If you are like a large part of the population, one of your first jobs is likely to be in a restaurant. Regardless of the type of restaurant you choose to work in, there are certain things that you should know when it comes to procedures for taking orders. In other words, there is a certain art form to taking accurate restaurant orders quickly and efficiently.
Obviously, you don’t have time to write everything down word for word because it would take too long. Therefore, you must learn how to take food orders quickly without making it difficult for the kitchen staff to understand what you have written. Every restaurant has its own precise order taking process that you have to learn. If you work there long enough, you will probably end up customizing the process to a certain degree in order to make it faster for you to take those orders, but you can’t get too creative or it ruins everything.
By the same token, you might be working at a restaurant that has an electronic order processing system and instead of writing orders down with a pad and pen, you will likely be using a tablet to electronically transmit orders directly to the kitchen staff.
Know the System Where Your Work
Obviously, with so many variables involved you have to know the system where you work or you will be completely lost and so will everyone else. More and more restaurants are moving toward that electronic system that was mentioned in the previous paragraph but there are still plenty of restaurants out there that utilize an old-fashioned pad and pen to take orders. Therefore, it becomes your responsibility to know what type of system is used where you choose to work.
That is the system that you will have to focus on so that you can learn it as quickly as possible. Whatever that system might be, the first thing you have to remind yourself to do is not to allow yourself to become overwhelmed. It is easy to do exactly that when you are still relatively new to taking orders, but the more that you allow yourself to become overwhelmed with the system you are using, the more you open yourself up to mistakes.
Therefore, go into it with the expectation that you won’t be as fast as the person that has been doing it for two or three years and that you will have to ask questions during your first few days of work. This takes a lot of the pressure off and makes it a lot easier to focus on the task at hand instead of trying to perform like a seasoned employee when you are still on your first day of training.
The Steps in Taking Orders in a Restaurant
So, what are the steps when it comes to taking orders in a restaurant? The first thing you have to do is know how to take an order from a customer. In other words, talk to the customers. Don’t be afraid to answer their questions or make recommendations and listen intently to what they have to say. A lot of customers want to make special orders, either adding or deleting certain items when they make their order.
For example, someone might choose to order mashed potatoes instead of french fries as a side dish or they might ask you to leave the vegetables off of their dish entirely. As long as you are listening to what they say and you are making effective communication with them, you have completed the first step.
Obviously, your next step will be to input that information accurately into whatever system you are using so that the kitchen staff can interpret the information and fix the dish correctly. If you are using an electronic order processing system, that means you will probably be pushing a lot of buttons. If you are using the pad and pen method, make sure that you make your notes accurately and quickly and that you write legibly so people can read it.
As a last step, be sure to repeat the entire order back to your customers to ensure that you haven’t missed anything. This can save a lot of frustration for both you and them later on down the road.
The Order Processing System
It seems like almost everything is electronic these days. Some people love that idea while others loathe it. Despite your personal feelings on the matter, you will have to get accustomed to using whatever type of system your place of employment decides to implement. A lot of people that have used a pen and pad for years will tell you that it is a lot easier and faster to stick with that method while others prefer the use of the electronic order processing system.
The reason so many people like this system is because it helps track inventory and it timestamps everything automatically. It also means that information can be transmitted directly to the kitchen without forcing wait staff to run back and forth between one location and the other. The biggest thing you have to remember is that there is a lot of information included in this electronic system, so if that is the system you are using, be ready to know where the different options are and how to customize orders accurately.
Do What Works for You
In the end, you really have to do what works for you, at least to a certain extent. Granted, you can’t just start making up your own shorthand, especially when you are the only one that might understand it. If you are using an electronic system, there is usually a very specific process that has to be followed in order to make the correct selections.
However, you will eventually figure out what works for you and what doesn’t. As long as you are getting the orders turned in quickly and they are accurate, do whatever works for you so that you can be as efficient as possible.
Customer Service Comes First
The most important thing you have to remember is that customer service always comes first. Don’t ever allow yourself to be so overwhelmed with taking an order that you neglect to perform stellar customer service. Acknowledge customers when they walk in and speak to them politely when you approach them. Make sure that you do what is necessary to get their order turned in correctly and that you insure that they have received the correct order and are pleased with everything while they are there.
By the same token, make sure that you address any additional needs they might have and that you provide them with good customer service throughout their entire experience. As long as you are doing these things, you can get your orders turned in correctly regardless of the type of system you are using. More importantly, you can make sure that your customers are happy and that they will come back again and again.