Train Your Staff to Serve Drinks the Right Way
Whether your restaurant is fast casual or fine dining, large or small, your serving staff is the face of your restaurant.
They are the ones on the front lines, greeting and serving your customers. As such, you want them to be as trained as possible, so they are providing the best in customer service.
The positive interactions your staff has with your customers can mean the difference between loyal diners and those who never return.
In this article, let’s look at how to train your staff to serve drinks the right way and provide a great customer experience.
What to Offer
It’s important to train your staff correctly because beverages play an important role in helping your diners enjoy their experience.
For example, make them wait to long for a drink, and you’ve got unhappy customers.
First, make sure you have a wide enough selection of drinks that complements your menu. Next, decide if you’ll offer only non-alcoholic drinks, beer, wine, liquor, specialty drinks and/or after dinner drinks.
Next, consider what garnishes you’ll use on your cocktails and your non-alcoholic drinks. Do your research so you know the appropriate garnish to use.
Use Appropriate Glass Size
Teach your staff about in glass size. There are specific sizes for specific drinks.
Always serve drinks in the correct glass. This maximizes their flavor and appearance.
Here is a handy reference for the appropriate barware:
- Use the Cocktail glass for drinks between three and six ounces. It’s most often served “up” without ice. Any short drink, classic cocktails, and a variety of martinis use this glass. The style for these glasses is varied. You’ll find traditional stemmed glasses as well as stemless cocktail glasses. Don’t go overboard with this glass and stick to six ounces or less because if you go too large, the cocktail loses it’s freshness half way through.
- The Highball glass is stout and tall and can hold between eight and 16 ounces. Your bar must have this glass because it’s used for tall mixed drinks or highballs that have an overabundance of ice. Your servers will quite often make this drink right in the glass, pouring the ingredients over the ice and stirring. Popular high ball drinks include the Bloody Mary and Zombie.
- The Collins glass is very similar to the highball, although it’s usually taller and narrower. You might use this glass for the Tom Collins, Harvey Wallbanger, Long Island Iced Tea, and the Shirley Temple and Roy Rogers.
- The Old-Fashioned (rocks) glass is a short tumbler. It’s used for short mixed drinks served with ice (on the rocks). These glasses hold six to eight ounces or 10-12 ounces if they’re the double old-fashioned size. The old-fashioned usually serves liquor like whiskey straight or in a neat pour. The double old-fashioned is for mixed drinks or straight pours of liquor with a single ice cube.
- The shot glass comes in many styles, shapes and sizes. They hold straight shots or mixed shooters usually around one and half ounces. These glasses usually have thicker glass bottoms, so they don’t shatter when the drinker slams the glass down.
- The margarita glass also comes in many sizes but always has the distinctive double bowl shape and wide rim for adding salt or sugar.
- The champagne glass is only for serving champagne and comes in several sizes as well. They are usually tall, thin and tapered.
- There are two types of wine glasses. Your servers should be familiar with the white wine glass that’s taller and more open and the red wine glass that’s rounded with a smaller bowl. Only wine and wine cocktails should be served in these. If you’re serving ice, use the white wine glass.
- Beer glasses also come in several different sizes and shapes and can be used interchangeably. Pints usually hold 16 ounces and are best pulled right from the freezer. The Pilsner glass holds 10-14 ounces. It’s unique fluted shape is often used for light beers. The beer mug is nice for patrons, so their hands don’t get cold holding the glass.
When to Take the Drink Order
Your server should take the drink order very quickly after the guests first sit down.
If your restaurant offers water, you’ll want servers to bring water as they greet their guests as no one should be sitting and thirsty.
Servers can then share your drink menu. They should take orders quickly and served them even quicker.
How to Serve Drinks
Generally speaking, when your servers are bringing drinks to the table, have them handle the glasses from the bottom.
Tell servers never to put their hands and fingers near the lip of the glass. Why? Your customer doesn’t want your server’s germs near where they’re putting their lips. As many times as they wash their hands, they’re sure to be carrying bacteria around. (tweet this)
Always handle glassware by the stems, handles, or the bottom of the glass.
When serving the table, follow the general rules of etiquette. Serve the guest of honor, if known, and women first, followed by the men and children. If there are elderly people at the table, serve them at the beginning as well.
Serve your guests from his or her right side, and then proceed around the table in order of seating arrangement.
Tell servers to set the glass down on a coaster or napkin. If the table has a cloth, they set the drinks on it.
You should remove the glasses when they’re empty, so you’re not wasting your diner’s money. When refilling water or wine glasses, refill them without touching the glass.
If your server can’t reach the glass, they should ask the guest to move the glass a bit closer.
When refilling soda, beer, or a cocktail, remove the empty glass, then deliver a new drink.
When it comes to serving wine, you’ll want to train your staff in some finer details.
First, when pouring wine at the table, always use a cloth napkin to wipe the excess drips from the mouth of the bottle.
You also want to let the guest sniff the wine and give their consent before pouring.
Never hold the wine glass by the bowl. Always hold it at the stem. The wine will stay cooler for a longer time if the heat from your hand isn’t pressing against the glass.
It’s important to train your staff to serve drinks the right way because your drinks are often as important to your guests as your food menu.
In addition to learning proper etiquette and correct glass choice, your servers should memorize your drink menu, so they are able to offer options to your customers. (tweet this)
Your overall goal is providing the best customer experience, and well-trained food and drink servers are the most important piece of the puzzle.
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