Front of house Training Courses

1
10
Joined Aug 30, 2016
Hi All,

We have just taken on a new front of house person at our restaurant in London, she has great enthusiasm, personality & energy, but she could really do with some professional front of house training.

Can anyone suggest an training courses?

Thanks

Martha
 
3
0
Joined Jul 25, 2017
Hello Martha or anyone else??
I have an opportunity to broaden from a culinary driven position to a management position encompassing front of the house problem solving and development as well. I sure am using the internet to get a glossary of understanding however is there a manual or book written that is an authority on this subject in the way that we culinarians have our bibles and texts? Any Escoffier of the front of house I should know about??
 
2,186
658
Joined Oct 31, 2012
If you don't find one, write one. I don't know of one but there should be. The bigger culinary schools teach FOH so there must be a text book of some kind. Many of the better restaurants have continual training but it's on the job so I'm not sure if there is a universal manual they follow.
The best way I know of to improve your FOH without a textbook or manual is to act the part of a customer from start to finish. This means everything from driving up to your restaurant to paying the bill and leaving.
What was your experience like? What annoyed or irritated you? What was pleasant? What was parking the car like? Does the restaurant look open when it actually is open? Why or why not?
Was the entrance easy to find? Did the door open easily? Is there a place to hang a coat?
Did the wait staff look and act professional? Friendly and welcoming or uptight and pretentious? How did they introduce themselves? Were you welcomed? Did anyone say Thank You when you left?
Did the dining area appear clean and well maintained? Is the dining room too dark or too much light? Any stains, torn carpet, dirty lights, mirrors or glass?
Was the dining room too cold or hot? What area of the dining room did you sit in? Would your experience differ greatly in another part of the dining room? Why? Did the chair or table wobble?
Was the table set before you sat down or after? Why or why not? Did the waitstaff have difficulty in providing anything you needed? Are supplies easy to find and conveniently placed?
Did you have a long wait for your food? Too fast?
How is the order taken? Is the process seamless from start to finish?
How are the tables cleared, by who and why and in what order?
Is the dining room staff working together to get the job done? Is the FOH manager actively helping or standing around or not present?
Was the hot food hot and cold food cold?
Menu poorly designed? Too many choices? Easy to read and understand?
Have a staff member do the same thing on a different night. Have them go through the experience and drive away. Then they return immediately for a debriefing while the experience is still fresh.
Review all of this with the entire staff. What problems did the kitchen have? Is there good communication between FOH and BOH?
How are in-place procedures affected by the amount of business? Does the customer experience change positively or negatively when the restaurant is busy? Why or why not?
How long did it take for you to get the bill? Was paying easy or problematic? Cash or credit card?
So in short, this is an objective exercise in self improvement through an extremely detailed critical analysis. Everyone should be aware of that and be open to learning and understanding how to improve the customer's experience. You are not looking to criticize the individual staff members but the process by which a customer experiences your restaurant. Every single movement by the customer and staff should be observed and analyzed, including your own as owner or manager. No ones' observations are to be dismissed lightly.
You should do this as a complete exercise on a regular basis (once a month perhaps) but the sense of observation and improvement should be understood to be ongoing and the staff should be empowered to do so on their own, reviewing their observations with the management.
A place for staff to leave reminders/notes is very helpful in remembering if things need to be fixed or items purchased. "Need more ice tea spoons, Light bulb in entrance needs changing", etc.
Even if you find a textbook or manual, developing an atmosphere of open communication and trust among the staff takes time and effort but will go a long way towards getting and maintaining a full dining room.
 
5,509
947
Joined Oct 10, 2005
Training for f.o.h. .....

Short answer, yes, except that most if them aren't written in english
In continental Europe servers typically have a 2 yr apprenticeship (and subsequent qualfication).

In Canada we are more fortunate then our U.S. counterparts in that we have a gov't recognized qualification for a cook. Because of this, both private and community college culinary programs are designed to meet these qualifcations.

Sadly us Canucks have no qualifications or training programs for the servers.

The reality of this situation (dare I say irony?) Is that servers in N. America fully expect to recieve 15% of the entire dining bill as a gratuity. And they usually get it. Every hotel and restaurant in my area is screaming for cooks, everyone wants to be a server-- including dining room managers.
 
3,239
672
Joined May 5, 2010
As is the case for no universal cooking qualifications set, sadly there are none for FOH.
Serving here in America is usually thought of as a temporary job, meant for musicians, actors, artists, and IT techs in between jobs.
Serving is usually taught by following another server around for a while and then letting the new server out on their own.
Waiting tables is a noble profession if done right, but sadly, good service is hard to find.
 
169
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Joined Mar 3, 2016
The problem with a catch all service text is that not much is universal for FOH.
Fine dining service is completely different from diner mom-and-pops, and both take different skills and mindset.
Usually, service is taught in house by more experienced staff.
 
3,239
672
Joined May 5, 2010
While "fine dining" and diner service may be different animals they are of the same species.
Fine dining is ambiguous at best. A place that serves steak and chops can be called fine dining.....where does that leave the $$$$ restaurants? What would you call them? My point is that there are very few "fine dining" restaurants is America. The rest are categorized as upscale but not fine dining.

But to your point cronker.......the same skill sets are necessary for both. While I don't expect the local diner down the street to use a crumb scraper, or neatly fold my napkin and reset my cover if I should use the restroom, I do expect the same level of service from them. The server should know and understand the menu, be able to serve from the left, pick up from the right, use proper service when approaching the table. These things are universal.

It is sad to see the state of service in America and that it has to depend on the place and not the person.
 
2,186
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Joined Oct 31, 2012
Chefross beat me to it but put it much more succinctly than I was going to.
Regardless of place, I expect a Welcome on arrival, a Thank You when I leave and an alert, attentive staff during my visit.
Genuine hospitality is not always evident in even some fine dining and requires real effort and continual fine tuning from the entire staff, led by management. You don't get a pass because your average check is below a certain price point.
 

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