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Server Tip: Welcoming Your Guests

Restaurant Host

Your interactions with guests are important. The most important interaction, however, may be the very first: greeting your guests. Making guests feel welcome goes a long way towards making their dining experience a good one.

Use a polite and friendly greeting when a guest walks in or pulls into the drive-through. For example, you could say, “Hi, how may I help you?” or, “Thanks for coming in tonight. How many are in your party?” If a guest has had a long wait, it’s a good idea to acknowledge it. You could say something like, “Thanks for being so patient. Lunch hour can get very busy.” Additionally, some restaurants may suggest a preferred greeting for employees to use, which can be a helpful tool.

The words you say are not the only way you communicate with guests; your body language also says a lot. Keep your posture and facial expressions open and welcoming. Stand up straight, look customers in the eye, and wear a friendly smile. Even if you are staffing a drive-through, it’s important to smile; a positive facial expression reflects itself in the tone of your voice.

Last but not least, welcome guests to your workplace by maintaining a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. A well-kept establishment gives customers a positive message right away, so work with your coworkers to keep things tidy. Also, even when working quickly, try not to look rushed or hassled. A calm voice and steady walking pace create a relaxed atmosphere. If you work at the counter of a casual restaurant, be patient when taking customer orders; give your guests time to read the menu, and answer any questions respectfully. If a customer remains unclear as to what they want, you might ask, “Is there anything I can do to help you decide?”

Taking the time to welcome guests builds the reputation of your restaurant and encourages guests to return. When you make a strong enough impression, you may even earn better tips.

Katie Heil

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