Wednesday, March 10, 2010

From the Source - Restaurant Etiquette

At Porta Via, there are three things we expect from our staff. The first is punctuality. They need to show up to work on time and be prepared to work. Two is a good attitude. People come to a restaurant to get away from work or their home. Porta Via employees need to leave their own problems at the door, come to work with great energy and an eagerness to service the customers. A warm smile is a must. Third, they must show respect. From the top on down, the staff is required to be respectful to each other. This is crucial to creating a good and successful team.

BHM: What do you believe are the most vital elements to providing good restaurant service?
PV: Preparation. From the back of the house perspective, the chef and cooking staff need to have all items prepped in advance and be ready to work at his or her respective station; the wait staff needs to know the specials in advance and how each dish is prepared. Good service is to be able to anticipate the customer's wants and needs. Timing and follow-through without being invasive.

BHM: How do you handle the difficult customer?
PV: The best way to handle a difficult customer is not to engage in a confrontation. If the food is not prepared to their satisfaction, we immediately return the dish to the kitchen and ask if there is something else that he/she wants. I remind the staff not to take things too personal.

BHM: In an extremely competitive business environment where restaurants and other establishments are shutting down daily, what do you think has contributed to your continued success?

PV: Hard work and really caring about the customers. I have created an environment for the staff and customers alike that is really special. The staff respects each other and works together as a team. We provide a wonderful experience for the customer with great food and service.

BHM: I think the key word here is respect which is one of the main ingredients to having good manners. You've used it a number of times with reference to the staff and management and how they treat one another at the restaurant and you also addressed it in how you deal with your customers making sure their feelings are validated and that they come first. Sounds like a recipe for success to me!

Peter Garland founded Porta Via in August of 1994. Most recently, Garland opened a new lounge adjacent to Porta Via call "THE BAR ROOM." The Bar Room features classic cocktails, beer and wine, along with small plates of Porta Via favorites, in a chic “nouveau pub” setting. Porta Via has received the Award of Excellence from The Wine Spectator in 2008 and 2009. Located at 424 N. Canon Drive in Beverly Hills, Porta Via is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner and Sunday brunch. For reservations, call 310.274.4820 or visit the website at

***Mention this article and receive a 20% discount at Porta Via or The Bar Room.