The Ins and Outs Of The Front of House
Someone once said “You can’t make a first impression twice.” This mantra has never been more essential when it comes to restaurants. The Front of House (FOH) is that first impression. It is the first things guests see when they walk through the door and creates the atmosphere they will dine in for the duration of their visit. That’s quite a lot of responsibility, which is why hiring, training, and encouraging the right FOH staff is key. In this article we’ll look at how to properly run an efficient and well-oiled FOH.
Decorating the space
Decorating the dining area is key to creating the atmosphere in your restaurant. Will it be rustic, country, modern, new age, or charming? What does the area look and feel like when guests are waiting for a table? You should also consider if you will be a restaurant that decorates for holidays or not. If you are active in the community, having a bulletin board or chalkboard of past events and testimonials is a fantastic idea to create a sense of warmth for the guest as soon as they walk in.
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Once you have settled on a theme for your space, the next step is stocking it.
Understand the traffic flow and where your servers will need the easiest access to things like more silverware, cups, coffee, and condiments. Having strategically placed stocking stations can dramatically reduce wait time and increase guest satisfaction. If a server can get more ketchup within seconds instead of minutes, that hamburger will still be warm and the guest will be happy.
Hiring a great team
Having the right decorations and a properly stocked FOH is important, but it’s the staff that is really the key. Experience in the industry is extremely helpful, but the right person with no experience can learn quickly and be just as valuable. Your staff in the front of house should be amiable, understanding, good at multi-tasking, quick on their feet, but most importantly patient. Not all guests are easy-going, and the wait staff must be able to deflect and deal with difficult situations quickly and professionally without becoming frustrated.
Back and Front of House Relations
In a restaurant, the front and back of house should not work as separate islands. While the front of house is the face of the restaurant, the back of house is the heart. The two teams should work smoothly with each other. Consider cross-training so both teams know how the other works and the difficult demands on each side of the counter. Not only will this help during rush times, it will also help the staff understand more issues when they arise in both parts of the restaurant. For more tips on running an efficient Back of House, please read our article 8 Tips For Keeping Your Food Costs Low
With the atmosphere set and a properly trained staff, the front of house in your restaurant could be the key to keeping customers coming back time and time again. Make the work as easy for your hard working servers as possible and foster a sense of teamwork on both sides of the counter. For more information on how to be the best restaurant, read our article 6 Essential Traits of A Successful Restaurant.