If you think service is why people return to your restaurant, It's a safe bet that you won't stay in business.
Let me help you out.
You don't think people come to your restaurant thinking: I hope the staff is rude to me, my food tastes lousy, I wait for my drinks for an eternity, can't find my server when I need them, and hopefully they say "duces" on my way out,. do you?
Service is expected. The word itself is defined as - the action of helping or doing work for someone. Your guests come to your restaurant already expecting efficiency and great service: someone to friendly greet them, seat them on time, serve their food and drinks on time, be attentive, bus their table, bring the check as soon as asked and being thanked for their visit.
In restaurants we are mostly tolerated, instead of being celebrated. Have you not felt this yourself? Instead of being treated like a good friend, we are referred to and treated as another "table" and put in the restaurant conveyor belt: "Hi, two?", “Is your food OK?”, "Still working on that?", "Did you save room for dessert?". Yuck.
I didn't know my food should only be "OK" and my dinner should be "work". Save room for dessert?! - If that's the best sales pitch you've got, I ain't buying anything else from you. That's what I think every time I hear the restaurant speech, and a bunch of other thoughts that I may express in a separate blog post.
I've heard this one before: Service is what you do for the guests, hospitality is how you make them feel. And I do agree. This is my version:
Service is what you do FOR your guests, hospitality is what you do WITH them.
I grew up in Georgia (Country of Georgia, in Europe). Hospitality is not just a custom, it is a living-breathing organism there. I know that every country boasts of it’s warm welcome for guests, but in Georgia, the guest is “God-sent” and is treated as such. Hospitality is extended to strangers, it is boundless and it is unconditional.
Yes, we live in America. Not trying to force the foreign customs or any religion on you. I do invite you to take away this mindset however: aren’t your customers “God-sent” since they are the reason you have a business?
There are over 40 thousand new restaurants opening every year in America, why should anyone return to yours? If you deliver on hospitality, you will win your guests hearts and therefore earn their continuous business, EVEN IF you fail in service. Efficient does not always mean effective, and this a perfect example of it. The skill of service doesn't matter if you don't have a hospitable heart.
Execute the service and you may or may not get that guest back; execute hospitality and you've got a customer for life.
Treat your guests with genuine care, anticipate their needs, shower them with generosity, go out of your way for them, respect them regardless and always celebrate them! True hospitality will crate craving fans of your restaurant who will never leave you, will bring their whole tribe with them and even stick with you and your business through thick and thin.
So, what IS the difference between service and hospitality?
Service is a skill, hospitality is a spirit.
Anyone can learn the skill of service, not everyone has a spirit of hospitality.