Blackberry Farm

Friends of the Farm

What is Great Service

What does great service mean? I’ve been asking our team this very question in our daily pre-shift lineup meetings. Not surprisingly, they’ve responded with a myriad of answers. All of them correct. I’ve been told that  it’s anything from ensuring the proper silverware is placed down for the course to being sure to greet each guest quickly once they’ve been seated for their meal.
But great service is more. Those examples of ensuring appropriately timed greetings, silverware that is correct for the course and fast service are all in the category of service skills that I like to call “the basics.” They are incredibly important but they are far too tangible and achievable to be reason for service being great instead of good. If it were that easy, every restaurant would have great service – but they don’t. Rather, these “basics” are what stops service from being “bad.” To use a sports analogy, the basics are like defense. They stop you from losing but if you only have defense then you’ll never lose but you’ll also never win.
So, what elevates service? What is service “offense?” What is it that pushes service beyond the basics from good to great?
The answer is easy to point out and yet challenging to achieve. I feel this is because it’s not a physically tangible thing the way an empty water glass is tangible. It’s not as easy to spot as a napkin missing from a place setting. You can’t look across the dining room and notice it the way you can tell that a candle isn’t lit. It isn’t part of the basics.
It’s a feeling. A feeling of hospitality. Of warmth. Of being catered to and cared for by a team that earnestly wants you to enjoy yourself. The strong feeling that yes is the only answer that is acceptable to any request and the word “no” is not even on anyone’s mind, because they want to say yes to you. You get this from a team that is confident and friendly.
The basics make you confident and you can train someone to cover the basics. But it’s hard to train someone to be friendly and you can’t train desire to care for others. They are innate characteristics.
So it truly comes down to the people. Great people give great service and we are lucky to have some of the greatest people in the business on our team here at Blackberry Farm.


Andy Chabot, Food and Beverage Director