Adam Hyman recently wrote in a Code Bulletin ‘At an industry drinks party the other night conversation turned to service. In between mouthfuls of British wagyu steak sandwiches and sips of Lanson Champagne, one guest mentioned that good service and hospitality in this country is now so rare. Although I wouldn’t fully agree with this – I do understand what the person meant.
Of course it comes down to training and experience. Restaurants are being opened and managed by younger people these days which means staff are being trained in different ways – the knowledge and wisdom from the more seasoned operators are no longer getting passed down in the same way.’
I often hear colleagues say ‘being a waiter is not what it used to be’. They look back at the days of service training, tests to ensure you knew your menu and skills you had to have mastered before you were allowed to be called a waiter/head waiter. Nowadays with our current staff shortages and pressure on restaurants to perform, you are given a till code after your trial shift and off you go.
Skills in our industry should be valued. I am not advocating going back to the old days. I look back and remember Chef throwing knives at the feet of those who dared walk over the pass into the kitchen. However, I do believe that those moments spent folding napkins, polishing cutlery and lining up tables were not only skills that were required to move up to the next TRONC point but actually fundamental lessons in preparation and organisation. They were almost meditative. And in time when we rush from one thing to the next, squeezing the most out of every second and every service, I think we should give reverence to those quiet moments of preparation and teach the skills of mis-en-place, order of service and the importance of taking the time to be ready.
In turn as restaurant operators, we will build a happier, less stressed and more productive and prepared team.
If you are struggling to retain staff, build a team or maximise your service, please don’t hesitate to contact Ella de Beer Ltd, where we are able to assess your current structure and put in some training programmes to get the best out of your people.