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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:
- 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
- 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.
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.
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
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.
Being asked “any reservations?” even before being greeted
Not being acknowledged with eye contact, a smile and a hello immediately upon entering the restaurant
Not opening on time or closing earlier then posted operational hours
Grossly inaccurate estimates of waiting time or lost reservations
Debris, bits of paper & food on the floor not immediately picked-up
Background music that is too loud and intrudes on conversation
Restrooms that are not spotless, clean-smelling and well-stocked
Dirty or disorderly kitchens that the guests can see
At the table
Sitting at the table for more than 1 minute without being acknowledged
Chairs that are dirty, stained or have crumbs
Service not provided to guests in the order of their arrival or seating
Staffs who can’t answer basic questions about the menu items
About the table
Salt & pepper shakers that are greasy to the touch or half empty
Glassware or crockery that is chipped, streaked, stained or dirty
Cutlery with stains, spots or that is tarnished
Tablecloth or napkins with stains, hole, rips or burn marks
Shaky or wobbly tables and chairs
Wet, greasy, stained or dirty tables or countertops
When placing an order
Service staff with an “ I’m doing you a favour” attitude
Having to wait for more than 3 minutes without a drink order taken
Not being offered assistance with the menu in terms of suggestions
Being told a menu item is not available after you ask for the item
Not enough menus or menus that are torn, stained, oily to the touch
Service staff who talk to their order pads
Managers and staff who make you repeat orders because they aren’t listening attentively
When being served food and beverage
Service so impersonal or rushed that they feel that they are being “processed” rather than being served
Not getting value for food, beverage and service
Orders that arrive incomplete
Service staff asking, “who gets what?”
Ordering a dish and getting something that matches its menu description
Getting something that looks stale, dried-out or bruised when its supposed to be fresh
Hot food and drinks not served not and vice versa
Water glasses not being automatically refilled
Having to wait for a piece of chinaware, silverware because you run out of it
Food sitting visibly in the pickup counter without being picked up
Condiment bottles that are coated at the neck
When paying up
Food checks and bill holders that are sloppy, wet, stained or calculated wrongly
Having to wait for more than 3 minutes for a bill to be prepared
Having to wait for more than 5 minutes for change to be returne
Service staff who avoid eye-contact and a smile
Not being sincerely thanked before leaving the restaurant
Being made to feel wrong, stupid or clumsy
Failure to promptly resolve a complaint (in favor of the guests)
Soiled or ill-fitting uniforms
Staff eating at side-stations or drinking in view of guests
Lack of personal hygiene and sanitation practices in view of guests