Service 101: On Becoming a Service Guru

*Gasp!* A new job!

Things are about to start tasting a whole lot different around here.

I’m pushing aside the canned tomatoes and Italian fettucini, and stocking my larder with bottles of fish sauce and dried rice noodles! Why? Because after more than three years working at Mario Batali and Nancy Silverton’s Pizzeria and Osteria Mozza, I’m starting a new gig at a pan-Asian restaurant.

What will I be doing? I won’t be bartending or waiting tables. I won’t be managing, either. My title? Service Guru.

(Cue: Sound of excited GIGGLING)

As Service Guru, I’ll be head coach of a big plan to get employees excited about giving great service every day. And not just take your order and get you out the door on time kind of service. We’re talking about creating a service program that gives employees the tools they need to put smiles on customers faces, turn them on to new and tasty foods, and makes customers want to come back to the restaurant again and again. My new gig is, without a doubt, my dream restaurant job.

How this all happened is a result of getting focused, putting my goals up on a dream board (Thanks Jaden and Scott for inspiring me at the Food Blog Forum!), putting out positive energy, writing about service on this blog, and being in the right place at the right time. Now, after years of honing my craft as a restaurant professional, I’ve been given this great opportunity to focus on my favorite part of restaurants. In these next few months I’ll be doing a lot of strategizing, planning, teaching, and even more teaching. I’ll hold classes, take employees on field trips to meet food artisans, work side by side with every employee to make sure they’re a service rock star. I’ll create ways to connect with customers and make their dining experience the best that it can be.

It’s a bit of culture shock—leaving Italy for Asia—but I’m looking forward to the learning curve (i.e. lots of great new flavors and culinary history). It’s time for me to learn new things. Bubbling underneath my fascination for Italian cuisine has always been my love of Asian food.  Some of my earliest posts celebrated my love of Vietnamese Banh Mi, where to shop for Asian ingredients in Los Angeles, and how to make a simple edamame dip for game time nibbling. Living in LA has given me proximity to Koreatown, Thai Town, Japan Row, and even San Gabriel Valley’s Little Vietnam.

This week marks the very beginning of my journey as Service Guru. I can’t wait to share with you what I discover along the way.


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Food Woolf Written by:

Brooke Burton is an Los Angeles-based restaurant professional and hospitality expert. She is a freelance food writer, speaker, and co-author of The Food Blog Code of Ethics.


  1. June 9

    Congratulations on your new job. I can’t wait to hear more!

  2. You’re doing what you LOVE and are so GREAT in! They’re very lucky to have you on board. Looking forward to many more great things to come. Congrats.

  3. June 9

    You are a guru!! So excited for you. Congratulations again and can’t wait to hear more about it soon.

  4. Hooray!! Brooke this is so awesome, congrats! When you can divulge the restaurant let me know for when I’m in LA next 🙂

  5. Congratulations!!! Asian cuisines are so much more fun (and exotic), I am sure you are going to have loads of fun, and your job sounds like a dream job! 🙂

    Congrats again!

  6. June 9

    congratulations on realizing your goals & dreams! i can’t wait to read up on your blog about everything you get to learn along the way, too. How thrilling it is to have this new challenge ahead of you!

  7. June 9

    I am so proud of you lady!!!! I can’t wait to hear all about it and see the fabulous things that are coming your way! xoxo

  8. June 9

    Great news Brooke! That’s fantastic! I can’t imagine a person more well suited to that position. 🙂

  9. June 9

    Congratulations and good luck!

  10. Hey Brook, The new job sounds fantastic. Isn’t it wonderful when things go your way? Good luck on your transition from Italy to Asia, should be a fun challenge to explore the creative aspects of “the food guru” position. Couldn’t have happened to a better person.

  11. June 10

    Have fun on your new adventure!

  12. Nicole Verity
    June 10

    I have been to so many restaurants that SHOULD have a Service Guru but obviously didn’t! Congratulations and the best of luck to you!

  13. Just goes to show you that it’s possible to create the kind of work you love — something that won’t kill you physically either, compared to working in the kitchen or waiting tables. Good for you. Can’t wait to read more.

  14. Moe
    June 10

    So, so, sooooo excited! Welcome!!!

  15. I take it this doesn’t mean you have to sit on the mountaintop and wear homespun.

    It’s great to see you land a job that is so bloody perfect for your experience and your outlook.

  16. June 12

    Big congratulations! Way to go. Can’t wait to read about your experiences.

  17. johanna
    June 12

    good work!
    have fun!!!
    looking forward to the eastern insights!!

  18. June 18

    Cheers, Brooke! Your new job does sound dreamy. Looking forward to reading about your adventures. Yay!

  19. Motile
    July 24

    Congratulations and good luck! Thumbs up, and keep it going!

  20. […] 2010, a former employer agreed to give me a chance at being his first Director of Service or “Service Guru” for two of his Asian food restaurants. I wrote training manuals, developed and implemented service […]

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