How to get great service at any restaurant

As most of the country *shifts into the Conditional MCO phase this month, it is likely we will see a big return of eating out and even group dining.

We can sometimes be quick to rate a restaurant for its service and quality of meals (particularly if there was something that left us unhappy)… but we should all strive to also be better customers! And ask anyone who’s ever worked in the service or hospitality industry – people who are ‘good customers’ are more likely to have more positive dining experiences.

While the customer might always be right, here are some practices that will not only improve your dining experiences, but also build relationships with your favourite restaurants.

1. Adhere to CMCO guidelines on dining out

Besides signing in (preferably with your MySejahtera app), sanitising your hands and scanning for normal temperature, do be considerate to others around you by continuing safe practices.
This includes: except for when eating, wearing your mask at all times (including when moving around the restaurant such as getting up from the table to use the restroom); seating yourself at the designated allowed seats to allow social distancing (and not move the seats around to your liking or sit in a blacked out seat), and minimizing contact in any other way possible including contactless payment.

These safe practices will help F&B outlets stay clean of covid19 cases, and thus help them avoid having to shut down for a period of time after an already challenging economic year for the food and hospitality sector.

2. Greet your wait staff courteously, and call them by their name

From the front desk greeters to the wait staff serving your table, a smile goes a long way. And if you’re at a restaurant where the wait staff wears a name tag, or if your waiter/waitress mentions their name at the beginning of service, try to take note of it so you can speak to them personally. Calling out to them by name shows you trust that they will look after your table for the evening, and thanking them while mentioning their name also shows you acknowledge their personal contribution to your pleasant dining experience.

3. Ask for recommendations

With unique fusion cuisines and concept eateries aplenty these days, there are so many one-of-a-kind dining experiences to be discovered. And one thing restauranteurs absolutely love: asking them for recommendations. Not only does that give them a chance to introduce to you their specialties and best dishes, by not keeping it safe and steering away from the usual kinds of dishes you order, you might just get a chance to expand your palate and enjoy new flavours and textures. Best of all, exploring unique dishes makes for engaging conversation with your table as well as your servers.

4. Compliment and tip the staff when they deserve it

Your meal tasted great and was beautifully presented? Mention it to your wait staff so they can communicate it back to the kitchen. Your waiter or waitress was particularly attentive and you enjoyed their recommendations? Let them know.

And whether it’s a little extra on the credit card charge, or some spare change for the box at the counter, tips while not obliged in Malaysia, are always appreciated.

5. Know what you want when you order

It is likely that your wait staff have other customers to serve, as well as other duties such as clearing tables and assisting the kitchen. While it’s normal to get caught up in conversation with your fellow diners, do avoid forcing your waiter/waitress to make multiple trips to your table.

Not everyone is ready to order? Ask the waiter for 5 more minutes, and make sure everyone at your table has selected their meal before you call him back. Want extra side orders, or missing cutlery? Tell your table that you’re about to call the waiter over, and ask if anyone else needs anything. A smooth service for them also means a smooth service for you.

6. Book a table before arriving

While some restaurants may allow walk-in groups of people, reserving a table is always best practice especially for popular eateries that are known to be packed. Booking a table beforehand does the restaurant the favour of being able to cordon off a comfortable space for you, allowing everyone to avoid the discomfort of you and your party standing and waiting outside while they set a table for you, or having to cram your group into a tight corner.

Furthermore, you can also let the restaurant know any preferences you might have at the time of booking; for example if anyone at your table has a food allergy, if there’s a surprise planned for someone you’re dining with, or even requests for a table with a view or specific seating arrangements.

*CMCO going into effect on 10 March 2021 correct at the time of publishing.

Use the GemSpot app to make your next table reservation! Not just that, by checking in to your reservation and leaving a review of your dining experience, you can earn points on your GemSpot loyalty programme. Get to booking today!

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