Should waiters take notes?

How to train your dragon waiter*

*waiter, waitress, waitron, server, steward etc – replace with whichever term you find least offensive

Fancy waiters without notepads

Yes, yes, for many years now, a sign of a classy restaurant is the fact that your possibly college-educated waiter takes your order without the need for a pen and paper.

“Paperless” waiters create an impression that staff members are well-trained and educated. However, the service must be impeccable for your establishment to get this one right. It’s no help if the waiter gets the order wrong or forgets to bring the starter!

If the waiter manages to remember the order correctly (without the need to come back to the table and confirm it) then your patrons will be impressed, but it is something that can easily backfire when things do not go according to plan.

Train ’em up

Waiters need to be very knowledge with respect to your restaurant’s menu. Ideally, the waiter should be able to answer questions as to ingredients in dishes and address diner’s concerns in line with their particular dietary requirement (without needing to excuse themselves to go and ask the chef).

Far more impressive (than a waiter who does not need a notepad) is a waiter who understands dishes that complement each other, and even more so, can suggest wine parings.

Waiters should not only undergo training in respect of their duties and the menu when they first begin at the restaurant, but refresher courses should be mandatory.  Alternatively, you should conduct an internal audit / review process, or make use of a mystery diner service such as Guestwho.

All waiters need kitty notepads and sparkly pens

(Not really). In fact, preferably, not at all! If waiters will be making use of notepads, either provide a standard notepad to staff, or insist upon a particular style of notepad being used. It is most definitely off-putting when a waiter whips out a scraggly and scruffy old notepad and then searches for an open space within which to record your guest’s order! The neater the presentation of the notebook, the better the impression created as to the strict requirements of the restaurant (and its general cleanliness and tidiness).

The standard-issue kitty notepad & sparkly pen

The standard-issue kitty notepad & sparkly pen