John David Macon, server for eight years
Where to find him: Shuko, New York City (since 2015)
“Making the guests feel comfortable is one of the most important responsibilities of a server,” says John David Macon, who has been a server for eight years, the last year at Shuko in New York City.
“I believe that in order to make a guest feel welcome, (offer) a greeting with a genuine smile and, if possible, refer to them by name. Also, if they are repeat guests, it's nice to welcome them back.” Macon says he tries to read the guests to align himself with their mood and expectations. “If they have any restrictions or worries, I reassure them that everything will be taken care of on our end. And, of course, follow through with that reassurance,” he says. When suggesting menu items, Macon first asks about dietary restrictions, allergies or strong dislikes, then suggests items he personally enjoys.
“Read the guests,” he says. “If it's a group of business men having a business dinner, recommend shareable starters and maybe even luxurious items like shellfish bouquets, Wagyu beef or white truffles.” During departure, Macon thanks his guests, invites them to come back and tries to integrate something personal he’s picked up on during the meal such as their name, hometown or funny stories.