Be Ready For Service!

Mise en place redux

Monthly Archives: June 2011

Turning On The Service Radar

A long-range radar antenna, known as ALTAIR, u...

Image via Wikipedia

An arm is raised from a nearby table, fingers snap and a commanding voice says, “Garçon.”

According to Wikipedia, “Garçonis the French word for boy.

In English, and various other languages, “Garçon” was adopted as the specific meaning of a (male, usually young) waiter, especially of low rank in a larger establishment, that serves food and/or drinks.

In France or anywhere else today, it is considered rude to address a waiter as “Garçon.”

It is instead recommended you call them monsieur or mademoiselle, depending on their gender. In the United States we often hear.”Sir,” or “Mam,” “Waiter,” or “Waiteress” or “Excuse me” being called out when a guest needs something during service.

Such requests for attention and service need to be few and very far apart.

The Service Radar Concept

I have this practical theory that serving staff needs to turn on and heighten their own service radar. I often talk about it in training classes and pre-event meetings.

Basically the serving staff needs to be more aware of what’s going on at an event and look for opportunities to be of service or perform those highly appreciated random acts of kindness.

The idea of service radar evolved from several sources:

Upscale Dining Adventures

I recalled years ago when dining in upscale establishments, the serving staff always seems to anticipate when a guest would need something — How did they did that?

Watching Kung-Fu Movies

Remember the blind old guy always knows where the enemy is hiding and always counter acts their advances. Bruce Lee was also a master at this and so is Jackie Chan. They know the next move and staff ought to also.

Hanging Out At A Japanese Dojo

When living in Japan as an exchange student, I often visited a local dojo (Place of the way) and the sensei (Master or Teacher) actually pulled this awareness concept off.

No matter how quiet the students were during sparing matches the blind folded sensei had an uncanny heightened sense of where they were — all the time. I admired the ease in which he would always know where blows and advances were coming from and subdue his opponents. I wish now I had asked him how he did it.

Inspiration and Leadership For staff

Besides when I have had supervisory responsibilities I used to shake my head when opportunities to take care of guests arose and staff seemed to be un obvious to them untill pointed out.

So I started talking about the need to be aware anticipate, and it grew from there. Some times I talked about staff pretending they were gardeners and growing the guests… some water.. some food, a little plucking, you talk to them. “Employ a gardeners touch and teat them as you would like to be treated.” I would say. I received some strange looks and laughs — however service improved.

Flip Your Service Radar Switch On

Turning on your service radar is an important Zen like activity. Take a deep breath, listen, open your self up and feel what’s going on — absorb — soak it up and it happens. OK so it’s like calling on “The Force” in Star Wars — it does work though!

Then you will know where to go and how to better take care of your guests, whether it’s clearing plates, refilling wine, a cocktail from the bar, directions to the restroom, the list goes on. However by being more aware you will find more opportunities to be of service. The guests win and so does everyone else!

Internal GPS and Service Radar Meet Up!

By chance I had dinner recently with Leonard Szymczak. Leonard is a renowned author, seminar leader and psychotherapists ( Leonard got to talking about his practice of helping people find their internal GPS to make decisions and find their way in life. Wow what a great concept.

I told him about the service radar concept and his eyes lit up. “Exactly” he said.

I asked him what advice works best for helping new students finding they’re Internal GPS – that might be might be useful to staff learning to turn on their own service radar.

He paused a moment and said, “First, is belief that you can. If you don’t believe it can happen, it won’t. And if you do — it will happen faster! Second is focus or concentrate on opening your self up to listening, feeling and absorbing! Third is practice. As you practice, turning on the service radar will become easier and with more clarity, awareness and range.”

Radar on? Check!

Hold on to your aprons!