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Service Etiquette: The Principles of Good Service

Good service is making guests feel attended to, comfortable, and welcome. Whether you are hosting at home, having guests at your establishment, or run a catering business — here are key points to keep in mind. This article was sponsored by Dixon Etiquette. Subscribe for The Glow Up weekly newsletter and never miss a single post!

Personal presence

This is simply a matter of showing up, showing your face, and being available to your guest. Greet them warmly, acknowledging their presence, and let them know you are of service.

Attention 

  • Serve with your full attention. If there are fireworks lighting up behind your guest, there should be no eye contact broken.
  • No interruptions. Do not interrupt your guest. If they interrupt you, be sure to listen and let them speak. Your full attention is on them.

Flexibility

  • Never say ‘no’. Say ‘yes’ or ‘thank you’.
  • Never say yes when an answer might actually be no. Take control of the situation and manage it by saying, ‘Give me a minute and I will look into that.’ Give a time frame for when they will hear back from you.
  • Stay true to you and your brand, but adapt to your customer’s communication style.
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When delivering luxury service, start with a higher level of formality and adapt accordingly if a client displays a preference for informality.

Remember that it is not just about the quality of the food and drink you are serving, but the theatre and ceremony that surrounds it. Give them an experience.

Your demeanour and body language should support a luxury presentation:

  • Wear a smile, be warm, positive, open, and attentive.
  • Pace: service in a way that is efficient but unhurried.
  • Know your product: familiarise yourself with the menu, services, and the way things are done at your institution.
  • Acknowledge your client – use their name (with appropriate title) when speaking to them or introducing them to a colleague.
  • Display confidence and competence. 
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serving etiquette at home which side do you serve and clear from how to serve food correctly serving manner example waiter etiquette serving etiquette left or right serving etiquette 101 table serving etiquette wine serving etiquette proper serving etiquette basic serving etiquette restaurant serving etiquette restaurant etiquette for waiters restaurant etiquette uk service etiquette customer service etiquette service quality and professional etiquette

The hallmarks of excellence

  • Confidence and competence
  • Diligence and attention to detail
  • Preempting and anticipation
  • Discretion
  • The personal touch
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serving etiquette at home which side do you serve and clear from how to serve food correctly serving manner example waiter etiquette serving etiquette left or right serving etiquette 101 table serving etiquette wine serving etiquette proper serving etiquette basic serving etiquette restaurant serving etiquette restaurant etiquette for waiters restaurant etiquette uk service etiquette customer service etiquette service quality and professional etiquette
serving etiquette at home which side do you serve and clear from how to serve food correctly serving manner example waiter etiquette serving etiquette left or right serving etiquette 101 table serving etiquette wine serving etiquette proper serving etiquette basic serving etiquette restaurant serving etiquette restaurant etiquette for waiters restaurant etiquette uk service etiquette customer service etiquette service quality and professional etiquette

Delivery consistent customer service

  • Provide service for as long as anyone wants it.
  • If safety prevents service delivery, manage client expectations accordingly.
  • A pause or delay in service must always be explained.
  • Staff should always be prepared to provide the highest levels of formality.
  • The hard work should never look like hard work.
  • Once the planned service is concluded, the client must know how to obtain additional service.
  • The client must know what is coming next. 
  • Look for ways to provide more service rather than less.
  • Maximum service – minimum intrusion

This post is sponsored by Dixon Etiquette. Join The Finishing School for the ultimate guide to all things etiquette and social graces you can access anywhere and everywhere!

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Gia G. Dixon
Gia G. Dixon

I’m Gia G. Dixon, an ILM certified etiquette consultant. Here is my guide to elegant style, high quality living, and little things that make your daily life glamorous.

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