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Top 6 Tips for Restaurant Hospitality

These are my 6 top tips to start the magic of making each guest feel special and making your restaurant stand out. Great hospitality is an art; it's a dedication to the pursuit of excellence. Of course, it doesn't have to be formal or stuffy, but it recognizes that the guest's experience is the priority. Here are my top six tips for restaurant hosts and hostesses.

1. Your host sets the tone for the restaurant. And because of that, nothing should be left to chance. From the phrases they use, to their gestures, to the tone of their voice, it is important that you set clear and distinct standards and guidelines for how they welcome the guest. Before the dinner is ordered, the first impression is already made.

2. Telephone etiquette must be refined. Telephone reservations are still commonplace, despite the rise of the online reservation system. Make sure your hosts are taught proper telephone manners, and that they speak slowly and calmly.

3. Replace "Can I" with "May I". The words "May I" have a great deal more finesse, and frankly, are grammatically correct. Your hostess is probably able to take the coat from the guest, but they're really asking for permission to do so.

4. Always establish and enforce a dress code. Dress codes create clear expectations and inform your employees about what to wear.

5. Guests should be referred to as "sir", "madam/ma'm", or "miss". This avoids the casual "you guys" epidemic.

6. Pointing is a no-no. In many cultures, pointing is considered vulgar. To indicate direction, a host should use an open hand to guide the guest.

What do you think? Do you have any favourite tips you would like to share?

Jeannie Vaage, Etiquette Consultant, VIP Protocol
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