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We’ve all visited a venue where there was something missing. No, not that fabulous cocktail, or a perfectly poured pint, but that excellent service that keeps you coming back, time and time again. So, what makes good service? And is there an art to it? Gourmet Traveller’s Maître D’ of the Year 2016, Andrew Joy from Melbourne, gives us some insight on how to up your service skills and make sure your venue is the talk of the town—for the right reasons!

I have been in the hospitality/service industry for nearly 20 years (which is sobering considering I’m only 38!) and one thing has always remained constant. From my time in wine stores to my current position running some fantastic venues for Chef Andrew McConnell, our guests and customers all want the same thing: good service. The art of good service has countless aspects and benefits, and if we can get it right, it ensures that our guests keep coming back again and again. While a subpar experience in regards to a product or a drink can be rectified with great service, this is not a reversible equation: bad service cannot be fixed with a great drink!

For something that is seemingly so simple, it is truly staggering how often it can be either forgotten, poorly delivered, overhyped, or simply not part of the landscape of a business to begin with. The art of good service often lies in the simplest of touches: being attentive, being aware (of both your environment and yourself), and being consistent. These are all small parts of the overall picture of good service, but the main focus should always be “what is best for my guests?”

We can break this down into four key aspects: preparation, environment, consistency, and awareness.


Always set yourself up to be able to interact comfortably and informatively with your guests. When it comes down to it, hospitality is all about one-on-one interactions, and it is important to train yourself accordingly.


The space that you operate in will certainly vary from one workplace to another, but there are some simple setups that can assist in creating a good service environment.


We talk about it constantly in the hospitality industry, and it’s often identified as one of the main ingredients of a great business, but consistency continues to be one of the most difficult aspects to manage effectively, particularly when it comes to service.


This is the aspect that most directly relates to actual service and interaction with your guests. Once service has begun, it is important that we put our "game face" on and completely engage with the task at hand: providing great service!