Making mistakes in the gastronomy and how to react to them correctly

2 minutes of reading

A forgotten drink or check, only lukewarm food or spilled wine – even the most professional members of the service staff make mistakes. What is important now is to keep calm, react quickly and stay friendly.
Everyone makes mistakes. How you react to those small or bigger errors decides whether the guest is left behind displeased or appeased and if he will come back.

A simple word can appease the guest

There are infinite opportunities to make mistakes and errors in the gastronomy. Chefs, waiters and barkeepers are only human and can have bad days, too. In those moments it is important to react adequate to the faux pas. The first and correct answer to a mistake is of course an apology. Kindly beg their pardon and try to make up for it. Keep in mind to say this once and precisely with a clearly articulated sentence, for example “I will bring you a new dessert immediately.” Repeating an apology numerous times without trying to make amends can lead the guest to doubting your honesty.

The expertise of your waiters

A good service member thinks result oriented. If a larger mistake happens, an adequate compensation for the guest is in order. This can be a drink on the house, a discount on the check or a meal voucher for the next visit. In case of spilled drinks on the guest's clothes it is self-evident that you offer to pay for the dry cleaner's. Should the course of action be unclear the next step is to consult your boss. It is therefore important to find the best solution in every situation. That is why a good member of the service staff thinks result oriented. Team spirit, however, plays a decisive role, too. Errors concerning the food should be reported to the head chef immediately, forgotten drinks have to be prepared and served to the guest as quickly as possible by the bartenders. Long discussions and accusations within the team are nonprofessional, mistimed and counterproductive. You can do that later to ensure it never happens again.

Don't try to cover mistakes up

If you realize your mistake before the guest does, try not to cover it up but admit to it. A good service staff member points out instantly that they forgot a special wish, for example, and reassures the guest that the error will be corrected as soon as possible. To be open about it makes you appear friendly, honest and thoughtful towards the guest. Generally the most important thing is not to panic. Stay calm and friendly and the error will soon be forgotten by the guest.
by Axel von Leitner about service staff, service, guests and mistakes
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