The Quality Check

Also known as the 2 bite check, the check-in, meal check, check-back, meal satisfaction and a bunch of other names, in the end, they all mean the same thing. For those of you who don’t know what this is, it’s something a server should definitely do (in my opinion) and should do for every dish that goes out to their guests.

A quality check is when after you deliver a starter, appetizer, main, dessert, side, basically any food item that hits the table, you wait a few minutes (or after 2 bites, hence the name “2 bite check”) then you go check to make sure what everyone is eating is good. You do this for a few reasons:

  • You are ensuring that there is nothing wrong with the meal.
  • If you forgot something like a soup spoon, spoon for spaghetti or a steak knife then you can get one to them quickly without their meal going cold (hopefully you had these pre-set).
  • If there’s something else the guest wants with their meal they can tell you when you ask, you can also up-sell here too.
  • Once you ask (and providing everything is okay) you have now bought yourself some time with this table, because they will be eating and enjoying their meal for a while, this doesn’t mean don’t give them attention if required (check drink levels), but normally while your guests are eating you are not really needed.

If the guest is upset and complains about something then check out Handling a complaint to approach this situation.

An important thing to do is ask how their meals are in a specific way, you could ask “How is everything?” which would get back the generic response of “good” (It’s a common thing that in a group of people if one person has a problem with their meal and you ask this question they will just follow the group and say that it’s “good” even if there is something wrong, also known as the sheep factor or “The Jones Theory”).

An example of asking specifics is saying something like:

“Are your steaks cooked the way you wanted them?”

“How are your salads?”

“Do you like your fish?”

It’s a little different when there is a table of 6 who have all ordered different items from the menu. It would be time-consuming and a little annoying if you were to stand there and ask each guest how each of their meals is. Here you can ask a broader question but one key element to this is that you make eye contact with every single guest you just asked this question to. Even if they don’t say anything, you can get a feeling from someone if something isn’t right by looking them in the eye. It is then that you can ask them specifically if their meal is good.

It’s a small step in the “Steps of service” but the last thing you want to do is let a table wait because they have a problem with their meal. Just take that quick moment to check to see whether they are enjoying their food, then you can focus on other things.

How was your lunch today?