Hospitality – Good Service Guide

Have you ever read the reviews on your hospitality business, and seen feedback you don’t like?

You’re not alone.

Did you know that guests are more likely to leave a review if they weren’t happy, than if they’ve had a good experience? Good service should be the norm. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth within a number of establishments the world-over.

If you see a pattern in your review feedback that is of a negative nature, don’t ignore it.

With sufficient staff training and monitoring, you can nip any poor service in the bud, before it hits the publics reach online.

Hospitality - Good Service Guide

Here’s some top-tips on how to keep your restaurant or bar in your customers good books:


  • Always acknowledge guests as they arrive when you see them
  • If they’ve seated themselves, that normally means a member of staff hasn’t seen them in time, so simply say ‘hello’ and let them know know that you’ll be with them as soon as possible
  • Give them menus right away if they’d like to eat, and always ask if they know what they’d like to drink before you walk away again
  • Ask them how they are, and how their day has been. A little interest in hospitality goes a long way
  • Smile. It shows that you’re approachable 
  • Make eye contact when speaking to them
  • Cater to any special requirements where possible
  • Ensure you change an order right away if the guest isn’t happy with it, or offer an alternative


  • Delays in the kitchen? Keep the guests updated
  • Once they’ve received their food, return to their table after 5 minutes and ask if everything is ok with their meal
  • Do not hover around their table, but be sure to make occasional eye contact, as they could be trying to get your attention for something else
  • Ask if they’d like more drinks, if you see them running low on their current ones
  • Never return rudeness with rudeness. If they are rude to you, reply with politeness. Apologise, and offer to resolve their issue. If you can’t resolve it yourself, seek advice from your supervisor
  • If there are young, disabled or elderly people at the table, ask them directly what they’d like. Never assume they can’t speak for themselves.
  • Offer them tea or coffee at the end, or ask if there’s anything else they’d like.  Don’t just assume they want their bill
  • Once you’ve given them their bill, walk away. Don’t stand around and wait for them to pay. They may need time to split bills or discuss it further
  • Say thank you and tell them you hope you’ll see them again, and wish them a nice day
  • NEVER assume you’re going to get a tip. Tips aren’t mandatory. You’re paid to do your job, a tip is extra. The customer isn’t responsible for paying your salary, your employer is. A tip is always welcomed, but should never be expected


  • Always acknowledge customers who are waiting
  • Try to remember who was first, although we know it’s not always possible
  • Listen to a customer if they say they were first, and confirm with others who are waiting before serving
  • Try not to argue if they say you’ve made the wrong drink. Change it. Unless you’re 100% sure they’re wrong, but still don’t argue!
  • NEVER assume you’re going to get a tip. Tips aren’t mandatory. You’re paid to do your job, a tip is extra. The customer isn’t responsible for paying your salary, your employer is. A tip is always welcome but should never be expected
  • Try not to become defensive if a customer questions the bill. Talk through it with them in a calm and polite manner
  • Welcome customer feedback, don’t dismiss it. Take it on board so it shows you’re listening
  • Unless you’re allowed to drink behind the bar, don’t. Drunk bar staff often make mistakes. Which could cost you your job


  • Prep is key. Plus, you don’t want to find yourself stressed if a large group arrives without a reservation. The server should inform the restaurants guests if the wait is longer than normal. Don’t panic
  • Don’t take it personally if a customer returns a dish. Remember, the customer is paying for the food, so just change any issues and send it back out
  • Communicate with your team, as this results in a smoother operation all-round
  • Never drop the ball. One lack of judgement or disinterest in your work can cause a ripple effect on the business


  • Take a genuine interest in your team. Offer them any help or support they may need and train them efficiently
  • Don’t dismiss your teams suggestions and views. They may be ‘lower-ranking’, but could very well have much more experience or common sense than you. Harsh but often true.
  • Treat the restaurant as if it were your own, but remember it’s not. You are responsible for the daily running of somebody else’s livelihood. Treat it with respect
  • Acknowledge all customers and be polite
  • Team incentives boost morale


  • If you rely on your business working, then show an interest in the running of it
  • Hire someone professional and experienced to choose your team for your business on your behalf, or choose them yourself if you know what you’re doing
  • Visit your venue, speak with the staff and show you’re a real person who is interested in how their business is being run
  • Offer incentives for staff, it helps with productivity
  • Pay a fair wage and don’t take a percentage of tips from your employees
  • Communicate with your GM. They are ‘on the ground’, and see how the business runs from day-to-day more than you
  • Where possible, hire someone to manage your PR and socials for your hospitality business. Doing this in-house only works when the person knows what they’re doing
We’ve seen many cases over the years of poor customer service in the hospitality industry. The simple fact of the matter is, it’s not acceptable.
As an owner or manager, it’s your responsibility to get to the root of the problem if there is one.
Speak with your staff, and explain to them how you want your service to run.


Let your team know that they can always come to you, or a senior member of staff if they have any issues. Whether it be professional or personal.
They need to know that you’re there to offer advice and support, which will in-turn have a positive impact on service.
If there is a continued problem with certain members of your staff, then you need to take action in accordance to your local laws.
Initial verbal and written warnings are normally the case in many places, but each location varies.
Make sure you take the correct action for your local area/country, so you don’t end up in a sticky legal situation later on.
Remove a member of staff from a potential situation with a customer before it occurs. And apologise to the customer directly. A free drink on the house often helps!
This is basic yet fundamental for any restaurant or bar to run smoothly.
ARC Ibiza – Hospitality – Good Service Guide
ARC Ibiza




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