Though face masks may now hide the friendly expressions of restaurant staff, heart-centered service is appreciated more than ever. But before restaurants were ordered to cease dine-in service—when we were fine with dining within six feet of another table—the warmth and attentiveness of hosts, servers, and other workers have been key parts of the restaurant experience. And our readers wanted to recognize the hard-working staff at fine dining establishment The Red Onion in Saugerties.
“We pride ourselves on exceptional service and friendly staff,” says General Manager Jeffrey Beck. “Our philosophy is to give each customer a unique Red Onion experience, whether it’s for a special anniversary meal, a casual night out, or for a private party.”
What is it that makes Red Onion’s staff stand out to its devoted following, among other restaurants? “I like to think it’s our attention to detail, nonpretentious attitude, each team member’s unique personality, and relationships with the guests,” Beck says. He adds what he thinks makes a strong team member: “First, a positive, friendly demeanor. I often say I like to hire based on personality first because we can teach you everything else. That being said, food and beverage knowledge is important, and being able to know when to give attention when the patron wants it, and when to pull back when they don’t. It goes back to reading the table, and we have a very diverse clientele.”
But it’s not just about customer service; how employees vibe with one another is just as vital. “Being a team player [is key],” he says. “When the place is jamming and everyone is working together, it really reflects in the guests’ experience.”
Beyond claiming the top spot for service, Red Onion nabbed second place for Fancy Dinner and Steak. What does that mean in pandemic-era dining? With plans to open during Phase 3, the restaurant has removed tables to increase social distancing; added touchless soap dispensers and hand-sanitizing stations; and will be providing single-use menus, rolled silverware, wine lists on-demand; and more.
“We love our community and love what we do,” Beck says. “We strive to give each customer a personalized experience with great food and service. Also, we would like to thank our loyal customers for their continued support. We are honored to be recognized.”