Last month I was at one of our locations and was helping with service, and a part of my job was refilling water bottles (water is complimentary at this location).
This may sound like a mundane and not very inspiring task, but in the grand picture it actually freed up a lot of time for the servers to focus on other aspects of their service and hospitality duties. At one point, I ended up timing how long it took to refill a bottle, and the average time was 21 seconds.Thinking about this, I decided that I would ask my guys the next day in our pre-meal meeting the question, “What can you do with 21 seconds?”
I proposed this out of the blue and in no context to where I was going with it in the pre-service meeting, and waited for the responses.
Fortunately, the first answer was – “anything”, which as it turns out is pretty much right on. As a server during a busy dinner service, the things that can be accomplished with 21 spare seconds are tremendous. You can check on and detail a table, run food, get water to a table, polish a wine glass, place an order, seat a table, etc., etc. There are so many things that can be done in such a short period of time, and service personnel are experts at figuring this out and knowing where to grab a few seconds of time here and there to make the most out of their style and enhance their guest's experience. Each night I was at this location, I touched and filled over 200 water bottles. This is a huge amount of time for the service staff to get back to devote to the other aspects of their service period. Unfortunately (or not), I was only helping for the week, so this is not a permanent position for me - but the feedback from the guys was huge and very grateful during this very busy week.
If you are a service team member, you need to ask yourself ever so often - what can I do with 21 Seconds??
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