Principal Investigator Prof. S. P. Bansal

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Principal Investigator Prof. S. P. Bansal

Vice chancellor

Indira Gandhi University, Meerpur, Rewari, Haryana

Co-Principal Investigator Dr. Prashant K. Gautam

Director, UIHTM

Panjab University, Chandigarh

Paper Coordinator Dr. Neeraj Aggarwal

Assistant Professor , UIHTM Panjab University, Chandigarh

Content Writer Kumar Satyam


Institute of Hotel Management, Bhopal

Content Reviewer Prof. S.K. Gupta


HNB Garhwal University, Srinagar


Food and Beverage Service Services Operations & Management

MODULE 14: Handling Situations in Food and Beverage Outlets



Tourism & Hospitality

Paper Name

Food and Beverage Service Operations & Management

Module Title

Handling Situation in Food and Beverage Outlets

Module Id

Module No-3

Pre- Requisites

Basic skill about Situation handling in Food and Beverage Outlets


To study the various situation observed in Food and Beverage



Situation, Handling techniques, Food and Beverage Outlets


1. Learning Outcomes 2. Introduction

3. Types Of Complaining Guests 4. Example Of Each Guest

5. Situation Observed In Food and Beverage Outlets

6. Principles Of Guest Handling By The Service Personnel

7. Summary



Handling Situation in Food and Beverage Outlets LEARNING OBJECTIVES:

After reading this chapter learners would be able to:

1. Understand the behaviour of individuals in different situations.

2. Explain the types of situation handling techniques.

3. Define its advantages in Restaurant operations.

4. Serve the value-added services in Food and Beverage outlets.


The Food and Beverage outlet is the area, which is based on guest and server interaction. Services at the par level are most required to run the smooth operations as well as to repeat the business by the guest. Converting a client or visitor to the regular guest is a bundle of art, which needs a lot of experience, soft skills and a dedication towards the organization. A restaurant may face various kinds of situations and different types of guests in its daily business. Everyday a large number of guests arrives in a restaurant and enjoy the services. They may carry different educational level as well as different personality. The server’s prime job to handle the each guest differently with their needs. It is again important to understand the kind of complainer guest in the restaurant. We can classify the complainer guests according to the expressions into:

(1) Intellectual Type (2) Offensive Type (3) Distressed Type

(1) Intellectual Type:

These guests are commonlyare older or matured in age and complain in dejected mood with peaceful tone. They carry pleasant personality and try hard to their appearance remains calm all the time.

Figure: Intellectual guests


Such guests are rathertrouble-free to handle but sometimes if they are in group of people, following things a server should remember:

 Properly listen their reason or logic.

 Properly understand the details.

 Don’t hurry to agree to regret first.

 Be logical.

 Don’t guarantee anything that is not assured. They will keep in mind every detail.

 Don’t be fearful on their polite and calm voice as well as influencing persona.

(2) Offensive Type:

These guests commonly found in restaurants than in hotels. They shoutfor complain with wrongbehaviour and rough language; and try to grabother’s attraction.

Sometimes such a guest is well enough to destroy the image of business.

Be ready to handle and take firm actions for such guests.

Figure: Offensive guests

 Never react aggressively.

 Try to handle patiently and be friendly.

 Separate such guest andtake him to talk privately. Recommend to be calm.

 Properly maintain the eye contact.

 Don’t interrupt to show their emotions and try to find the precise moment to response.

 Write notes of complaint in book;it will help in future.

 Use the possible language to calm down.

 If the situation is beyond handling; then refer to the senior.

 If still, he continues misbehaving then call the security.


(3) Distressed Type:

A server may find such guests; who often look like uncomfortable. Sometime they behave angry, sometime quite a silent, sometime with harsh gesture, posture and language they will show unhappiness with the surroundings.

In this case follow these steps:

Figure: Distressed guests

 Understand the situation and before they complain and ask them “Is everything all right sir”

 Try to find the reason why they are unhappy. It may be any personal problem to show distress.

 If still they are unhappy with services and facilities; then follow the restaurant SOP and tips to make satisfied.

 To adjust their mood; freebie like free drink or free desertscan be offered.

Who so ever these guests are, try to meet the standard of restaurant. As an hotelier all the time is prepare to serve any kind of guests.

Few of the situations may be very adverse sometimes, the waiting staffs or servers will have enough authority or empowerment to face the situations up-to their own extent. These kinds of practice not only solve day to day situations, but also help them to learn for the up gradation or promotions in their career. These activities must be observed by the superiors, as it may be out of control sometimes on the level of servers. In such situations quick action may be required, as no time to wait. All these incidents must be kept in noticing in record, as it would be helpful in the performance appraisal.

The incidents may be categorised into three categories: One may be from the Restaurant side;

second may be from guest side and in the third incident, there may not be any role of either the guest or restaurant. But in general, if the situation arises, it will affect satisfaction level of the guest and ultimately on business of the restaurant. Few of the incidents are very common in the restaurant for study of the situation handling:

A. From the restaurant side:

i) Wrong dishes have been served.

ii) In a group, dishes are wrongly served to the customer.

iii) Dishes has been served are spoiled.


iv) Dishes may be dropped by the server incidentally.

v) Illness of the guest may be observed.

vi) Wrong bill has been generated.

vii) Faults of Air-conditioners have been occurred.

B. From the guests’ end:

i) Dishes may be dropped by the guest incidentally.

ii) Over consumption of Alcohol.

iii) Nuisance behaviour of the guest.

iv) Unsatisfactory appearance of the guest.

v) Lost Children.

C. Situations of their own kind:

i) Lost property of the guest.

ii) Dealing with bomb threat.

iii) Accident.

iv) Dealing with doubtful items or packets.

Situation -1:

Wrong dishes have been served to the guest.

In some situations, the guest may not receive the dishes, what he/she has ordered. This happens generally in very busy and crowd appearance of the restaurant. In that scenario, the server should do the jobs in the following ways:

 Check the order given by the guest on KOT.

 Check with the kitchen department / Abouyer about the dishes have been dispensed from their end.

 Once it is ensured that the same order has been served to the guest, he/she will be informed that there is no variation in the process of serving the dish.

 Ask the guest, where he/she wants to have another dish or will continue.

 If there is any dissimilarity in the order and the served item, an apology will be made to the guest and requested to wait for the dish.

 Serve the dish with a proper insurance that not any mistake is going to happen.


Situation -2:

In a group, dishes are wrongly served to the customer.

In general situations, the guest in a group may receive the dish, what he/she hasn’t ordered. This happens generally in a situation when guests may interchange their seats or may be by fault of the server. In that circumstance, the server should do the jobs in the following ways:

 Check the order given by the guest with the seat number written on notepad.

 If it is served as written in the notepad, an assurance will be given to the guest.

 Otherwise if there is discrepancy in the order received and items served, an apology will be made.

 The item to be served quickly will be offered to the guest to be to part of the dining group.

 Soon the ordered item will be served to the guest with a proper insurance that not any mistake is going to happen.

Situation -3:

Dishes has been served are spoiled.

If the guest complains that the dishes served to him/her are spoiled and having odour, the server should do the jobs in the following ways:

 Remove the dishes with apologies and keep them on the sideboard.

 Offer the menu card to the guest and ask for the another portion of the same dish or something else to be served.

 Prepare a duplicate KOT mentioning ‘en place’ showing that the item is being returned with the same dish or new dish.

 Return the dish to kitchen with ‘en place’ KOT.

 Rearrange the cover of the guest on table and serve the replaced item or dish to the guest.

Situation -4:

Dishes may be dropped by the server incidentally.

In some situations, the dish may be dropped incidentally or accidentally. In that circumstance, the


server should do the jobs in the following ways:

Figure: Dishes dropped by the server incidentally

 Make an apology to the guest for the incident.

 Ensure that item has not fallen on the guest.

 If it is on the guest’s cloth, then offer a damp cloth tohim/her to remove the spillage.

 Otherwise, direct him/her to the cloakroom/ washroom, if required.

 Ask him/ her, if laundering is required, provide the services without cost.

 Clean up the spillage from floor by the help of housekeeping personnel.

 If the spillage is on table, then offer the guest another table.

 Get the food as soon as possible and served, when situation is under control.

 Offer any complementary food item to the guest to avoid any of the dissatisfaction.

Situation -5:

Illness of the guest may be observed.

As the food and beverage service is directly related to the health. It is not necessary always that the guest will feel illness in the restaurant just after the meal or during meal with the effect of same food or beverage. He/ she may have the food or beverage before arriving in the restaurant. But again if the situation arises like, in that circumstance, the server should do the jobs in the following ways:

 Observe and inspect the situation. If the guest wants a relax space, he/ she would be offered to sit alone in sofa. By this way the restaurant operation will not be hurdled.

 The supervisor or manager must be informed about the situation.

 If required, the in-house doctor, nurse or attendant will be called to assist observe the patient guest.

 If the guest wants to leave for home, the vehicle could be arranged and one staff may accompany as per the situation.

 All the incidents must be recorded in the log book or accident book for the legal purpose.

Situation -6:

Wrong bill has been generated by the outlet.

This kind of situation may happen in the restaurant by the mistake of cashier. In most of the cases, if the bill amount is high and error is less, the guest doesn’t notice about it. But if error is more prominent and guest complains about it. In that circumstance, the server should do the jobs in the following ways:


 Check the bill with KOT, match the items served to the guest.

 If there is any discrepancy, make an apology to the guest.

 Ask him/ her to wait. Create another bill and present to the guest.

Situation -7:

Faults of Air-conditioners have been occurred.

This situation may happen very rarely in the restaurant. In that circumstance, the server should do the jobs in the following ways:

 Check with maintenance department about the actual condition.

 If the problem is going to persist for a longer time, stop taking more booking in the restaurant and inform the guests sitting in-side for dining.

 Arrange the pedestal fans for temporary relief.

 Remove the service charges from bill, if the atmosphere was not comfortable for dining.

Situation -8:

Over consumption of Alcohol.

This situation is generally seen in the bar. If the guest consumes alcohol beyond the limit, it creates problems. Some of guest may behave differently as they become louder in voice and showing the abnormal behaviour; or they may feel and show uncomfortable behaviour in walking, speaking and even sitting in chair. In that circumstance, the server should do the jobs in the following ways:

 The guest should not be allowed to be part of the dining area.

 If guest enters in the restaurant, he/ she must be requested to leave the area.

 If the guest argues about it, the help may be called to remove him/ her from restaurant from other staff or security.

 If the guest is having the meal and then it has been noticed his/ her behaviour of over consumption, not any order will be served of alcoholic beverage.

 The incidents about any over consumption must be noted down in dairy for further reference.

Situation -9:

Nuisance behaviour of the guest.

Although it is notified at the entrance “Rights of admission reserved” that means the management can decide if they want to allow someone into their restaurant or not. It basically means that they


can prevent someone from coming into their restaurant if not dressed properly or if not behaved.

But if the situation occurs alike, in that circumstance, the server should do the jobs in the following ways:

 Check and observe the situation peacefully and come to an analysis.

 If the guest creates nuisance he/ she should be handle politely to be calm in the restaurant.

 Otherwise if the situation continues, politely asked to behave properly in dining area.

 The incidents about nuisance must be noted down in dairy for further reference.

Situation -10:

Lost Children.

This kind of situation generally happens with the age of two to six years of children in banquets.

Children may leave their parents or guardians just by playing with the age of similar age group. If the guest complains about child is lost. In that condition, the server should do the jobs in the following ways:

 Ask the detail of child like age, gender, features, colour of hair and clothing; the last place where they left.

 Inform the supervisor and security very immediately about the situation.

 Make an announcement in the hall about it.

 Check all public areas and possible areas where child may move alone.

 Inform the local police, if the possibility of finding is over.

Situation - 11:

Unsatisfactory appearance of the guest.

If the guest is not satisfied with any of the valid reasons in restaurant; either by food, atmosphere or service and refuse to pay the bill. In that situation, the server should do the jobs in the following ways:

 He/she may be given relaxation in the bill for the part of unsatisfied part of the service, but if the policy allows to do so.

 A report must be made regarding that incident.


Situation - 12:

Lost property of the guest.

If the guest complains about loss of guest property in that condition, the server should do the jobs in the following ways:

 Ask the detail of the item what is missing.

 Inform the supervisor and security very immediately about the situation.

 Check all public areas and possible areas where child may move alone.

 Inform the local police, if the possibility of finding is over.

Situation - 13:

Dealing with bomb threat.

If any kind of bomb threat is found in the restaurant, immediate action is require very patiently so that guests should not be too much panic. The panic situation may be more dangerous than of bomb threat. In this condition, the following steps should be taken:

 Inform the supervisor and security about the incident.

 Gently ask the guest to evacuate the concern area to the safe place.

 Guide all of the guests and other staff to follow the safety precautions to avoid fatal accident.

Situation - 14:


In general the restaurant is equipped with all the safety features to avoid any kind of accident for diners as well as for the servers. The server may face accident if he/ she are a very new employee, or if any immediate change in the area has been done. But if it happens with any guest or server, sudden first aid should be given.

 The item which caused accident should be mended to remove another possibility of accident.

 If accident is by the electric shock, immediately switch off the main supply.

 Inform the supervisor and doctor to visit the premises.


Situation - 15:

Dealing with doubtful items or packets.

Any suspicious object or packet found in the dining area in a crowded place is very common matter to deal, but some it may become hazardous. In that condition, the server should do the jobs in the following ways:

 Inform the security about the found item.

 Don’t ever try to open the packet.

 If someone showing the ownership of that item or packet, ask the detail of the item what is found.

 If satisfied with the guest’s answer handover with the signature in lost and found booklet.

Any other witness signature with proper identification must to be taken.

Some major principles of guest handling by the service personnel are explained here.

1. Mind Set up

2. Using Polite Language 3. Proper Listening 4. Remaining Calm 5. Showing Sympathy 6. Apology

7. Never blame others 8. No accuse

9. Not try to make your guest “Wrong”

10. Be honest 1. Mind set up:

Setting up own mind is important. Keep good faith to help customer. It has been said that

“Customer is the boss” or “Customer is always right”. So never take any complaints personally. Be professional and handle each complaint with professionally.

2. Using polite Language:

Use of language is the most important aspect of handling any verbal or written complaint. Talk in polite language with proper volume, speed and tone. Proper expressions should be made. Be professional and try to explain your point of view about the problem.

3. Proper Listening:

Proper listening is necessary for two reasons. First of all, if someone doesn’t listen complaints properly then he/ she cannot explain properly. Guest may become more aggressive. Let the guest


express feelings first then take your time, make your points and after finishing his part, start explaining.

4. Remaining Calm:

You may often find it difficult to remain calm to handle complaints but you have to be that. Just think in a logical way. Why guest become frustrated? Is it because of you? No. He is angry in the situation not at you. There is no personal clash. He is paying for having good services and as he is not satisfied so he has the professionally. But yes, if guest becomes so aggressive that security measures need to be taken then don’t hesitate.

5. Showing Sympathy:

Start with sympathetic words and expressions are the most advisable way to handle any complaints. If you show sympathy then you will get a psychological advantage. Guest will start feeling that you understand his feelings and you are very careful about him. Some catchy words and phrases can easily turn the hot & aggressive

6. Apology:

Often some hoteliers come to a solution that why should I apology to guest whereas I have no fault? Don’t think in that way. Whoever does the mistake, apology first. This does not mean that you agree on the complaint makes by the guest. It means that you feel sorry only for the reason that guest is not satisfied with your fact you should but at the beginning, seek apology.

7. Never Blame Others:

Never blame others or other department. All are your colleagues who are working as your team member and blaming each other will violet your team goal. In spite of blaming others take responsibility on your shoulder if possible to handle the complaint or call the proper person to deal with the situation but do not finish your job by just blaming others.

8. No Excuse:

Never excuse. No guest will love to pay to listen at your excuses. There are some common excuses like “today we are short of staffs”,“ we are very busy” etc. Each of the guests wants full attention to him. So for any reasons, even if it is logical, you should not try to get sympathy for that.

Excusing is not the proper approach explain it. If you are short of staffs explain it and show possible ways to solve it. From when you are selling your service from then it is your responsibility to be prepared

9. Not Try to Make your Guest Wrong:

It is told that guest is always right. Yes it is indeed. Even if your guest is wrong then do not directly make him wrong. Logically explain why you can’t fulfil his demand. This will represent


that you are really caring about your guest as a person and this will make your guest comfortable and be friendly to you.

10. Be Honest:

Be honest within yourself. Never give any promise which you cannot maintain. Also, do take follow up steps. Whenever a guest comes to you with any complaint then responsibility puts on your shoulder. Even you are not engaged with the complaint but you have to take regular follow up to finish the circle. Here circle means from where the complaint has been started, finished at that point.


In this chapter, we defined the various situations of situation handling. We also explained how they should be handled by the personnel working in the restaurant. An understanding of this chapter will help those are interested to take over the situation handling aspects in foodservice operation. This chapter will assist the learner to get the managerial skill by instant decision making practices.





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