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Table of Contents

Server Training

Server Job Description

Hospitality & Service Standards

General Job Guidelines And Responsibilities

Providing Exceptional Hospitality

Preventing Guest Complaints

Handling Guest Complaints

Greeting the Guest

Steps to Greeting the Guest

Menu Presentation

Menu Knowledge

How to Make Recommendations

Taking the Order

Where to start?

Pivot Point System

Steps to Taking the Food Order

Entering/Communicating Orders

How to Input the Orders

Running Food Guidelines

When Delivering Starters

When Refilling/Reselling Drinks

When Serving Main Course

When Performing a Check-back

When Pre-Bussing

When Offering/Serving Dessert

Presenting the Check Procedures

The Farewell

Quality Control

Things to look for before leaving the kitchen

Food Safety & Sanitation

Alcohol Awareness

Checking Identification

Liquor Laws

Sidework Duties

End of Shift/Checkout Procedures

Tip Reporting Guidelines

In Summary



Server Training

We welcome you to ala. As a Server, you are responsible for creating a positive first impression and making every guest feel welcome and special. You can accomplish this by meeting and exceeding your guest’s expectations.

We take great pride in our quality food and friendly, responsive service. We will provide you with the training you need to be successful. Our high standards can only be maintained through great people like you who share our values and desire to do the very best job possible for our guests every day. 

As a server, it is essential that you maintain an energetic, friendly and caring attitude at all times. It is your responsibility to see that each guest is made to feel special and enjoys our fun atmosphere and great food and beverages.

The guidelines listed on the following pages have been established to help you in your effort to provide these qualities to our guests. Along with the hands-on training you will receive, this manual will provide answers to questions you may have regarding your tasks, responsibilities, and operating procedures for ala.

Once again, welcome to the ala’s Team!

Server Job Description

  Job Summary

Serve guests in a courteous, helpful, and prompt manner. Responsible for coordinating serving station and communicating with the front and back-of-the-house personnel to provide a dining experience that exceeds our guests’ expectations. Process guest orders to ensure that all items are prepared accurately and on a timely basis. Determine when meals have been completed, and total bills and accept payment.

  Job Standards

  • Follow all policies and procedures as outlined by the company.

  • Maintain a positive attendance record by reporting to work for assigned shifts at the scheduled time.

  • Follow all sanitation and safety standards set forth by the company.

  • Meet all uniform, appearance, and grooming standards as specified by the company.

  • Maintain our guest service philosophy by following guest service standards.

  • Know all menu items offered at ala. Accurately explain specials to guests. If asked, accurately answer menu items regarding preparation method, ingredients, portion size, and side items accompanying the dish.

  • Observe table numbering procedures and work assigned section.

  • Conduct a first greet with guests within 30 seconds after they are seated. Take orders if time permits or inform guests that you will return within 3 minutes to assist them.

  • Perform menu presentation procedures by accurately listing and explaining the specials, recommending items, and upselling when appropriate.

  • Take beverage and food orders accurately for all tables. Remember to repeat an order to avoid mistakes.

  • Accurately enter orders into Toast system.

  • Pick up orders and complete plate preparation correctly as specified by company presentation standards.

  • Serve complete meals to all guests at each table in the assigned section. 

  • Perform check-back procedures with tables within 2 minutes of receiving appetizers, main course, and dessert course.

  • Present checks and carry out payment procedures.

  • Follow the alcohol serving procedures regarding beverage service standards, awareness standards, and government regulations. 

  • Perform assigned sidework duties satisfactorily.

  • Follow all end-of-shift checkout procedures, as outlined by the company.

  • Maintain a good team environment by assisting other team members with their station duties and sidework when there is a need and/or when available.

  • Follow tip reporting regulations by keeping track of daily tips.


Job Requirements

  • Must be able to read and communicate in English clearly and effectively.

  • Must be able to lift up to 20 pounds repeatedly throughout shift.

  • Must demonstrate enthusiasm and commitment to guest satisfaction.

  • Must be efficient and accurate with money and figures.

  • Must possess manual ability to manipulate the register system and handle/serve food.Hospitality & Service Standards


Hospitality & Service Standards

At ala, our goal is to make guests feel instantly welcome and cared for from the time they walk through our doors until they leave, wanted to return again. To ensure our guests have a memorable visit, we must deliver exceptional service and memorable hospitality. 


Hospitality = Emotional Aspect of Guest Experience

It’s how you make guests feel


Service = Technical Aspect of Guest Experience

It’s what you do for the guest


Successful sales and service result from confidence, which can only be developed through knowledge. We will provide you with ample training to develop the necessary knowledge and confidence in relation to service techniques, the menu and the wine list. You, as a server for ala, must learn it. 


General Job Guidelines And Responsibilities

  • When taking an order, always look the customer directly in the eyes, and stand erect. Never lean or write on the table. Never crouch down on your knees.

  • Never handle a glass by the rim with your hand over the drinking surface. 

  • Never handle silverware with your hand over the eating surface.

  • When handling plates or food, never let your hand touch the eating surface or the food.

  • Help your guests as much as possible. Be aware of the city's favored bars and dance places, know what movies are showing nearby.

  • Know your schedule.

  • Know what time to be here for each shift.

  • Know what the daily specials are and what they cost.

  • Know the history of the restaurant.

  • Know the managers.

  • Avoid any long conversations at any particular table. This will only upset your other customers. Know how to politely leave a chatty guest if another table or your team needs you.

  • Clear your mind of everything except work when you walk in the door. When you're at the table make sure your mind is at the table too. Guests can tell when their server is not totally mentally present with them at the table, and it has a negative impact on the guests' experience and the server's tip.

  • If you get behind, ask for assistance. You'll never get in trouble for asking.

  • Keep yourself geared up so that you are ready for any rush. We get most of our complaints during a slow period.

  • Don't ever stand around or lean on anything! You can always be cleaning: wiping shelves or the sales station, taking bus tubs to the back, etc. A server never goes into, or leaves, the kitchen empty-handed. Full hands in, full hands out!

  • Always be sure that all your food is secure when you leave the kitchen. Never attempt to carry too much. Two safe trips are better than one catastrophe.

  • Always ENTER the kitchen keeping to the right. Always walk quickly, but never run. This will prevent serious accidents and extra work for everyone.

  • If an order is delayed in the kitchen, first inform the manager, and then tell your customers. The manager will go to the table and explain the situation as well. Get your stories straight. Never hide from your customers.

  • Learn to use your time wisely. When in your station, check all the tables before going back to the kitchen. Don't go to one table then go to the kitchen. Consolidate your trips. Fill up all glasses in your whole station, clear all plates, and then go on to something else. This is the secret to running volume and making more money.

  • Always try to take out complete orders. If the entire order is ready except for a side order, like a vegetable, take out the entrees and have someone follow you in a few seconds with the side order. Don't let the entrees get cold because of a side order. Everything goes out hot.

  • If your entire section clears at one time, don't take orders from four or five new hits at once. Pace your service or ask for help. Take one order, then go to the next table and tell them you will be right back to take THEIR order. Take drinks out to the first table, and then go to the others. Think ahead.

  • You won't believe how patient people will be if they just see you. Don't hide from your customers. Never spend more than two minutes away from your station. No server ever made any money in the kitchen.

  • Anytime you wait on a customer, put yourself in their place and ask yourself if you would be happy with the job you did at that table.

  • If one person asks for something at a table, make sure you ask everyone at the table if they too would like that item. This will save you a lot of extra trips. If one person requests more tea, ask everyone at the table if they need more tea.

  • When serving coffee or hot tea, always turn the coffee cup so the handle is facing the customer. Place the cup on the right side. Ask guests if they would like cream when they place their order for coffee instead of making an extra trip later.

  • Whenever you are reaching across someone or serving in front of someone, excuse yourself.

  • Always keep your fingers and thumb off the plates you serve.

  • We know that servers work for tips. All people do not realize this. If you get slighted on a tip, it may be because people think the tip is included in the bill or because they just don't like to tip. The customer is NOT required to tip. If you get stiffed, it is unfortunate, but you must take the good with the bad. Any customer feedback about an employee regarding a bad tip will not be tolerated and is grounds for immediate dismissal.

  • NEVER SIT DOWN WITH A CUSTOMER or friend while on duty, even if they ask you to.

  • When waiting on parties of one, special attention should be paid to them. They are generally in and out quicker than other parties, and they are usually the best percentage tippers.

  • The most neglected customer in the restaurant is the late customer. People who come in the last few minutes of the evening are usually the best tippers. They don't care how busy it was or how tired you are. They are here to enjoy themselves. Restaurants are noted for hurrying along late-coming customers. We are not rushing them, but we must get their order because the kitchen is closing. They may sit there and enjoy their meal as long as they wish. Treat them as though they are the first customers of the evening.

  • A tip should never be removed from a table while the customer is still there. Unless, however, the customer hands it to you or motions for you to come and get it. 

  • If you must go to the bathroom during the shift, ask someone if they will please watch your station while you are gone, and inform a manager so that they are not looking for you.

  • Unauthorized persons are not allowed in the kitchen. If one appears, politely but firmly escort them out and get the manager, or whomever it was they wanted to speak to.

  • No server is to change his or her station or pick up extra tables without the consent of the manager on duty.

  • Tips are not included: except for parties of 6 or more, and only with the manager's consent (20%).

  • No eating or drinking in front of the house during operating hours. No gum chewing or smoking EVER.

  • Never attempt to adjust the lights or thermostats in the restaurant. If there is a problem, get a manager.

  • Serve food from customer's left. 

  • Serve beverage from customer's right.

  • Clear everything from customer's right.

  • Serve women and children first, then men.

  • Whenever you serve a course, ask if there is anything else you can do for the table. Do not immediately leave after dropping their food. Wait for a few seconds at the table, this will allow your guests to scan their order and tell you if they need anything else, like salt, a sauce, an extra utensil, etc.

  • Whenever serving a course, position the plate so that the "meat" of the course is closest to the customer.

  • Top off with offer of additional beverages whenever anyone is getting low.

  • Bring condiments and setups to the table before they are needed. Make sure to bring fresh plates and utensils before each course.

  • Never walk away from a table without acknowledging its requests.

  • Never assume that the change is your tip!


Providing Exceptional Hospitality

Exceptional! We want all our team members to make each guest’s experience memorable. The level of service provided at ala is what separates the good from the bad, to the following are ways to provide exceptional service as a server.

  When acknowledging and greeting the guest…

You only have one chance to make a first impression.

  • Be polite and give a genuine greeting. 

  • Make each guest feel like you care about him or her. Never use greetings like “NEXT!”

  • If it is a repeat guest, use his or her name, and ask if he or she would like the same table as before. Show the guest that you remember and appreciate his or her return.

  When taking the guest’s order…

  • Allow the guest time to read the menu. Take the drink order. Tell the guest to take their time and that you will check back in a few minutes.

  • Be ready to take the guest’s order when they are ready. Notice if the guest has stopped looking at the menu. Explain any specials and answer any questions.

  • Listen carefully to the guest’s order and repeat the order to make sure you have it right the first time. 

  • If you notice that the guest has a small child, offer to bring out the child’s food first or with the first course.


  Make sure to follow up and…

  • Be available in the dining room for any questions by the guest.

  • Ask the guest how the meal is, or if he or she needs you to bring any additional condiments, etc. 

  • Offer to take empty dishes and glasses away from the table. 

  • Don’t wait for the guest to say there is a problem with the order. Look for possible signs of dissatisfaction and inquire about the meal and experience.


Preventing Guest Complaints

No restaurant is immune to guest complaints, but you can try to limit the severity or amount of complaints by heading off an issue before it arises. To prevent complaints, you need to keep your eyes and ears open and be aware of the guests around you.

  You can prevent complaints by always meeting the standards of service. 

  • Serving quality products – If you notice a product is not prepared to our level of standard, bring it to the attention of the cook or manager, and don’t serve it!

  • Providing fast, accurate, friendly service – Follow our guest service standards at all times.

  • Maintaining a clean restaurant – Perform your sidework duties as assigned. If you notice an area that is not clean, take action immediately by cleaning it yourself, finding someone else that is available to clean it, or informing the manager.

  • You can also head off complaints by noticing signs of dissatisfaction:

  • Irritation when ordering or asking questions

  • Disgusted, bored, or impatient facial expressions

  • Half-eaten food left at the table (if more than usual)

  • Gestures or comments among guests that express dissatisfaction

When you notice any of these signs, ask the guest if there is something you can assist with, or if he or she is happy with the food and service. Determine what is wrong and remedy the situation as quickly as possible.

Talking with your guests informally during service can assist you with preventing problems before they happen. Perform check-backs at the table; ask your guests how they feel about the food quality and service.

Guests who are comfortable talking with employees will be more willing to answer questions honestly, not pre-judge the restaurant, and be understanding when issues do arise.

Following these techniques, every day at the restaurant will limit guest complaints and provide a pleasing environment for our dining guests.

Handling Guest Complaints

It is important to deal with a guest’s complaint quickly. If you do not attend to the guest immediately, he or she will leave feeling dissatisfied. An unhappy guest can damage a restaurant’s reputation significantly. When handling a guest complaint, it is important that you follow the following steps:

  • Listen

  Remain calm and listen to the nature of the complaint.

  • Acknowledge

  Show sincere concern for the guest problem and find out all the details of the actual complaint. 

  • Respond

  Ask questions to make sure you understand the issue and tell the guest about the process that will be taken to resolve the complaint. Make    sure that the guest agrees with this process. 

  • Apologize

  Apologize for any inconvenience.

  • Take action

  Try to resolve the complaint by taking into account the guest’s satisfaction and your own range of abilities (i.e., a replacement item, gift       certificate, etc.)

  • Report

  If you can’t resolve the complaint, refer it on to your managers. 

  • Follow up

  Complete all necessary reporting paperwork.


Here are some common guest complaints and our policies on what you should do to satisfy the guest. A guest complains of…

  • An incorrectly filled order: Replace the order with the correct one immediately.

  • Food being spoiled or inedible: If our quality is not up to standard, offer to replace the item and comp the ordered item. Call the manager and check the remaining food items on the line to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

  • A dirty table or a messy restroom: Apologize, thank the guest for pointing out the problem, and clean it immediately.

  • Extended wait time: Apologize, thank the guest for his or her patience, and offer a free appetizer or drink. 

  • A server spilling a drink or food item on a guest: Apologize and offer to pay the cleaning bill for the clothing item.

  • Poor service or an impolite server: Promise to speak to the individual involved. Inform the manager about the problem or talk privately to the person about the complaint as soon as possible.


Greeting the Guest

The first impression you set with the guest lasts through the entire dining experience, so make sure you make a good one. It is important that your greeting is genuine and welcoming. If a host isn’t at the host station, then the bartender or waitstaff is responsible for greeting guests.

Steps to Greeting the Guest

  Performing a First Greet

  • Greet the guests at the table within 30 seconds of them sitting down. They shouldn’t be left waiting or wondering how to order. Usually a host provides menus for guests at the time of sitting them. If a guest is missing a menu, make sure to bring them one ASAP. Introduce yourself and tell the guests about our restaurant.

  • Smile, make eye contact, and say, “Hello! Welcome to ala! Thank you for dining with us today! My name is …, and I will be taking care of you today! Have you ever been here before?” (If not, perform a brief menu presentation.) Explain to your guest what Levantine cuisine is, what Mezze is. Let them know how many Mezzes are suggested and explain ala’s concept. Don’t forget to ask your guests if they have any food allergies and intolerances (follow ala’s procedure on how to treat a guest with allergies).

  • Do not greet a table with a pitcher of water. Offer them bottled still or sparkling water. Do not use blue water glasses for bottled water, use wine glasses. Offer lemon for still water and lime for sparkling water.

  • Make a personal recommendation (special drink, bottle of wine). Get an idea of what a guest prefers to drink and make a few recommendations describing in detail. Know which cocktails are sweeter than the others, which wines are dry and which ones are sweet, which beer is more hazy and which one is the lightest, etc. 

  • Take beverage orders and repeat back.


  Delivering Beverages

  • Serve beverages within 3 minutes.

  • Handle cups or glasses by the handles or sides and never by the rims.

  • Serve ladies and children first.

  • Name each drink as you serve it. 

  • Place beverages to the right of the guest (2:00 position).

  • Always serve coffee with cream (unless guest indicates black coffee).  

  • Serve all soft drinks with a straw placed on the table.

  • Beverages are to be served appropriately hot or cold.


  When Serving Bottled Beverages

  • Open the bottle before arriving at the table.

  • Place the chilled bottle, with the label facing the guest, on the side of the glass.  

  • Pour bottled water and wine.

  • Ask the guest if he or she would like you to pour bottled beer.


  Steps to Serving Wine

  • Always open the bottle at the table.

  • When carrying out wine, a maximum of three glasses may be taken out without using a tray.

  • Set the glasses down in their appropriate places in front of the guests.

  • Present the wine by showing guest (host) the label. Always address the guest (host) who ordered the wine.

  • When the bottle has been accepted, neatly remove the foil, preferably around the lower lip of the bottle’s neck.

  • Remove the cork without setting the bottle on the table, if possible. When removing the cork from the corkscrew, setting the bottle on the table is acceptable. Place the cork in front of the host.

  • Pour a small taste for the host. While the host tastes the wine, hold the bottle with the label facing the other guests. If you are uncertain who will taste, please ask.

  • If the host accepts the wine, begin serving the wine. You should serve ladies first, then the gentlemen, and finally the host. Fill the glasses one-half full.

  • Place the bottle, with label facing the other guests, in front of the host.

  • Guests should never have to pour their own wine.


   Champagne Presentation

  • Approach the table with the bottle, a glass for each guest, a napkin, and a wine chiller.

  • Place the wine chiller on the table and a glass to the left of each guest’s water glass.

  • Present the bottle to the host. When accepted, remove the foil and loosen the wire guard around the cork.

  • Using the napkin to cover the cork and prevent its flight, begin easing the cork out by holding the bottle at a 45° angle and twisting the bottle at the base. Dispose of the foil and the wire cap. Do not leave them on the table.

  • Pour a small amount into the host’s glass to taste. When accepted, pour ladies first, then gentlemen, and then the host.

  • Insert the bottle into the wine chiller and drape the napkin neatly over the neck of the bottle.

  • The napkin is to be used to wipe the moisture from the bottle before re-filling a guest’s glass.

  Note: Guests should never have to pour their own champagne.




Menu Presentation

Menu Presentation refers to the tableside presentation of the menu to the guests. This is also the best time for suggestive selling. A complete knowledge of the menu is necessary for this presentation process to be successful. 

Menu Knowledge

Know the menu. Before you are ready to take the first order, you must know the menu inside and out. This includes knowledge of the ingredients and flavors, as well as vegetarian and non-vegetarian offerings, and cooking procedures.

  1. Daily Specials. Each shift you need to become familiar with the day’s specials and any items that may not be available from the core menu. When an uncommon term is used to describe any product, make sure you are able to pronounce the name correctly and understand what it means. 

  2. How it tastes. The server should not only know how a product is prepared and served, but he or she should also know how it tastes. When you are asked if something is good, your reply will be much more effective if you can say truthfully, “Yes, I enjoyed it very much” or “I think it is delicious.”

  3. If you don’t know – find out! If a guest asks a question that you cannot answer, cheerfully tell the guest that you are uncertain but will gladly find out the answer. Then ask a manager and quickly return this information to the guest. Remember, you will not know everything, but the guest will be impressed with your professionalism, concern, and quick response.


  The Delivery

To deliver the complete package, you must be able to provide this knowledge to the guests. “Delivery” is how each employee communicates this knowledge, whether it is a host explaining our specials to a caller on the phone, or a server explaining the advantage of our cooking methods. 


  The Presentation Process – Suggest, Detail, Close 

  • Suggest - Begin the presentation by recommending an item from the menu, such as your favorite appetizer, main course, or wine selection.

For example, “May I suggest you begin with one of our menu favorites, the fried halloumi?”

  • Detail - Next, describe the item in detail—their ingredients, cooking procedures, sources of products, etc. In describing our products, you are delivering knowledge and educating your guests. 

For example, “The fried haloumi is one of our most popular hot mezze. It is a white cheese made of sheep's milk, and it is originated from Cyprus. It has a surprising squeaky texture. Halloumi is a great meat substitute without being heavy.”

  • Close - Finally, to close your presentation of an item, provide an endorsing statement. 

For example, “Our fried halloumi is a great choice on a cool day like today.”


  **Special Requests**

Following our philosophy that pleasing our guests is a number one priority, try to honor guest requests. If we have the products and skills necessary to fulfill the request, we will do it! If you are uncertain about a request, check with the manager.


How to Make Recommendations

Suggestive selling refers to when a guest needs help deciding what to order or has a question on an item. When making a recommendation, the guest should feel that he or she is being helped, not forced into making a selection. A well-informed server can be not only an order-taker; but also, a successful salesperson.


  Recommending Selections to the Guest

  • Helpful suggestions. When a guest is unfamiliar with the restaurant or is hesitant, the server has a real opportunity to be helpful by offering suitable recommendations! You know what’s popular! 

For example: A salad may be suggested when a guest desires “something light.” You may offer that “our Fattouch salad is our guests' favorite, it’s crisp and refreshing” to an uncertain diner who is having difficulty making a selection.

  • No pressure. When the guest does not accept a server’s suggestion, the server should in no way show annoyance or disappointment. Don’t take it personally!


  Making Substitutions

Can I make that substitution? Should the guest ask for a “substitution” on the regular menu, a “half-portion,” or a “special service,” the server should be sure that such service is permitted before making such a promise. If there is any doubt about the matter, it should be referred to the manager.


  Recommending Additional Items

The first reason to suggest additional items that increase the size of the order is to assist the guest in ordering to ensure a wonderful dining experience. It’s helping them make choices that will improve the experience. Secondly, it is to increase sales.

Examples for recommending additional items:

  • Suggest a beverage with an order for an appetizer or dessert. "Our Mirra Martini is a great cocktail to start or finish off a meal!"

  • Suggest a Labne or Baba Ghanoush with pita while they are deciding what to order or waiting for their drinks.

  • Suggest a soup, a cocktail, or some other appetizer with an order that must be cooked to order.


  Timing of Suggestions

Menu suggestions should be made at appropriate times. For example: 

  • Make suggestions for the meal selection when the guest is undecided about his or her initial choice or gives an order for an incomplete course or meal.

  • Suggest a dessert just before the guest finishes the main course.


Success in suggestive selling depends to a large degree upon the interest the food server exhibits when making the suggestion to the guest, and the sincere enthusiasm he or she expresses for the quality of the suggested product. Making personal recommendations is another aspect of good service. Eventually, it will come easily as you build your self-confidence.


Taking the Order

After presenting the menu and providing guests the necessary time to select their items, it is time to take their order.

Where to start?

Knowing where to begin taking the order at the table can set you up for a smooth delivery service at the table.

As a server it is important to understand the layout of the restaurant, table sequencing, and a pivot point system (seat numbers). 

Pivot Point System

The Pivot Point System is a system for numbering the guests at a table so that you always serve the proper person the proper food, even if you aren’t waiting on the table. It’s a system designed to be consistent throughout the restaurant and known by everyone who runs food.


  Pivot Points

On the natural service approach to any table, the guest seated to your immediate left is the pivot point in Position #1. The guest positions are numbered clockwise from that pivot point guest seated in Position #1.

The thing to remember in this numbering system is that we are numbering guests and not seats. It is common to have a chair with no one sitting there. Therefore, the first person next to or across from (clockwise) Position #1 would be Position #2, then #3, etc. 

It doesn’t matter whether you are serving a table, a booth, or a banquette, all guests are numbered in the same sequence, and remembering the rules makes it quite easy to remember what the position numbers are. Pivot point #1 will be the guest to the immediate left of the server.  Other positions proceed clockwise.

When tables are pulled together and are moved from their original positions, determine your natural service approach position, then the guest seated to your immediate left is seated in Position #1 and so on.

This pivot point numbering system allows every service person to know exactly where the food goes upon delivery without having to ask.


Steps to Taking the Food Order

  1. Ask if you can answer any questions the guests may have about the menu. (Never say, “Are you ready to order?”) Start with ladies and children.

  2. Make sure to ask your guests if they have any allergies and communicate it to the chef BEFORE ringing an item.

  3. Write down the order with the table number.  

  4. Suggest accompaniments and side orders. 

  5. Repeat the order back to the guests (important to prevent mistakes!). 

  6. Ask guests with children if they would like the kid’s meals served first.

  7. Clarify the order in which guests prefer their food to be served so that it is delivered in the proper order. For example, cold and hot mezze together or separate, a salad after appetizers, etc. Never assume!


Writing the Order

  1. Write down the order clearly.

  2. Include special instructions (cook temperature/sauces, etc.).

  3. Use correct abbreviations.

  4. Include the table number and pivot points (seat numbers).



Entering/Communicating Orders

A consistent system for communicating orders from the service staff to the kitchen staff is critical. We use Toast system with displays and printers in the kitchen, as a server you must learn the system and procedures.

How to Input the Orders

  1. Input the orders immediately after taking the order, unless hot food needs to be run. Running food is a priority over entering orders into the Toast.

  2. Ring in appetizers and starter soups and salads first and send to the kitchen as a separate ticket.

  3. Ring in the main courses separately from starters, unless a guest requested to serve their entire order all at once.

  4. Review the order carefully before sending to make sure everything is correct.

Running Food Guidelines

  • Run hot food first; hot food has priority over drinks.

  • Run food when entire ticket is up. Do not serve incomplete orders!

  • No auctioning off plates at the expo counter.

  • Deliver food according to pivot point positions (seat numbers).

  • Ask if the guests need anything else (silverware, napkins, etc.).

  • Run to-go items to designated areas.

  • Be sure to carry all food on a tray.

  • Carry the tray away from your clothing or body.

  • Keep to the right when walking (as you would in driving a car).

  • Say “behind you,” “on your back,” “hot food,” or “corner” so other employees know you are near.

  • Place and remove all food and beverages from the right side of the guest. 

  • The diner is approached from the left for three purposes and three purposes only

    • To present platters of food from which the server will serve, or the diner will help himself.

    • To place side dishes such as vegetables or pita bread.

    • To clear the side dishes that were placed from the left.

When Delivering Starters

  • Starters are to be delivered within 6–8 minutes of taking the order.

  • Perform a check-back within 2 minutes on all starters and confirm that the next course is on the way. 

When Refilling/Reselling Drinks

  • Offer to re-sell or re-fill a guest’s beverage when a glass is one-third full.

  • Always ask the guest first if he or she would like a refill.

  • Remove the glass or cup from the table and fill to one-half inch from the rim. Do not pour over the table. Carry one beverage pitcher or coffee pot at a time.  

  • When serving a second beverage, offer to remove the guest’s empty glass. 

  • Bring a fresh straw with every refill/resell and offer it to the guest. 


When Serving Main Course

  • Main courses are to be delivered within 10–12 minutes of serving the starters or taking the order.

  • Remember to serve hot food hot and cold food cold.

  • Check that the food is exactly as ordered before serving it to the guest.

  • Food must be appetizing and fresh in appearance and presentation.

  • Name each item with related "special instructions" as it is served. For example: “Tawook Shish Kebab with no pine nuts, as you requested” or “The Golden Cauliflower with pesto on the side”.

  • Ask the guests if they need anything else. Bring requested items right away or ask another team member to retrieve them. Do not make them wait for a clean fork or salt, or the harissa sauce to enjoy their food!

  • Wish the guests an enjoyable meal.


When Performing a Check-back

  • Check on guests within 2 minutes of dropping off food and/or drinks. This gives them a chance to look over their meal, make sure it has been prepared correctly and figure out if they need something like sauce or pita. Same with their drinks, let them have a few sips of it and insure that they like it.

  • Ask specific questions about the meal. For instance, "Are you enjoying your appetizers?" or “How is your steak? Is it delicious?” Do not ask generically “How is everything?”

  • Never ask a guest if everything is “okay.” The word “okay” implies mediocrity, and we want to ensure that our guests’ meals are great! If a guest says that their meal is “okay”, to you as a server it should indicate that something is wrong with it. Ask how you can make it better!

  • Check for refills, pre-bussing, or anything else the guests may need to enjoy the meal. Use the trip to engage in some personal dialogue when appropriate.

  • Keep drinks full! According to a study by Cornell, 40% of the restaurant experience comes down to three main factors: how quickly guests are greeted, whether their drinks were kept full, and how quickly they receive the check once they are finished eating. The appropriate time to ask a guest if they'd like another drink is when their glass is one third full.

  • Servers must not only ask about satisfaction, but also must be able to detect any dissatisfaction and notice indifference. Our servers are to be trained in how to handle guest complaints. 


When Pre-Bussing

  • Remember that support staff is there for you to assist you when needed, not to do a job instead of you. Pre-bussing a table is the server's responsibility.

  • Pre-bus everything except what the guest is still using. Tables should include only the glass and napkin of each guest upon departure.

  • Plates, glassware, and trash must be cleared in a timely manner.

  • Ask before you act and use polite questions. For example, “Excuse me, may I take that for you?” 

  • Never say, “Are you done with that?” or “Are you still working on that?” It sounds unprofessional.

  • Never interrupt guests. Wait for a break in conversation to ask if you may clear.

  • Never stack items on the side of the table. Use a tray. 

  • Do not attempt to take more than you can comfortably carry.

  • Once cleared, scrape clean and sort all plates, glasses, and utensils into their designated areas in the dish station.

  • Support team members! Providing good service in a restaurant requires teamwork. Be prepared to pick up dirty plates and napkins, keep drinks full, help garnish drinks and lend a hand whenever possible. 

  • A clean table improves the dining experience and sends a subtle signal to customers that it is time to leave.


When Offering/Serving Dessert

  • Suggest a specific dessert while pre-bussing the table.  

  • Do not serve any dessert while a guest is still enjoying their food. All plates have to be taken away before serving a dessert.

  • Bring a dessert setup before serving a dessert. If you are a little backed up, it is permissive to bring the dessert setup along with the dessert itself.

  • Always suggest coffee, hot tea, or milk with dessert orders.

  • If no dessert is ordered, ask guests if they are ready for the check.  

  • Desserts are to be served within 4 minutes of ordering. 

  • After serving the dessert, perform a check-back and drop the new check.

Presenting the Check Procedures

  • As a general rule of thumb, servers should bring the check within one minute of the guest requesting it.

  • If the check hasn't been requested, always ask: "Is there anything else I could get for you?" before presenting the check.

  • Make sure all items are rung up properly.

  • Deliver the check in the check presenter.

  • Check for beverage refills and/or dirty plates.


  Collect Payment

  • Collect payment when appropriate. Use can either use one of the Toast handhelds or process a payment at the terminal station.

  • Return credit card immediately.

  • Thank the guests for dining with us.

  • Be sure to give full service to the guests until they leave.

  • Walk your guests to the front door, if possible.


  Separate Checks

It is our policy to provide service to our guests in every sense of the word. However, we do not separate checks or accept more than 5 credit cards at a time. It is a general practice, however, if you are willing to separate/itemize your guest's check, you may do so. If you need assistance in carrying out this service for a guest, please ask a manager or trainer on duty for help.



Occasionally, you will make an error during the pre-checking of an order, or a guest may change his or her mind about a particular item that you have already entered in the register system. When this happens, and the item has not yet been served, it will be necessary for you to have the error or item voided from the guest check. Specific procedures will be discussed during your training.



Comps are generally used for two reasons; one, to provide something complimentary to a regular or special guest, or two, to compensate for a problem with our food or service. In either instance, only a manager can perform the comp. Should you notice something that does not meet our high standards of quality, or if you have a guest that is unhappy with some aspect of the restaurant or the meal, please notify a manager immediately.


The Farewell

When your guests are departing, we have four distinct objectives:

  • To make sure their experience in our restaurant was pleasurable.

  • Thank them, by name, for their patronage.

  • To invite them back for another visit soon.

  • To make sure their last impression is a positive one.

Instead of just letting the customer walk out or giving them a quick goodbye, try to be at the table as they are leaving and give them a friendly send-off that makes them feel valued and well cared for.


Quality Control

Quality control is a primary responsibility of every employee serving food and drinks to the guest. You are the last person to come in contact with the food before the customer does. If something does not look right or is not presentable, DO NOT SERVE IT! Make sure all of your products look good on the plates.


Things to look for before leaving the kitchen:

  • HOT food. Check to see of your food is hot. Just because something is in the window, does not mean that it is hot. If it is not hot, DO NOT TAKE IT OUT. Tell the manager. 

  • Clean plates. Always check any plates, mugs, silverware, and napkins before you present them to the customer. Check food basket for grease spots, spilled food, etc.

  • Correct portions. Always check to see that the product is in the right portions. Make sure you are taking YOUR order. This can be very embarrassing at the table. Always ask yourself if you would eat that item if it were brought to you.

  • Call for back-ups. If something in the kitchen looks low and you are about to run out, TELL SOMEONE. If you take one of the last bowls of soup, call for back-ups. If the salad is warm or wilted, say something before the guest is served.

  • When bringing out drinks, be certain the glass is clean, filled to the proper level, and that the garnish is correct, fresh, and attractive.

  • Cold food is as equally important as hot food. Make sure cold foods are going out cold, not warm or cool, but cold.

Remember, the appearance of the exterior of the building, the greeting of the host, the cleanliness of the restrooms, the appearance of the staff, the quenching taste of our beverages, the flavor and freshness of our food, are all equal quality points. WE must control the experience of our guests.


Food Safety & Sanitation

The responsibility of management and staff  is to protect the public from food-borne illness is fundamental. A food-borne illness is simply a disease that is carried or transmitted to human beings by food. It is our objective to operate the restaurant at the highest level of cleanliness and sanitation for the benefit of our customers and employees.

Whenever you see a potential hazard, or something you notice as unsafe, notify a manager immediately. Here is a list of guidelines to follow for safety and sanitation:

  Major causes of foodborne illness:

  • Food left in the danger zone of 40° to 140° for four or more hours.  Keep all foods out of the danger zone of 40° to 140°.

  • Keep hot foods hot, and cold foods cold.

  • Handle foods quickly during delivery, and put refrigerated and frozen foods away as soon as possible.

  • Sloppy personal hygiene habits will not be tolerated.

  • Do not prepare food a day or more before serving.

  • Do not serve food that is not completely cooked.

  • Thaw foods in refrigerator, microwave, or under cold running water for not more than 2 hours, followed immediately by cooking.

  • Avoid preparing food in advance, unless absolutely necessary.

  • Inspect foods thoroughly for freshness and wholesomeness upon receipt, cooking, and serving.

  • Only use sanitized equipment and table surfaces.

  • Handle ice and tableware properly.

  • Use clean scoops or tongs to pick up ice, do not use hands or glass.

  • Store scoops or tongs in a clean container, not in the ice.

  • Do not store any food or beverage in the ice.

  • Store foods and equipment properly.

  • Cover, label, and date foods in storage.

  • Do not store food in open cans.

  • Store new foods behind old ones.

  • Store food off the floor and away from the wall.

  • Check temperatures of refrigerators and freezers daily.

  • Defrost freezers as necessary. Frost build-up causes freezers to warm up.

  • Dry goods and storage areas should be cool and dry for good storage.

  • Do not store food or equipment under exposed server lines.

  • Keep storage areas clean.

  • Store all equipment so that dust cannot settle on it.

  • Store chemicals and pesticides separately from food.


Alcohol Awareness

Alcohol awareness is a growing concern within the hospitality industry nationwide. By recognizing the “early” signs of intoxication, monitoring your guests’ consumption, and treating your guests as you would treat them in your own home, you fulfill your responsibility and protect all guests.

Alcohol is a mood-altering drug. It may appear to be a stimulant, but it is actually a depressant, limiting bodily functions. Only the passage of time rids the body of the effects of alcohol. 

Responsible servers and  bartenders are aware of the progressive effects of alcohol and alert to the signs of over-indulgence. Although any one particular behavior may not indicate intoxication, a combination of several behaviors is a definite warning sign.

  Intoxication vs. Impairment

Impairment and intoxication are not the same thing. Impairment starts at the first drink. Intoxication is the point where a person’s intake of alcohol affects his or her ability to perform appropriately.


Checking Identification

Serving alcohol to a minor can have very serious consequences. In fact, it is advisable to check the ID of any patron who appears to be under the age of 30, unless you are certain of a guest’s age. In some cases, you could even be held accountable for serving someone with a fake ID, so be careful.

  • Look for state seals or holograms.

  • Look for any alterations, such as a cut around the year of birth or typesets that don’t match.

  • Make sure the ID is not someone else’s.

  • Carefully examine the picture/description to make sure it matches the person using it.

  • Look for groups that “pool” cash to an older person in the party.

In most states, an acceptable ID is:

  • A valid state driver’s license or a valid state identification for non-drivers.

  • A valid passport.

  • A valid United States Uniformed Service Identification Card (your employer should provide you with an example).

  • All IDs should have a picture, signature, birth date, and description. Expired IDs are not acceptable.

  Signs of Intoxication

  • Before serving a guest, determine his or her condition. If you think a guest is already intoxicated, offer snacks and get a menu quickly. 

  • Keep track of the number of drinks served. The service order is a ready reference of how many drinks each person consumes. 

  • Watch for changes in a guest’s behavior. Don’t hesitate to decline further service if you think the guest is becoming intoxicated. If you have any doubts about a guest’s condition, refuse service.

  Intoxication Indicators

  • Ordering more than one drink at a time

  • Buying drinks for others

  • Concentration problems, such as losing train of thought (especially when ordering)

  • Drinking very fast

  • Careless with money on the bar or can’t pick up change

  • Complaining about drink strength, preparation, or prices

  • Overly friendly with guests or employees

  • Loud behavior (talking or laughing and annoying other patrons or making too many comments about others in the establishment)

  • Remaining very quiet, detached from others, continually drinking

  • Mood swings (happy to sad or vice versa)

  • Use of foul language


  How to Handle Intoxicated Guests

If you notice someone who appears to be intoxicated:

  • Do not offer alcohol. 

  • Refill water, non-alcoholic beverages, and bread. 

  • Offer food.

  • Alert your supervisor immediately. He or she may arrange for a safe ride home for the guest or refuse service.


Liquor Laws

Always remember that we are responsible for taking care of those guests to whom we serve alcoholic beverages. 

It is against the law to:

  • Serve alcoholic beverages to an intoxicated person.

  • Serve alcoholic beverages to an underage person. If you are in doubt, it is your responsibility, as a server of alcoholic beverages, to ask the individual for proper identification.

  • Permit any intoxicated person to remain on the premises. Do not try to handle this type of situation yourself. GET A MANAGER.

  • Allow anyone to bring alcohol in any form into the restaurant.

  • Have an employee under the legal drinking age handle, dispense, or serve liquor.

  • Pour from one bottle to another.

  • Serve liquor from any bottle not purchased by the restaurant.

  • Allow anyone under the legal drinking age to sit at the bar. Underage patrons are allowed to sit in the bar area, but not at the bar.


Sidework Duties

Duties performed by Servers outside of serving guests at the table are called sidework. These duties although may come second to serving the guest are just as important. They help to maintain the restaurant and make it a safe and pleasant place for guests to come and dine. Sidework is normally done at opening, during slow periods, and at the end of your shift. The following are typical sidework duties for the Server Station.


  Opening Duties

  • Clean tabletops, chairs, and booths

  • Check that plates and settings are set and clean

  • Wipe underneath tables (check for gum)

  • Clean table bases

  • Sweep floor and/or vacuum if necessary.

  • Make sure coffee machines, iced tea containers, and coffee server containers are clean

  • Restock drink glasses, coffee mugs, straws, napkins, plates, silverware, to-go containers, to-go bags in your section

  During Shift

  • Wipe off highchairs and booster seats

  • Wipe down baseboards and walls

  • Take dishes to washing area from side station and bar

  • Wash and polish glasses

  • Polish silverware

  • Clean countertops

  • Wipe down service station cabinets, inside and out

  • Check lights and corners for cobwebs

  • Clean all pictures and mirrors

  • Wipe menus

  • Wipe down flowerpots and wall decor

  Closing Duties

  • Sweep floors

  • Clean tables, booths, and chairs

  • Set up tables for the next day

  • Polish silverware and glasses

  • Close and clean the coffee shop

Note: See the restaurant-specific sidework sheet for your station.

End of Shift/Checkout Procedures

Before beginning your checkout each shift, check the following:

  • Make sure that all your guests are finished with their meals, have been tabbed, and do not need anything else. 

  • Be certain that the manager has closed your section for the shift.

  • Make sure that you have collected all your tickets from all of your tables and have them with you.

  • Make sure that your tables are clear.

  • Be certain that all of your sidework and closing duties are completed. 

  • Have a manager do voids, over-rings, and promo tickets. An over-ring must be signed by a manager at the time it occurs and not at the end of the shift. 

  • Make sure that you have your full uniform on at all times while in the front of the house.

Tip Reporting Guidelines

Employees must report and pay taxes on 100% of their cash and credit card tips, as well as tips received from other employees, minus any amounts tipped out.

Underreporting violates the law. In addition to income and Social Security taxes, employees will owe penalties and interest. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) can go back several years in cases of fraud. The IRS is free to reconstruct tips for anyone who doesn’t have records.

Below you will find the instructions and regulations provided by the Department of the Treasury Internal Revenue Service Publication 1244.

  IRS Tip Reporting Instructions

  • You must keep sufficient proof to show the amount of your tip income for the year. A daily record of your tip income is considered sufficient proof. 

  • Keep a daily record for each workday showing the amount of cash and credit card tips received directly from guests or other employees. 

  • Keep a record of the amount of tips, if any, you paid to other employees through tip sharing, tip pooling, or other arrangements, and the names of employees to whom you paid tips.

  • Show the date for each entry. This date should be on or near the date you received the tip income. 

  • You may use Form 4070A, Employee’s Daily Record of Tips, or any other daily record to record your tips.


  Reporting Tips to Your Employer 

If you receive tips that total $20 or more for any month while working for one employer, you must report the tips to your employer. Tips include cash left by guests, tips guests add to credit card charges, and tips you receive from other employees. 

You must include all tips, including tips not reported to your employer, as wages on your income tax return. 

Your employer must withhold income, Social Security taxes, and Medicare taxes on the tips you report. Your employer usually deducts the withholding due on tips from your regular wages.

  Unreported Tips 

If you received tips of $20 or more for any month while working for one employer but did not report them to your employer, you must figure and pay Social Security and Medicare taxes on the unreported tips when you file your tax return. 


If you do not keep a daily record of tips, you must keep other reliable proof of the tip income you received. This proof includes copies of restaurant bills and credit card charges that show amounts guests added as tips.

Keep your tip income records for as long as the information on them may be needed in the administration of any IRS law.


In Summary

Being a server can be fun and profitable, but it takes organization and awareness to be successful. There is nothing worse than being hit all at once on a Friday night with no understanding of what to do first or even how to do it. Our goal is to help you become more organized during your shift so that you can become more competent and relaxed when the “big slam” does come.

  Be Prepared!

  • Come prepared. If you can, arrive at least 10 minutes before your shift is to begin. This will enable you to say "hi" to everyone, adjust your uniform, or fix your hair before you go out on the floor.

  • Participate in a pre-shift.

  • Check the specials board to see if the restaurant is out of anything. Write it down to remember.

  • Check your section for completeness, cleanliness, and neatness.

  Stay Focused!

  • During your shift, try to put everything else aside that is on your mind or that you have been doing that day. The less distraction you have, the better you will be able to keep organized.

  • You should always be keeping an eye on your section, watching for when guests are seated. 

  • When guests are seated, approach the table and welcome them. Inform them of the specials and take their beverage orders.

  Taking the Order

When taking the order, be sure to remember to make suggestions. It can be a simple 3-4-word statement describing your favorite dish or a reassuring "great choice" to your guest.

  Check-back Tips

  • When bringing out food, check to see if you can replenish any beverages.

  • If you are re-pouring water or coffee, check the surrounding tables as well. You never want to leave your section empty handed. This will help you later with your table maintenance as well as allow you to see how your guests are doing. 

  • Keep an eye out for anything the guests are not using or are finished with and remove these items out of their way. 

  Multi-Tasking Tips

  • When pulling entrée plates, offer dessert or coffee. 

  • When delivering the entrée, check beverages again to see if there is anything else you can get your guests.

  • Take the order for two tables at the same time and save yourself a trip. 

  • Enlist your fellow team members for help.

If you assess the situation, thinking along the way how you can save yourself time and steps, you will be more organized and confident. Most of all, you will have a lot more fun!

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