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A restaurant expo, or expeditor, serves as an intermediate between customers and the kitchen staff. The expo position is a significant role, given that customer satisfaction depends heavily on how good he is at his job. This is a position that requires the individual to be both an independent decision-maker and a team player simultaneously. There are several responsibilities to fulfill as a restaurant expo.
The primary responsibility of a restaurant expeditor is to ensure that orders get to their table as quickly and accurately as possible. The expeditor passes customer orders to the kitchen staff; once they're ready, he inspect the dish to confirm that it complies with restaurant food quality standards. For example, if the restaurant hygiene regulations require food orders to be covered while being passed to customers, then the expo must ensure the staff does so. The expeditor then notifies waiters or waitresses to serve the orders to the appropriate tables. It is his responsibility to ensure a fast and smooth flow of work between the servers and the kitchen.
A food expediter must ensure that every service is delivered to the utmost satisfaction of the customers, which begins with ensuring that the restaurant atmosphere is clean and friendly. Some restaurants may require expeditors to perform server roles as well, which could include setting tables, clearing plates, arranging essential cutlery and greeting customers with a friendly tone. Expeditors also must ensure hygienic conditions in restaurant washrooms.
A food expeditor position requires a combination of skills, such as strong communication abilities and the ability to get along with a variety of personality types since the job requires working with restaurant employees and customers. An empathetic ear, willingness to help and a warm and friendly personality are also a definite plus. Upscale restaurants place emphasis on well-spoken English abilities and an aptitude for good food and wine. Experience in a fast-paced restaurant environment is also essential.
Expeditors work in high-stress environments where they must maintain a fast pace on a daily basis. Mistakes can cost in customer dissatisfaction, which sometimes can cost the job. Expeditors must handle a variety of behaviors — including irate customers, difficult restaurant staff and uncooperative supervisors — to ensure smooth process flow and a pleasant environment for the customer. This job can have physical effects, as well, as expediters may be required to stand for long hours and are exposed to hot kitchen environments on a daily basis.
Hailing out of Pittsburgh, Pa., David Stewart has been writing articles since 2004, specializing in consumer-oriented pieces. He holds an associate degree in specialized technology from the Pittsburgh Technical Institute.