Fantasy makeover part 2
Food and atmosphere are two thirds the ingredients of a ‘rated ten’ evening, and a server can make or break the experience. Our server was thoughtful, kind and friendly and related to us genuinely. Our water was filled and she was conscientious and polite. I don’t know about you but I am not enjoying the robot waiter of ‘Hi my name is Josi and I will be your server tonight let me tell you about our specials’ genre these days, and it is nice to have someone actually look at you and smile as you discuss the options. Whether it was the set-up of the kitchen or she was multi tasking beyond her capabilities, we had to go look for our server a few times and although we were OK with it, many would have been annoyed. A server is the master of ceremony and must oversee your experience without you noticing. A table of people desiring an enjoyable evening arrive, and a good server is expecting to provide just that. They pour the water, take a drink order and be available for questions as the menu is perused. They pay attention to each person individually, ask if there are any dietary restrictions that need acknowledgement, and make dining suggestions accordingly. All dishes appear at once and are introduced and arranged on the central revolving table. If the guests desire, the entrees are served out on individual warmed plates, starting with any elders and then the youngest children, with ladies before gentlemen. If the party chooses to help themselves, wish them a wonderful meal and fade into the background. Keep your eye on each table, noticing the wine and water levels and always keep the tea pot full! If you notice a patron looking around, show up by the table in case they are looking for you. There is no need to interrupt a conversation to ask if anyone needs anything if you are paying attention. If a problem comes up, as it does on some nights, explain to your guests what is going on and why their meal is delayed. If I know that there is a backlog in the kitchen, and why that is happening, whether due to an unexpected large party, electrical problem or staffing emergency, and I am brought complimentary appetizers while I am waiting, it becomes part of a good experience rather than an annoyance. I have been in a place during a storm where lights out and stoves shut down meant the chefs, staff and customers had an impromptu party. Amazing salads and entrees were created out of what was available and as it was a Japanese place, a lot of sushi was tried that night! It may have been the only place that stayed open and made any money in that town that night. The flexibility of creativity can turn any ‘bad night’ into a memorable occasion that endears your customers. Yes it takes skill to keep eight to ten tables under your attention, but a good server earns their tips, and the reputation of any establishment. Ming Teh has all the ingredients for a huge international success in any economy, and it would not take much expense or effort at all to transform it into a place people will come a long way to experience, again and again.