What to Look for in New Wait Staff

Servers, waiters, waitresses, and all related support staff are critical to the success of the food service industry.  A commercial establishment such as restaurants, cafes, bars as well as private catering need to have an excellent team of wait staff in order to meet the needs of its customers. It is critical for them to be well trained, knowledgeable, attentive, accommodating and courteous in order to provide an outstanding level of service that the customers will never forget.

Having a great wait staff can have a huge impact on your business. A warm response to your waiters or waitresses can lead to repeat business and referrals. Thus leaving a positive lasting impression is a key success factor for your business.

However, finding a great wait staff can also be a great challenge to many establishment owners.  If you hire someone that comes off rude, uncaring and not knowledgeable is the primary cause of complaints which leads a negative impact on your business. So it’s critical to avoid hiring staff that will hurt your business and you need to be picky and discerning about choosing the wait staff to hire.

Before jumping into the hiring process, it would be best to determine exactly what type of wait staff traits that you are be looking to hire.  Generally, these are the qualities of a great employee that you should consider:

  •  Presentable and Neat
  •  Can work well under pressure
  •  Punctual
  •  Willing to go the extra mile when needed
  •  Teamwork oriented

Here are a few tips on how you can filter out your applicants and pick the best person for your business:

Do a background check. You can’t miss this step when you are hunting for a perfect wait staff to join your organization. A negative background check likely means they will be a unsuccessful employee.

However, before diving into their private details, you need to be aware of the laws governing this process. Keep in mind that there is a fine line between checking through the details and invasion of privacy.

To know if you are doing the right thing as you verify information about the candidate, check out the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidelines at https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/publications/background_checks_employers.cfm.

Next, before the start of the interview, note if the applicant is presentable and neat. Your potential new hire will represent your business so it is important to have an idea of how they would present themselves to customers. They do not have to come in a formal attire but do they exude a professional look as they arrived for the interview?

Be keen in observing even the smallest details such as trimmed fingernails, clean hands, and skin, etc.  Do they have an appropriate haircut?

You want to hire a wait staff who has positive eye contact and speaks clearly. These gestures are important skills in order to connect effectively with your customers.  In a research published by the Michigan State University (http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/eye_contact_dont_make_these_mistakes), our eyes can show emotion, build connections and indicate interest.

Observe how they respond to your questions and find out if they will fit your company policies. Ask questions about past behaviors to help identify the future performance of the candidate.  Also, they have enumerated some sample questions that you might find applicable to your interview.

Determine if the candidate can go well with your team. Ask the applicant how much they value teamwork and why. Teamwork is not only limited to dealing with their co-workers.  It could also reflect on their performance as well. Teams that work well together can essentially improve their service as it can lighten the task load and meet the needs of their customers.

A great wait staff is important not only because of the tasks they can accomplish. They are also the face of your business and their action reflects the kind of service your business can provide.

In this age of social media, information about a customer’s experience can be shared in just a few clicks. How your wait staff behaves in front of your customers can either make or break your business. So, before you decide on whom to take onboard, make sure that the chosen candidate is the best person who will love your customers as you do.