Soho is a pokey part of town, rich in history and more diverse than a box of Celebrations; it is not known for its square footage. However, there are more quality restaurants in this square mile than in any other part of the country and for those who get it right, full houses await. The difficulty is, full restaurants often mean full pavements, and that dreaded of British institutions… the queue. As a restaurant, and indeed as a host, managing the queue is of paramount importance. You’re having to say ‘no’ to guests who want to eat with you and how we do this will have a direct impact on whether these guests will come back. At Hop, we always work with three possible outcomes when training hosts:
Outcome A: Guests come to dine, there is space available and they’re seated immediately.
Outcome B: Guests come to dine, there is no space available currently, but they return later because of the quality of interaction they had with the host.
Outcome C: Guests come to dine, there is space available and they do not return because of the poor interaction they had with the host.
We always want to be working towards outcomes A and B. Outcome C is a dangerous road down which friends will be told they expected me to wait for two hours!" So how do we achieve outcomes A and B? It is a mixture of empathy, reactive listening, honesty and of course a sincere apology. It takes practice, patience and a touch of Emotional Intelligence. Luckily, these are learnt skills, and we teach them.
Hosting is a challenging job, but it can also highly rewarding if it’s done with care and honesty. So be the enabler, be the fixer - don’t be the wolf at the door.