Depending on the size and the type of service, a moderately busy team can serve between 700 and 1400 covers a week. Despite your best efforts, with so many moving parts, mistakes can happen. When situations do arise, focus on fixing the error as quickly and seamlessly as possible.
How-to: Handle a Wrong Order During Service
Right after a mistake happens is not the time to argue about who was right or wrong. Take a moment to gather yourself, check your ego and leave any personal feelings aside.
We have all had something go wrong when dining at a restaurant; collect your thoughts about what happened. While this error might not be directly your fault, you are part of a team. Acknowledge the less than perfect experience to the guest, try to explain what happened without making excuses or oversharing. Then let the guest know how you will remedy the error.
Telling your floor captain or manager about this mistake can help you figure out your next steps. Trying to solve the issue yourself can have a snowball effect and may lead to more significant problems later in the evening or could result in a negative online review. Having a manager approach the table immediately can help change the dynamics of the situation and show the guests that they are important and will be handled with care.
Whether you’re telling the kitchen or the floor manager, be as concise as possible with your request: "I made a mistake with Table 10. I need one Tagliatelle for position three on the fly."
Pro tip: If you weren't able to speak with the kitchen to correct the mistake because they were too busy at the time, then, when service is slower, let them know what happened and apologize. Service is a team sport and letting the rest of the team know you understand what happened and appreciate them helping can go a long way.
Your manager will usually instruct you on what to do next; the customer may receive a comp depending on the severity of the mistake. However the situation is resolved, take it as a learning experience and then let it go. Keep your chin up and move forward so the rest of the night goes smoothly without errors.