10 commandments of Good Service

We asked Nero Gilissen, operations director of Wabi, the Japanese restaurant and cocktail lounge in Horsham, listed in Restaurant Magazine's top 100 in the UK and with two AA rosettes in its first year, to tell us his secrets of service

All of us want good food when we go for a meal but that is only half the story. The other half is the quality of the service we get. We asked Nero Gilissen, operations director of Wabi, the Japanese restaurant and cocktail lounge in Horsham, listed in Restaurant Magazine’s top 100 in the UK and with two AA rosettes in its first year, to tell us his secrets of service

Nero Gilissen is a man on a mission. He has worked at top restaurants in London and South Africa and is now focusing his attention on the service at Wabi in Horsham.He believes that service is just as important as the food in giving the customer the best possible experience.“Nothing is more important than how a restaurant takes care of its customers and the experience it offers. “Training often only focuses on how to smile and speak politely with customers and how to deal with their complaints and these, although important, are only the basics.“Customer care is about the whole customer experience, and applies to all of us in the restaurant, not just the customer who is buying the product or service.”He believes that as the person who interacts with the customer, the waiter is key to the customer’s enjoyment of the meal.Nero has a detailed customer care document which he goes through with his waiting staff, including things like feeding back customer comments directly to the chef, to ensure that everyone in the organisation knows what their diners want and enjoy.He also expects his staff to know what they are serving and to be able to offer advice on the wide range of Japanese cusine on offer, some of which might be a first-time experience for their guests.We asked him to distil this into his 10 commandments of service. Does your favourite restaurant live up to Nero’s guidelines?

10 commandments of service

1. First impressions always lastThis is your chance to shine. Smile and always maintain positive eye contact.

2. Greetings should be warm and genuineAlways greet guests by time of day and gender, or if possible, use the guests’ names if known.

3. Body languageBody language is a powerful communicator, so always send a positive message using facial expressions, hand motions and body posture.

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4. Empower the guestAnticipate the needs of the guest and always offer assistance to fulfil this.

5. Be knowledgeableKnowledge is the root of great service; know your product and services.

6. ServiceShould be provided with elegance, yet in a hospitable manner.

7. Escort your guestsNever point out directions to a guest rather escort to, or as close as possible to, the destination intended.

8. Handling complaintsWhen a complaint is made, listen to the guest and empathise. Clarify the situation and apologise. Communicate all concerns to the appropriate persons who can solve or resolve the situation and always follow up.

9. Be an ambassadorTake pride and care of your personal appearance and always talk politely about the restaurant and guests.

10. Positive farewell Always offer a warm good-bye to your guests, and when possible, use the guests’ names, if known.

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