of products and service to customers as much possible is the main aim of quality-oriented service. 

Aug. 25, 2017

Theater Style: Seats or chairs in rows facing a stage area, head table, or speaker (with no conference table)

  • Used for: This is the most efficient set-up when the attendees will act as an audience. This set-up is not recommended for food events or if note taking is required.
  • Set-up hints: This is a very flexible room set-up. Rows can be circular, semi-circular, straight, or angled toward the focal point. Offset each row so that attendees don’t have to look over the person in front of them (this will increase the space required). If using banquet type chairs, space them 3” to 6” apart as these chairs are normally narrower than most people’s bodies. If you have the space, allow for 24” between rows to allow attendees easy movement in and out of the row.
  • Pros: Good for large groups when reading/writing are not required
  • Cons: Elevation changes needed for large groups. No writing surface. Minimal group interaction

U-Shape Style: A series of conference tables set in the shape of the letter U, with chairs around the outside.

  • Used for: This layout style is often used for Board of Directors meetings, committee meetings, or discussion groups where there is a speaker, audio-visual presentation or other focal point.
  • Set-up hints : A minimum of 2’ of table space is required per attendee. Skirt the inside of the “U” if attendees are being seated only on the outside. Avoid the “U” set-up for groups greater than 25, as the sides of the “U” become too long and may not promote participation from all attendees.
  • Pros: Good work space. Good interaction between participants . Ideal when audio-visual or speakers are involved
  • Cons: Not ideal for larger group

Classroom Style: Rows of conference tables with chairs facing the front of a room (and usually a speaker), providing writing space for each person.

  • Used for: This room set-up is ideal for note taking, meetings requiring multiple handouts or reference materials, or other tools such as laptop computers. This is the most comfortable set-up for long sessions and allows refreshments to be placed within reach of each attendee.
  • Set-up hints: Tables that extend beyond the stage or podium should be angled toward the speaker. Allow for approximately 2’ of space per person at each table. (More space may be required depending on the amount of materials). Minimum space between tables is 3’. Provide 3½’ if space allows, for ease of movement in and out of rows.
  • Pros: Presenter can see all participants.Accommodates large groups in less space
  • Cons: Minimal interaction possible. Participants only see each other’s backs

Boardroom Style: A rectangular or oval table set up with chairs around all sides and ends.

  • Used for: This table layout is often used for Board of Directors meetings, committee meetings, or discussion groups.
  • Set-up hints: Many facilities offer rooms with permanent conference tables in a variety of shapes. If these are not available, standard conference tables can be placed together to form a square, rectangle or hollow square. Remember, the larger the set-up, the harder it is for attendees to see others at the end opposite them.
  • Pros: Good work space. Good working atmosphere. Good interaction between participants
  • Cons: Not ideal for audio-visual presentations . Not ideal for speakers. Not ideal for larger groups
Jul. 19, 2017

Suggestive Selling in Restaurants

Suggestive Selling basic steps:

  • Read the guests – Anticipate guests needs by observing and listening, asking questions when in doubt
  • Make recommendations – Service staffs being experts in the menu, suggestions and recommendations help make service more personalized and establish a sense of trust and rapport with guests.
  • Guide the guests with information – We can only use what we see, hear and know to guide them.  Guide the guest in their orders by making suitable suggestions from what you have heard, seen or know.
  • Offer options – By offering options, we give our guests choices and most of them appreciate the right to make a decision and thus it is providing them with better service.  Offering options may help highlight an item that the guest had previously not noticed that may suit the guests taste.
  • Use appetizing descriptions – Use appropriate descriptions that may enhance the guests ‘mental picture’. E.g. (tender & juicy meat, piping hot soups, refreshing ice lemon tea)
  • Encourage the guests – Reinforce a guests choice by using certain words or phrases when taking orders or when asking for the sale.  E.g. (its our chefs specialty, its very delicious).  However avoid exaggerated comments like it’s the best in the world, I guarantee you will like it.
  • Thank the guests – Often service staffs forget to thank guests for giving them the order. It’s only polite to thank

Eight Suggestive Selling Techniques:

  • When a guest sitting alone orders a glass of wine even before opening the menu and choosing the first course, always be fast in serving it.  Not only can this increase wine sales, it also may mean that you have to visit the table less often.
  • Find the dominant personality at the table; perhaps it’s the host or a regular who has brought friends.  By finding that person you can control the selling dialogue for the entire table.  When that person is ready for another beer or glass of wine, he or she may wish to order for the whole table.  This person may also be the most likely to order appetizers or dessert.
  • “Would you like to try our special cold cuts selection tonight before your main?” If we suggest every time guests order a pasta dish as main we will make an extra sale and guest will have something to complimentary the pasta dish.
  • Can I bring you another another round?” You can suggest this if guests finish their drinks before meal is on the table.
  • When the daily specials are presented at the shift meeting, take a minute to talk about what wine would go well with the special.
  • Try to pick items that contrast one another.  You’re more likely to hit on something that interests the guest. (Would you like to try our seafood platter or a beef tenderloin?)
  • “Are you familiar with our extensive wine list?” This question can help to determine what a guest would prefer and which suggestions to offer.  Asking questions allows you to be in control of the table.
  • “Our seafood platter looks great today, with very fresh seafood!!!

Using descriptive adjectives gives guests a mental picture and makes the item seem more appealing.  Never put a sale above the guests' needs.  Just as important as knowing when to sell is knowing when to stop selling.Servers should never appear pushy and more interested in getting a sale than in meeting customers' needs.

Why Guests Buy

In order to effectively satisfy your guests and maximise sales, it is important to understand why guests buy.

  • Guests buy emotionally and justify with logic.
  • Guests do not buy what they need, they buy what they want.
  • Guests buy because it makes them feel good.
  • Guests are buying the expectation of feeling good and happy.
  • Guests love to buy but hate to be sold.

How to sell

  • Sell emotions and feelings.  Use phrases that are emotional.  Say things like, “You’ll love it!”
  • Always look at sales as an added benefit to the guest.  What items would you sell to your family and friends?  If you apply those same feelings to the guest, it will increase your sales dramatically.
  • Set the stage before selling.  Remember guests buy when they feel good and happy.
  • Remember that your knowledge with regard to food and beverage is considerably greater than most of the guests you will serve.  Sharing your knowledge with the guest not only makes their experience more enjoyable but it also leads to increased sales.
  • Consistency is extremely important.  The employees who give each guest the opportunity to buy always sell the most.  Never assume the guest has finished eating or drinking, but at the same time do not oversell.
  • Providing excellent service and having a good memory are the best ways to increase sales.  The ability to go back to a table and ask a guest if they are ready for another drink, while calling the drink by name, instead of having to ask what the guest is drinking, is not only most impressive, but it also increases sales. 
  • Once you have sold a guest a new product, always check back to see if they are happy with the item.
  • Do your best to make the guest feel good about what they have bought.
  • Be prepared to serve and up sell juice, soft drinks, and bottled water to those guests who either do not want to have an alcoholic beverage or those who have just had too much to drink.