Lesson 5 Serving Food The Experience and Service crucial links between the establishment’s products, its services and its customers Lesson 5: Serving Food Lesson Overview 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 Introduction Food service in bars Food menus Standardized recipes for food Customer satisfaction Food service procedures Conclusion References Lesson 5: Serving Food Aims and Learning Outcomes of the Lesson On completion of this lesson the learner will be expected to be able to; Respond to consumer decision making in relation to the food experience Identify the significant factors involved in the configuration, presentation and description of food menus, menu items and accompaniments Demonstrate a knowledge of food costing and the benefits of using standardized recipes Explain the importance of customer satisfaction Apply cover settings, service sequences, plate and service tray carrying and clearing techniques to suit the menu type offered Lesson 5: Serving Food 5.1 Introduction Large numbers of consumers are choosing the bar for their food experience in the morning, lunchtime, evening and weekend periods. Creating a good food experience in your bar can be very challenging because of the high emotional value which consumers attribute to their food. This experience also contains both tangible and intangible elements that are not always easy to define. We can however state that the food experience definitely starts with the feelings of the customer (individually or the group) from the moment they arrive outside your establishment until they leave. In the bar and restaurant ‘service’ can be used to describe all phases that make a customer’s visit memorable. Service does not only consist of presenting customer’s with food and beverages but includes an entire series of procedures that must be performed before they arrive and after they have left the premises. These procedures and your staff are the crucial link between the establishment its products and services and your customers. The technical knowledge, product knowledge, interpersonal and specialized skills involved in food and beverage service procedures are crucial to achieving customer satisfaction and maintaining a sustainable business. The storage, preparation and service of food and beverages in the bar and food service areas involves understanding how to source, maintain and operate various pieces of small and large food and beverage equipment This is crucial to the practice of good service and to delivering food and drink products to the highest standards in the bar. This equipment can differ depending on the food and drinks to be prepared and served The equipment can also depend on the particular type of bar and dining areas involved for example if the bar and food service areas are located within a hotel, restaurant, cruise liner, night club or cinema. Lesson 5: Serving Food 5.2 Food Service in Bars Food is now a crucial component of the bar business and the majority of bars are now offering a widening choice in their food products. These major increases in food sales in bars have brought about a demand for quality meals, snacks and menus which are professionally configured, prepared and served with attractive prices. Consumers choose to have their food experience in bars for a number of reasons which include; Social: events like birthdays, special anniversaries, festive occasions. Bars can offer different styles of dining, pre theatre, cabaret menus, and Sunday specials. Business: the image and expectation of the bars food offerings depends on level of business style lunches Convenience, time, location and access: location, speed of service, order and delivery services, flexible food offerings, consider how your bar can develop its services and access, car parks, public transport, passing trade, good foot flow. Atmosphere and service: the atmosphere, cleanliness, hygiene and social skills of your staff members Price and perceived value for money: affects choice, if your customers consider that your food is cheaper, more tasty and served with great quality then they are less likely to want to cook regularly. The menu: adventurous and interesting, create different food experiences (i.e. tasting menus, food and beer or wine pairings), include health choices, vegetarian choices and a good variety of ethnic choices on your menu options to cover recent emerging trends in consumer choices. Quality of the food and beverages: freshly prepared, homemade, consistency. Sensory experiences: range of tastes, textures, aromas and colours offered by a food dish or drink. Presentation and recommendation of the food and beverages: the visual presentation and knowledgeable recommendations in relation to menu choices are significant. Expectation and identification: ability to identify and associate with a particular bar and restaurant for their needs and expectations, may vary from one food experience to the next Interior, exterior design: play the role of your customer taste your food and drinks, listen to the music and every aspect of the experience in your bar Lesson 5: Serving Food 5.3 Food menus Menu Configuration The menu is the single most important element of your food offering, It is the first contact that your customers have with your food, It is a major sales tool for your business, and it must therefore receive careful consideration. It’s primary goal is to encourage your customers to purchase your food, Before you plan and print your bar’s food menu you must take into account your bar’s marketplace consider in relation its location (rural, urban, small village), local clientele (students, mixed, business type, family orientated), foot flow and access by transport, trading hours in relation to the other local businesses. The size and atmosphere of your dining areas and the storage and preparation areas for your products must also be considered. Your staff member’s skills and knowledge, your furnishings and your ability to secure good quality products for sale will also form a significant part of your menus configuration. Menu design your food groupings should be clearly separate and the overall menu design should be pleasing the food groupings should reflect the bar’s character (i.e. Tex Mex, traditional, old world charm, rustic) cold and warm dishes should be presented separately light dishes should be proposed first, followed by the more substantial items on the menu. Rules of menu design, (scientific tools: food matrix) (Further information Chapter 5 – pp. 75-78) Gold and Stars: premier items of the menu that have a high gross profit and are very popular. The more you can influence the consumer towards these items, the more profitable you operation will be, Silver and Plow or Work Horses: good volume sales, but generate little profit compared to the gold items Bronze and Puzzles or Challenges: most misunderstood items on the menu. They manage to make above average contribution margins, but are weak in demand. DQ and Dogs: low in popularity and low in contribution margin. Lesson 5: Serving Food 5.3 Food menus (continued) Types of foodservice operations in pubs Pubs and bar establishments offer numerous types of food experiences which range from hot and cold snacks to fine dining. Type of food your pub or bar offers will be based on the needs of your customers Know your customers, their wants, whom they will be dining with, the time period they have allocated, their budget, the occasion and their tastes and preferences Answers to these questions help you plan your food menus (see also Chapter 5 – p. 79 ‘Style of food operation and food offered table) Types of food menus The two types of food menus: the table d’hôte; and the a-la-carte. From these two types of menus there are in practice many adaptations of each. Describing food menu items In the majority of countries to mislead consumers with false descriptions of food especially on menus, internal or external advertising boards or electronic signage can carry a fine, caution and possible sanctions. You must therefore be careful with descriptions like (fresh, homemade, mentions of weights, mentions of suitability for tolerances or for example vegetarians). Lesson 5: Serving Food 5.3 Food menus (continued) Menu Presentation criteria menus must be attractive, clean and neat, without handwritten corrections (durable covers and inviting encouraging you to read) menu items should be correctly spelled, written in different languages (if possible) oversized menus annoy the guests and cause problems for the bar if the menu is short, the size of the type should be large. Avoid small type or writing and too many different fonts or styles one menu should be provided for each guest specialities should be highlighted, with bold or colourful print or coloured pointers (i.e. signature dishes) daily specials and meals that are part of the regular menu should be identified and easily exchangeable prices placed directly next to or under the text are most visible, make sure they are competitive and that you have adopted pricing strategies for your food options numbering dishes makes ordering and tabulation easier. Numbering is essential when an electronic data system is used. the nutritional and caloric values of low-calorie dishes should be stated and the menu should also reflect trends in eating habits and dietary requirements dishes that may take more time to prepare should be noted on the menu. Large meat portions to be served to more than one person should list the minimum number to be served be sure that the menu language is in keeping with the bar; try to keep your customers comfortable when they are making their menu selections, make sure your descriptions of the dishes are appealing variety and freshness are crucial, keep a health sales mix of products to suit your various customers remember to liven up your menu (customers get bored, you must introduce new options to keep the menu fresh and vibrant). Lesson 5: Serving Food 5.4 Standardized recipes for food Using standardized food recipes provides many benefits to bars engaged in foodservice operations, these benefits include; Consistent food quality Customer satisfaction Consistent nutrient content Food cost control Efficient purchasing procedures Inventory control Labor cost control Increased employee confidence Reduced record keeping Lesson 5: Serving Food 5.5 Customer Satisfaction Customer satisfaction and the quality of food service The distinction between customer satisfaction and quality of food service is a very important one. The level of customer satisfaction is the result of a customer’s comparison of expected quality of the food service with the one they actually perceived. BELIEVE (acronym): business tool to assist you in this on-going work (chapter 5 - pp. 80-81) Expectations: expectation levels are rising, increased demand on food servers to perform in terms of customer satisfying behaviour, each staff members point of view, the difference is you, need to commit yourself to providing highest level of service The hidden differences: personality, food service staff two categories – those who are concerned with customer satisfaction and those who are not. Seeing the customers point of view: Imagine putting yourself in your customer’s shoes. Your customers want to feel that they matter and that they will enjoy the experience of contact with your bar. Tables 5.1 / 5.2 – for discussion and adoption (chapter 5 – pp. 82-83). Customer Complaints: No matter how hard we work, things can go occasionally wrong, for example the food gets burned, orders are forgotten, or new staff members neglect to practice their skills and knowledge from their training. How you handle customer complaints will determine if the customer comes back to your bar, restaurant. Ensure that you; Listen: listen to what the customer has to say. Body language, posture: the way your staff members stand and look at a customer can speak more than words. Apologize: offer an apology, ‘I understand that you are not happy about whatever the complaint was about sir/madam, but we are working hard to sort this out immediately. Complimentary offer, compensation:- if a customer has problem that could have been prevented, such as an overcooked fish or an ignorant staff member, then the best route to take is to apologize and an offer them some sort of compensation. Occasionally you will have a truly angry customer, calmly assure the customer you understand their frustration, and offer an apology once their anger has cooled Lesson 5: Serving Food 5.6 Food service procedures Place settings: Always base your decision in relation to place settings on how many courses are being served. In general, at a formal dinner, all cutlery will be placed at the sides unless the space is limited. Formal and informal place settings: always laid to suit the type and style of menu offered and the estimated number of guests attending each sitting. Positioning and placement of the cutlery and crockery: Your bread plate and butter knife are located on your left, and your glasses are on your right. To assist you in setting up basic settings is that drinks (wine, water, soft drinks, beer) are placed to the right, foods on the left and main course in the centre (see figures 5.1 / 5.2 – pp. 85-86). Place setting – Lunch and Brunch setting. Place setting – Breakfast setting Lesson 5: Serving Food 5.6 Food service procedures (continued) Formal business function table setting – five course meal: The crockery and cutlery laid out below illustrate the different utensils and their placement. Note that the napkin could be placed to the left or in the centre of the dinner plate. In this case, the napkin will be placed on the dinner plate. The easiest way to assist a guest in determining which items to use is to start with the knife, fork, or spoon that is the farthest from their plate and tell them to work their way inwards using one utensil for each course. If you tell to remember the rule to work from the outside in, them they will be fine. Also as the meal progresses, the used silverware for each will be removed as that course is finished. Even though all these crockery and cutlery items may seem confusing, they are a crucial component of the food experience as the meal progresses the used silverware is normally removed, making the identification of the remaining items a lot easier for the guest. Place setting – Formal Dinner Lesson 5: Serving Food 5.6 Food service procedures (continued) Food service – sequence of service: (chapter 5 – p. 87 for discussion) Carrying and clearing plates: Food should always be served to the left of the guest and drinks to the right of the guest. (chapter 5 – p. 88 for discussion) Two and three plate carrying technique. Knife and fork positioning for clearance. Lesson 5: Serving Food 5.6 Food service procedures (continued) Carrying a service tray One hand underneath (depends on load), both hands would be more stable, especially for variety of food and beverage items. Best practice procedures (chapter 5 – p. 89). Further best practice advice and safety procedures: most countries have developed specific safety guidelines in relation to this area (see also ‘Young Worker Safety in Restaurants’: Chapter 7 – p. 118) Glass carrying. Carrying a drinks service tray. Lesson 5: Serving Food Conclusion In the past food in the bar was designed to be simple and salty to keep customers drinking, these times have changed and the food produced and served in bars is top quality. Bar owners have invested a lot of money, training and research into their food offerings and they now offer quality meals, well thought out menus and attractive prices. Consumers however still enjoy the traditional bar selling fantastic homemade food or for the young and lively contemporary twists on classic dishes. Modern food trends which include food sharing and grazing have lead bars to offer small taster or sharing plates at reasonable price which have become really popular. Consumers are always looking for value for money, even in gastro pubs, restaurant quality food at below restaurant prices. Bars must keep a tight control on costs, portions and profit margins, be careful not to over complicate your menu offering, keep it simple, local and fresh. Sometimes when things go wrong with your food offering customers complain always try to see their point of view, act quickly. The golden rule is to ‘never lose a customer’ because dissatisfied customers tell their friends and family and their lifetime value to your business must never be underestimated. Staff members must master the best practice procedures and maintenance of all food and beverage equipment and understand their importance to effective food and beverage service for customers The variety and functionality of this equipment depends on the products sold and can differ from bar to bar In every bar and restaurant when your customers are enjoying the pleasures of the bar and dinner table they must encounter servers with the appropriate food and beverage knowledge and specialised skills to deliver high standards of service. Your servers must also have the ability to carry out their performance with discretion and competence having carefully practised and studied each detail involved in the service. They must be also capable of helping customers to fully grasp the sense and taste of the unique moment they’re experiencing in your establishment. Lesson 5: Serving Food References Agar Hotel Shop. (2012) available http://agarwalhotelshopee.com/crockery.html#crockery [accessed 12/3/12]. Cousins, J. and Lillicrap, D. (2010) Essential Food and Beverage Service, London: Hodder Education. Kasavana, M and Smith, D, J. (1982)A Practical Guide to Menu Engineering, US. Newall, M.(1965) Mood and Atmosphere in Restaurants, Barrie & Rockliff: London. Murphy, J. (2009) ‘Customer Relationship Management (CRM) in the Licensed Trade Industry’, Licensing World, March Issue, Jemma Publications Ltd: Dublin. Murphy, J. (2013) Principles and Practices of Bar and Beverage Management, Goodfellow Publishing Ltd, Oxford: England. Murphy, J. (2013) Principles and Practices of Bar and Beverage Management – The Drinks Handbook, Goodfellow Publishing Ltd, Oxford: England. Web resources http://www.kendallhunt.com/uploadedFiles/Kendall_Hunt/Content/Higher_Education/Uploads/McVety_Ch7_4e.pdf Calculating food costs. http://www.kn-eat.org/SNP/SNP_Docs/SNP_Guidance/Menu_Planning_Guidance/Menu_Plan_FB_Ch6.pdf Food production records. http://www.wellington.govt.nz/services/foodsafety/pdfs/safe-food.pdf Selling safe food. http://www.safework.sa.gov.au/uploaded_files/hospJobDict2Restaurants.pdf Analysis of regular tasks and body movements in the bar, restaurant and hospitality industry. http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/youth/restaurant/strains_serving.html United States Department of Labor – Occupational Health and Safety ‘Young Worker Safety in restaurants’.