“To receive guests is to take charge of their happiness during the entire time they are under your roof”  

Brillat-Savarin, 1825

Before we can have guests, it’s important to...

...be here!

...look your best!

...be prepared!

...know your stuff!

…be fun!

Paying close attention to opportunities to make people happy at each point of their experience.

On the Phone

Often times the first interaction with a guest is at this point.  Remember that a smile comes through the phone!!!  Answering within the first 3 rings shows the guest that they are a priority to you and that we care about their business.  Introducing yourself shows that you are proud to be associated with the restaurant.

A pleasant greeting may sound like this:

    Thank you for calling Icehouse, this is {insert your name}.

Part of providing an experience for the guest, is knowing what the guest wants us to know.  Gathering information is your contribution to leaving an impression on the guest.  Please inquire to the pertinent information such as last and first name, telephone number, and perhaps anything of note that might be helpful to others taking great care of them.

In closing, confirm what you’ve learned from your conversation and show gratitude for the call.

Our Venue

The Icehouse that almost all seasoned Minnesotans recall is the Cedar Lake Ice Company on 2528 Nicollet Avenue. The company began the seven year job of making the warehouse in 1889. The original Cedar Lake had many ups and downs with numerous lawsuits and robberies. In the end Cedar Lake Ice Company harvested an average of 75,000 tons of ice each year. The ice' carving season began on the first day of January and continued through February. This whole process was made possible by over 500 hundred horses that the company owned and took to St. Paul and back each day. However, if you spoke to the people that remember it the most they would probably just recall the ice chunks broken off and thrown to nearby children chasing after the horses to get some ice to cool them off on a hot summer day. 

Everyone feels welcomed at Icehouse!!!  They should be struck by its unique design and the overall cleanliness.  You can be very proud of the environment that is yours to work in and represent at every turn.  Seeing the venue through the guest’s eyes will help ensure that we leave a mark.

Mise en Place…everything in its place…the lighting in its place, the music in its place, the tables and chairs in their place, the wares in their place, the people in their places.  Knowing the importance of being prepared to welcome each guest as our first, everyone is responsible and takes pride in our workplace.  We worked hard to create one of the most aesthetically pleasing spaces in town with some of the best food, drink and music the Twin Cities has to offer.

At the Front Door

Entry into the restaurant is kept clean and tidy, free of clutter or distractions.  Remember that you are on display in the window.

Clearly understanding the flow of the restaurant and planning for a “win” is in your hands.  Every shift should begin with a review of all reservations; to highlight special menus, celebrations, or anything else of note that would be helpful in creating a mind blowing experience for the guest.  Knowing that each table will turn in the amount of time that you need and that you are prepared for each guest’s arrival will also ensure that they are happy (and your night goes well).  

    A smile welcomes everyone and is an important part of receiving guests into Icehouse.

    Friendly questions upon their arrival may include:

(Hello, Good afternoon, Good evening, Welcome), ........{something about dining with us or holding a table}

Escorting everyone to the table is interactive and fun for you and the guest, please include whenever possible casual greetings and stories about our restaurant and its rich history.  Inquire into the frequency of their visits, anything of note that you could share with the server, etc.

Presenting the guest with their final destination is like offering them a seat to their very first concert or performance.  It should be special for them and they should be comfortable before you excuse yourself.  Perhaps dazzle them with your knowledge of the menu and a few of your favorite items that they may enjoy.

During each trip through the room, gather information that will be helpful in providing the best guest experience.  Knowing about each table will support your initial plan for a win.  It is also important to be mindful of how each of your cast members are handling the way you’re executing that plan.

Showing appreciation for each person that enters the restaurant, and expressing that, is critical to the success of Icehouse.  Thank your guest for choosing this restaurant and make sure they know that you will ensure their happiness so long as they are under this roof.

*At the beginning of your shift, please take a moment to do the following:

-Turn off your cell phone please

-Secure server section assignments from the manager prior to first server arrival

-Review large party or table movement needs, assign tasks as necessary prior to service

-Print a copy of reservation report for the kitchen

-Review guest comments and communicate as needed

-Sweep clean the entry way and sidewalk

*During your shift, please take a moment to do the following:

-Remove all imprints on the glass in the entry way

-Collect menus dispersed throughout the restaurant

-Facility checks (paper available & debris removed)

-Discard rubbish in depository

*At the end of your shift, please take a moment to do the following:

-Discard any and all reports from day and pass along any messages taken

-Enter any findings that can leave an impression during guest’s future visits (birthdays, drinks preferred, food items enjoyed, etc)

-Throw away any menu that does not represent Icehouse well

At the table or bar

The most important step in ensuring a positive experience is a timely and friendly greeting to the restaurant.  In order to set the tone of the visit, please make certain that your guests know you are available to them within the first minute of their arrival.  They will be grateful to know that they have been recognized and have someone they can trust to take them through their brunch, lunch, supper, snacks, drinks, or show.

*if for any reason you are not able to make this initial introduction, please entrust this upon a fellow server, host, wait assistant, manager, or anyone else that may be available.

Building a relationship with your guest starts with creating a sense of comfort and caring.  Show your guests that you care, by welcoming them and introducing your support team.  By now, you should have collected or been given information from the front door in regards to the guest(s) that are seated.  Let them know that you will be responsible for their well-being for the time they are sitting in your area and that you will have several others helping to make sure everything is perfect.

    Ways to introduce the experts may include the following:

(Hello, Good morning, Good afternoon, Good evening, Welcome), ........{thanking them for coming in, introducing yourself if okay with that, describing how you will take care of them, use of the iPod, server assistant’s & runner’s role, etc}

Water is an essential part of living, as you are welcoming other members of the team that are helping you, now would be the appropriate time to offer bottled water service or have your wait assistant pour for the table.

The guest will feel most at ease once they’ve received the first beverage of their choice (or of your selling based on knowing your guest through the introduction or previous visits).  Prior to leaving the table at your first stop, be sure to have provided the opportunity for them to order that from you and having lead them through a brief tour of the menu, maybe even having offered or suggested that they start with a 1st course from the kitchen while they are deciding on the rest of their evening.

*If there are children present, the parents would very much appreciate if you offered to take an order to get the kiddos started on something....happy children make for a happy experience for everyone!!!

To set their mind at rest, please deliver the first beverage of choice within 5 minutes of their decision.  This will allow you time to educate and wow them with your knowledge of the menu and them the chance to feel relaxed and settled in from their day.

During this time at the table, after you’ve placed beverages appropriately from the right of the guest whenever possible, you may take them through their menu and how best to enjoy the visit to Icehouse.  It’s important to understand how they like to dine and how they will be served by you for the remainder of the time.

After they’ve made their initial selections, be certain of the timeliness in entering this for the kitchen to produce.  A first course may take up to 12 minutes (subsequent courses may take up to 20 minutes) and the guest should expect it to arrive shortly thereafter, delivered by you or a worthy and capable runner.  If for any reason you believe it has been longer, please inquire politely with the kitchen as to show that you are managing the guest’s experience well and ensure the food is of great importance.

Possible inquiries may sound similar to:

“Excuse me chef, I want to make sure that I am keeping my guests informed and wonder how long before they can expect this course.”

“Excuse me chef, I placed an order for said item <insert exact time> and would like to return to run it.  Please let me know when I should do so.”

Preparing the guest for what’s to come can be magical and exciting for everyone.  Use the wares to remind them that they should look forward to what will arrive.  Clearing everything unnecessary to make way for the necessary is also important, be sure to wait until everyone is finished to begin the process.

Upon placement in the window, bring selections out to the table and deliver to the appropriate person, in proper fashion, place items from the left of the guest and with open hands whenever possible.

Guest satisfaction of items selected is of utmost importance.  Please check back with them within 2 minutes of delivery.  This allows for you to ensure happiness but also to resolve confusion, if any.

*We are fortunate enough to enjoy fantastic entertainment, often times before, during, and after a guest’s experience.  Please gently remind the guest of the support for our artists and the cover charge that can simply be added to the guest check

Providing closure to the experience should be grateful and appreciative.  Placing the payment request face down discreetly will allow the guests to determine who and how payment is made.  Expedient processing of payment will show your attentiveness and may provide opportunity for you to take special care of another guest in your area.

Thank your guest for choosing this restaurant and make sure you know that you’ve made them happy for as long as they were under this roof....everyone leaves that way no matter the happenings during their visit.

Lastly to their experience, report back any findings that can leave an impression during future visits (birthdays, drinks preferred, food items enjoyed, etc).


*At the beginning of your shift, please take a moment to do the following:

-Turn off your cell phone please

-Brew/Check coffee and water bottles

-Detail tables in section…silver polished, glassware spot free, linen folded properly

-Set and light candles on tables in the evening

*Everyone in this role is responsible for the following prior to checking out with a manager:

Roll silverware

Reset section

Polish glassware

Those of you cut one…

Stock thermal paper at printer stations

Fold replacement napkins for side stations

Restock share plates in side stations

Restock replacement silverware at side stations

Fill salt and pepper at side stations


Those of you cut two…

Restock the coffee station, alert manager if any product is running low

Break down the coffee station and ask closers how much coffee they need to finish service

Break down the tea station and leave a pitcher for the closers

Take any full glass racks to the dish pit


Those of you cut three…

Break down the brown water bottle chiller

Take out the linen basket

Pull the floor mat from the server area

Take any full glass racks to the dish pit

Empty the dump sink


Those of you cut four…

Bring all clean dishware to the line and stock appropriately

Restock share plates at side stations

Restock glassware at side stations

Check with closers for any additional duties


*At the end of the shift, please take a moment to do the following:

-Check table tops for debris

-Polish remaining glassware and silver

-Wash dishes leftover

-Ensure there is no standing water/moisture

-Dump and clean ice tea machine

-Disassemble espresso maker, wash parts, return to machine

-Remove and store candles

-Restock service areas

-Fill bean grinders

-Store air pots with water in them

-Drain cambro cooler to store water bottles

-Stock dry goods as needed

-Remaining ice melted

-Clean sink drains

-Wipe stainless

-Stock any wares from final dishwashing

-Empty ladies room bins

-All trash& recycling collected and taken to dumpster


It is important as a team that we look out for one another and set each other up for success by fulfilling our commitments.  The above responsibilities are in place to ensure a positive guest experience.  Thank you for playing your part!




In the kitchen or on the floor

Best supporting role by an actor/actress, goes to…..you!  It’s your responsibility to ensure that each guest has everything they need and that every “Actor(ess)” at the table is able to shine.  This is a critical position in the restaurant and provides a safety net for each guest’s happiness.  Providing timely support and service to the guest’s area will show your genuine interest.  

Preparing the guest for what’s to come can be magical and exciting for everyone as noted earlier.  Use the wares to remind them that they should look forward to what will arrive.  Refilling water throughout the guest experience provides a palette wash as well as our attentiveness.  Please be mindful of not touching the guest’s glass while pouring them water…once they’ve handled an item…it belongs to them until being cleared for washing.

If passing through the expo line (or perhaps scheduled to be there), upon placement in the window, bring selections out to the table and deliver to the appropriate person, in proper fashion, place items from the left of the guest and with open hands whenever possible.  In an effort to make certain that all guests at the table enjoy their experience together, complete orders are to be taken from the window unless you can see the final plate being built.

Clearing everything unnecessary to make way for the necessary is also important, be sure to wait until everyone is finished to begin the process.  Entering from the guest’s right when allowable, is most appropriate in service.  A deuce can be cleared completely by a single person.  A three-four top can be cleared by one additional person.  And so on.

At Icehouse, we want to allow as many people as possible to enjoy our experience.  Orderly resetting of tables is a must in accommodating.  Be certain that you are well prepared to efficiently prep tables for the guest’s placement.

In addition, there will be time in between guest arrival and their departure that will give opportunities to keep your area of responsibility kept and functional.  Please be certain that every inch of the restaurant is such that you’d be able to offer a tour to a guest at any time.


*If you are in these roles, you will be responsible for:

Turning off your cell phone please

Cleaning Green Room

Wiping down the line

Emptying the dish area

Cleaning all glass & tile walls

Cleaning Chef’s table window

Organizing dishes

Stocking to-go supplies

Sweeping floors on the line

Roll up towels

Line plates with black napkin

Check out with bartender, server, chef and manager

Offer the kitchen staff a beverage 

 *Supplemental side work for patio season:

Prior to seating guests:

    Empty ashtrays into dish room, wash and return

    Dispose of rubbish in depository

    Maintain plantings

    Remove imprints from door glass

    Wipe clean& stabilize the tables and chairs

    Spot scrub patio flooring

After last guest has enjoyed the area:

    Stack chairs and tables

    Secure all furniture with cable and lock

    Return lock key to manager

    Sweep patio area and stairs

    Dispose of rubbish in depository

    Spot check for left silver, napkins and glassware



Thank you for being a part of the success of Icehouse!!!!