Going out for dinner at a restaurant is one of those little pleasures in life that are good for the heart, and the stomach! The restaurant business is a sector rich in professionalism and with a single common purpose: the happiness of the customer. If, on the one hand, this comes from the tasting of delicious dishes prepared with great care, on the other, it undoubtedly also comes from the front of house service, which is as fundamental as the menu itself.
The waiting staff have a delicate task: to serve guests with a smile, and to carefully execute every task entrusted to them. Making sure that everything is in perfect order, and that the service is delivered in the best possible way, to the satisfaction of every customer, is the maître d'hôtel, the professional who manages the whole team, and is an expert in the tastes and needs of customers of various nationalities.
In our B-Family, the role of maître d’ is covered by Claudio. We asked him some questions to discover some of the secrets of his job, how it is performed and what relationship there has to be between the kitchen and the front of house at every good restaurant.
What are the qualities needed of a maître d’?
Like in all jobs, I believe a great desire to learn and to challenge oneself is indispensable, and starting from the bottom means you have respect for all the roles in the team. Politeness and a spirit of organization are two more important qualities for this type of job, since, every day, you have to welcome guests and manage unforeseeable events in the shortest possible time.
What relationship is there between the kitchen and the front of house? And, how important is communication between them for a restaurant?
We have a wonderful relationship, and esteem for all members of the team. Of course, the customer does not see it, but kitchen and front of house staff work together to do a great job, and they are all helpful and professional. I believe that the relationship between these two parts is fundamental. Good communications is half the work of a successful restaurant!
Why did you choose this job, and what do you like best about it?
I chose this job because I love Italian cuisine, and representing it at the table is, I think, a great satisfaction. The thing I like most is being in contact with people, and alternating between seriousness and joviality, because I really like to establish a good relationship of friendship and cordiality with guests. The beauty of this job is that customers come back precisely for this reason.
What quality must a guest have to be considered the ‘ideal customer’?
First of all, politeness and respect for those who are working. As my grandfather says: politeness costs nothing, but gives you so much.
So yes, I think politeness is the mark of the perfect customer.