Home > Food handling, Food preparation > SafeFood© and Customer Service

SafeFood© and Customer Service

Have you ever debated returning an improperly prepared food item to a restaurant kitchen – hesitating because of fear a staff member will express their frustration by spitting on your food or the like?

There are bad stories out there about people working in retail foodservices who probably don’t have the customer service gene in their DNA. Face it, actual physical and technical skills can be taught – like how to serve and clear, refill beverages, or knife skills. Training that will result in changed attitudes is difficult. Incentives (such as tips) might work to a certain degree but I don’t think are the answer. A fundamental desire to help others is needed by staff in service industries, including restaurants and hotels. Matching the person’s Knowledge Skills and Attitudes/Attributes to the right job is the crux of human resources management. How do you know whether a prospective employee in the service field has the right stuff? Many HR offices in the corporate world employ actual tests during the interview process – some very openly, such as personality tests or some that are more discrete, like how many drinks, if any, are ordered at a meal, and which meal).

For a line level position, maybe it isn’t worth the cost to administer a standardized test, but there are some clues that surface about a person’s emotional intelligence and people skills – a manager has to be alert to these. Does the interviewee have a genuine smile? Do they make eye contact? What is their sincerity level? Can they sense if someone needs help – and do they feel inclined to offer it? Hiring the right person for the right job can save headaches – for managers and customers, and avoid having a toxic personality as part of the team. Keep the service in the service industry!



Catherine Hemphill Strohbehn has been a faculty member at Iowa State University in the Hospitality Management Program for 30 years. She is a State Specialist with Human Sciences Extension and Outreach at Iowa State University. As part of her work, she conducts research, develops educational materials and provides programs to help retail foodservices use their resources effectively and ensure safe food is served. Cathy is a registered dietitian with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and a Certified Professional in Food Safety from the National Environmental Health Association.

More Posts

Food handling, Food preparation , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *