They’re the two phrases that may take a restaurant from hero to zero quicker than you possibly can say “how was your meal?”
And in the the age of social media and on-line evaluations, good buyer service has grow to be the yin to nice food’s yang at Australia’s top restaurants.
But it is also an important promoting level for restaurants like Fleet Restaurant in Brunswick Heads and Momofuku Seiōbo in Paddington, simply two of the restaurants nominated for Australia’s top service staff at this yr’s Top Restaurant Awards, to be announced on July 2.
“If you have two restaurants, one with exceptional food but terrible service, one will only brave the service for so long before thinking it’s not worth it, but if the food is average and the service exceptional, people will go back time and time again because there’s something about that familiarity and feeling looked after,” Fleet owner and restaurant manager Astrid McCormack explains.
The concentrate on distinctive buyer service comes as restaurants embrace an more and more private approach of reaching out to diners.
Think of it like a cocktail party with strangers at the house of the best pal you’ve got by no means met.
“We seat just 14 guests so it’s a very intimate experience and we’re an equally tiny team so we get a lot of guests who comment that it’s like dining at our kitchen table,” McCormack says. “People often comment that they love seeing us work and how their food is prepared, and they love the social aspect of it, talking to the diners on either side of them so it is a bit like hosting a dinner party.”
Over at Seiōbo, it is a comparable philosophy.
“We want people to feel like they’re coming into a home and I think that’s really important in creating staff culture,” says Seiōbo common supervisor Kylie Javier Ashton.
“At the end of the day the guests are why we’re there so if they’re happy, we’re happy.”
The rising development has partly been pushed by the extra open nature of restaurants, the place diners can typically take pleasure in watching the theatrics of the kitchen play out throughout their meals.
Tailored and private
And it is one million miles away from the restaurants of yesteryear when cooks have been hidden away and the tied-and-tailed maitre d’ dominated the roost.
“If anything, with great service you take a lot of pressure off the kitchen, so almost the less people notice the service, that’s our benchmark for showing we’ve done our job because people don’t have to think about anything,” Ashton says.
Igni in Geelong, Victoria, is one other instance of the place diners can anticipate a extra tailor-made and private eating expertise, says Joanna Smith, director and front-of-house supervisor.
“Because the menu is a surprise, it’s really important that people on the floor articulate and work with guests as to what they feel like drinking,” Ms Smith stated.
“We really try and offer them a tailored experience in terms of our interactions with the guests so hopefully we take them on a journey that’s a little bit out of their comfort zone.”
While service could also be shifting in the direction of a extra private expertise, it hasn’t meant professionalism has been proven the door, in response to restaurant managers like Simon Freeman from Brae in Victoria, which was crowned Australia’s Top Restaurant last year.
“It’s the idea of country hospitality – of coming into someone’s home and being made to feel welcome,” he says.
“We train our staff to the highest standards, in terms of product knowledge, the food, the drinks but we try to put it across in a friendly and welcoming way so it might seem slightly more relaxed than people expect.”
And what’s to not love about a bit of nation hospitality?
Here’s the shortlist for Australia’s Top Service Team