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"Restaurant Hospitality: It's Right to be Polite if You Plan to Succeed," Says CEO of Restaurant Consultants of America

Hospitality has seven very basic characteristics. The wise restaurant owner and manager will spend time teaching these characteristics to their team. Be polite. Smile. Manage eye contact. Greet. Listen. Thank. Bid farewell.

Chelsea, AL, June 26, 2012 --( Howard Cannon, Restaurant Expert Witness, and CEO of Restaurant Consultants of America spends a lot of time coaching new restaurant owners and wanna-be restaurant owners. One way he does this is through his books and frequently published articles. Having spent his entire career in the restaurant and hospitality industry, he is dedicated to helping newcomers achieve their own success and to improving the quality of the industry itself. One of those quality aspects centers around hospitality, and he has written extensively on that one critical component.

Hospitality has seven very basic characteristics. The wise restaurant owner and manager will spend time teaching these characteristics to their team. That team will then reward customers with better hospitality -- resulting in better customer comments, better employee morale toward customers, and better sales. What’s in it for the employees? Better compensation and better tips are always good motivators.

Be polite: Howard Cannon, Restaurant Expert Witness, Restaurant Consultant, and CEO explains, “This one should be a no-brainer, but it doesn’t seem to be. The basic rules of etiquette and the magic words such as 'Please,' 'Thank you,' 'Excuse me,' 'Pardon me,' less you,' and 'May I help you?' have gotten lost in much of society. But if you want to have a successful restaurant, you should make sure your staff follows these rules and uses these magic words, not only to guests but to each other. Believe it or not, your guests will sense the morale of your staff.”

Smile: “That’s what you pay me for, sir.” Cannon says, “This line was one of the greatest that I have ever heard from an employee. I was eating in a restaurant in Orlando, Florida, at Disney World when I saw a young lady with a truly outstanding smile. I said to her, 'Young lady, you have one of the greatest smiles I have ever seen.' She simply replied, “That’s what you pay me for, sir.” She wowed me with that answer. You see, she clearly understood two very powerful things. First, she understood that I, the customer, was paying her salary. Second, she made it clear that the smile was nonnegotiable—it was a must. Wow!”

Manage eye contact: Eye contact is more than looking at someone; it is eye management. “Eye contact is a sign of confidence, interest, and even people orientation. Teach employees to never roll their eyes on the job. This action shows frustration and/or indifference. And don’t stare at the customer. It could be considered disrespectful. Last, but not least, don’t look past the customer, because that can show lack of interest”.

Greet: Corporate America has made the greeting so generic that many times it is no longer personal, sincere, or of interest to the guest. “The key to a greeting is to acknowledge the guest’s presence and show a sincere and hearty welcome.”

Listen: Consumers rarely think that employees listen. Cannon advises, “Work with your employees to get them to be able to take mental notes of what the customer wants. Many restaurants are emphasizing such listening skills by having the wait staff memorize orders instead of writing them down. This lets the customer know your team is indeed listening to them.”

Thank: Thanking the guest is much like the greeting. “The message of ‘thanks’ can’t be insincere, impersonal, or canned. Ask the customer if everything was to his or her liking and thank the customer for his or her patronage.”

Bid farewell: Bidding farewell is the last point of personal contact with the customer and is critical to the customer’s view of the overall dining experience. Cannon says, “You can say “Have a great day,” “See you next time,” or “Drive carefully” but be sure to say something. Bidding farewell is simple and says a lot about the true feelings of your staff. You already have the customer’s money, your work is virtually done, and now it’s time to say good-bye. This is also the last time that you can ‘wow’ them, so open the door for them and ask them about their meal. Small steps like these will help you seal the deal for the next visit.”

Howard Cannon is a highly-recognized restaurant expert witness, consultant, analyst, and speaker. He is the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Starting a Restaurant© - found in 76 countries around the globe. Mr. Cannon is the CEO of Restaurant Consultants of America and Restaurant Expert Witness, and can be reached at 800-300-5764 or via the web at or
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