Travel & Gourmet

Why does service matter? 5 Best Women of Service sphere answer

They are managers, directors and maitre d’hotels and they are all women. They work as much and as passionately as men do but quite never have been talked about. But here comes their moment: because they deserve it. Today, 5 most talented women of the Service sphere share with us why service is so that important.
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Photo Credit: Pierre Monetta

Claire Sonnet (Louis XV by Alain Ducasse, Monaco)

At the restaurant Le Louis XV - Alain Ducasse, we work daily to offer the unique and personalized experience for our clients.

We are the ones who communicate on the behalf of our chefs, our suppliers, artisans and we highlight their savoir-faire, their creations. We must bring their works to life, tell their story with our own vision.

Our desire for the perfect experience at the Louis XV tends to offer a moment of harmony and exception where hospitality, service, sommelier’s work, cuisine and pastry creations all together find the right balance.

Attention to the customer is a subtle and very demanding art. Soft movements, precise gestures, the sincerity with which the service is performed transforms a meal into an experience with unforgettable memories. Human factor in service is the essential “ingredient” for a customer's “delight”.

Mentioning the words of a famous guide: "Going to a restaurant now means much more than going to taste a cuisine, it is also being charmed by a place, surprised by the attention, enthusiastic by a certain theatricality". Service makes its own perfect sense.

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Photo Credit: Stefania Giorgi

Ludovica Rubbini (SanBrite, Italy)

The balance of a restaurant is comparable to the human one: mind and body, in harmony with each other, are the manifestation of a harmonious person. If the kitchen is the mind, then the dining room is the body, the sound, the voice.

Understanding and attuning to each guest, perceiving their moods, their tastes, makes service an act of care. A strong sensitivity and an excellent empathic ability are required for this work.

Every gesture, movement serve to make guests part of your world. A dance.

Where dancers and choreographers, musicians and stage change shape and substance at each service because the protagonists change. The only ones who remain, with substance and passion are us in the dining room.

Ready to respond to every need, without having too many needs, never tired, smiling and never fake. We must be the sigh of pleasure of every diner, the smile of satisfaction of every guest. Invisible but necessary. The solution but never the problem, confident but never arrogant. Silent confidants of little gluttony pleasures.

At the disposal of everyone, without making preferences but reminding each of you that you are different.

 

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Photo Credit: Alberto Zanetti

Cristiana Romito (Reale, Italy)

Service determines the gastronomic experience. The customer who comes to restaurants like ours expects an affected environment and instead of this is surprised that here everyone smiles and talks. So, this dialogue with the personnel is appreciated, they are present and not intrusive. It is an aspect that strengthens our "family" style of welcoming.

For those who come to us or at a 3 * Michelin restaurant for the 1st time, it is necessary that the welcome makes them feel at ease. For regular customers there is the pleasure of being recognized, the delicacy of remembering certain particularities or tastes.

I try to give that kind of service which I’d love to receive when I go to a restaurant.

As for Niko's kitchen, simplicity is also a point of arrival for the dining room. What appears simple actually has behind it a work of subtraction, elimination. Every detail between the dining room and kitchen builds the whole experience. But to do this we must be invisible, but present, attentive but not intrusive. No need to surprise, on the contrary we must eliminate the more, arriving at simplicity.

I believe that the welcoming and the service are a real "Art of receiving": customers remember not only having eaten well or not, but above all how they were welcomed.

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Photo Credit: Matteo Carassale

Julia Ramos Colagreco (Mirazur, France)

I believe that service has always been a very important part of the dining experience, but today the evolution of gastronomy in general has made service more visible, relaxed and close to the customer.

Transmission and sharing are keywords for success as service in the dining room is the extension of what is done in the kitchen. We are the voice of the chef and the expression of his philosophy.

The clientele has also changed a lot, it is more curious, ready to discover and to be surprised. People seek to have an integral experience, especially when it comes to going to an important restaurant. This is when the universe that exists around the menu, service, the communication and the way of conceiving the service will become essential to make this moment a unique experience.

The beauty of perfect service is knowing how to understand each customer, adapt to their wishes and make sure they have an unforgettable time. I always tell my teams: we can catch up with a dish that is not to the customer's taste, but we can never make up for bad service!

 

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Photo Credit: Neolith by Pepo Segura

Cristina Losada (Enigma, Spain)

Many young people want to become chefs, but how many want to be waiters? Does only the kitchen matter or also the attention to the client?

The media needs to create new icons, new topics, now it is the turn of sommeliers and waiters. It is also called “revolution in the dining room”.

We have exchanged servility for attention, but the waitress/waiter no longer ports you the plates, she/he creates the experience for you. More and more service teams show they can be more loving and charming.

There are 4 keys to contemporary room service that make service important:

Proximity: being friendly is the new “must”;

Knowledge: it is important to convey to the diner what the kitchen wants to express and that goes beyond knowing the ingredients of a dish;

Complicity: the room staff must have a special ability to “read” the client;

Magic: the customer already assumes what and how he will eat, but what differentiates a good restaurant and a very good one is the atmosphere that is created and that the customer perceives as something special, out of the words.

Aline Borghese

 

The author Aline Borghese is an international journalist and critic of haute cuisine.

She is a graduate of the culinary schools of the Ritz Escoffier, Ecole de cuisine Alain Ducasse, La Cucina Italiana. Champagne and wine sommelier, cocktail enthusiast, gastronomic consultant and simply Bohémienne Affamée.

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