Next time you sit down for a meal at a restaurant, pay attention to your body language, eye contact and even what you are wearing. More and more servers are being trained to watch for the signs you are sending all in an effort to give you the best service possible.
At a Chili’s in Lewisville, Texas, all of the servers have gone through a training program developed by Mandy Monk and others at the Metroplex based Brinker International, which owns Chili’s. Monk said serving has come a long way.
“It was a script that was read whether it was answering the phone or it was talking to a guest in person, it was, ‘Hi, my name is John, how can I help you, blah, blah, blah,’” said Monk.
Now servers are trained how to read a table starting with how the customer was dressed.
“So, if they are in a suit and they have a briefcase and they look like they are getting ready to have a meeting, then they’ll focus on, ‘OK, is this person going to be here for a while?’” Monk told CW 33 News.
Servers try to determine if a customer wants a quick or a leisurely meal.
“It’s really looking at their body language. Are they reaching for the menu right off the bat and really focused on the time, are they looking at their watch? So they are really going to be looking at a lot of different things,” said Monk.
Charlotte Holloway has been a Chili’s server for two and a half years. She said through body language she was able to tell that while her first table was polite, they mostly wanted to keep to themselves.
“It’s just a lady and her son, possibly, and they were just having a nice lunch together,” said Holloway.
She said the second couple was not in as much of a rush.
“They were more friendly and outgoing and so they actually wanted to talk to me about things,” Holloway told CW 33 News.
Holloway said she changed her serving style to accommodate the feel of both tables. The management at Chili’s has bet that training servers how to read a table instead of reading a script would make the difference in their bottom line.
“Guests have choices, and with the economy today, they really have a whole lot of choices and they’re really thinking about how they are spending their money today,” said Monk.