What is Service Arts


World-class customer service arts advice and training for restaurant and hotel owners and managers plus servers — for over 25 years.  

what is service arts

What is Service Arts? 

Or Planning to Open a Service Based Business with

Greater Success and Less Stress…


Dear Future Millionaire


 You knew when you decided to open a restaurant or hotel that life taking care of others can be more rewarding – but also more challenging as well as expensive. 


Everything from concept, business plan, funding, menu creation, space, layout, permits and licenses, equipment, hiring and training staff, and advertising.


Yet, by following these simple suggestions, your openings can become as memorable as the rest of living life with a book of repeat business – who constantly recommend you to family and friends.


And if you are already a restaurant, hotel, or bar owner who recognizes that customer service level at your establishment, could be improved, reach out to me right now by clicking here.


1–Choose a Service Arts professional who has dealt with the issues you face.

Look for a wide array of professionals – preferably with programs catering to your specific needs. Not, a self-proclaimed guru who uses generic service arts templates from the 1990s and superimposes your business’s name into the margins – claiming it to be something custom just for you.


2–Choose a Service Arts professional who has been on the front line for years – and loves it!

You’ll be surprised by how many people claim to be Service Arts professionals who thought being a server or a bartender was beneath them. So what did they do? They became coaches and trainers. Not only are these guru’s charlatans, but the moment you meet them, you automatically feel their lack of authenticity. 


3–Watch out for Service Arts professionals claiming to “do it all”. Or, the dangers of one-stop shopping.

It’s a safer investment to place business in the hands of someone who specializes. Example: My Service Arts caters specifically to training your front-line service workers to appeal to your customer’s affection, intuition, and desire. This not only builds trust with your customers, but it makes them feel safe and protected. They will feel appreciated, and that they belong.


Once this is established, your customers relax, go with the flow, and spend more money with you as a result. I have seen firsthand businesses increase their annual profits by 30 to 80% within 18 months of implementing the tenets of service found within my carefully curated and tactical training in service and sales.


(When applied correctly, they will help you become more profitable, grow your business – and give you a level of freedom you have never enjoyed before.)


In addition, your front-line service workers will also benefit financially and become ambassadors for your business. When they do, everyone wins.


4–Who’s time are we on anyway?

Taking pride, giving exquisite service, and being willing to do it without being noticed is extremely rare. That’s why Eric Valdivieso makes it a point to help your front-line service workers understand the importance of a 2-hour turn.


If you aren’t already a restaurant or hotel owner, this has to do with elegantly turning tables to account for waiting guests without the guests noticing 2 hours have passed them by. It’s an art and science. (And very few know how to execute it).


You see, as a restaurant or future restaurant owner should know – if a table doesn’t maximize the number of guests it can seat in any given evening – sales and profits suffer. You might not make payroll, or pay your bills, and your servers won’t make enough tips.


I once heard one of my competitors say to a group of future servers, “We are on the customer’s time?” My mind was blown!
Think about that for a moment, and you’ll get the sense that the person who said it has an agency problem. Meaning, that he wants the job so he’s trying to appeal to the owner’s sensibilities about providing 5-star service. Fair enough. But let’s be realistic, please.


If a trainer in hospitality is looking to make an impact in the market then he needs to help the operator to make more money. If not, what was the point of the service training? Service alone won’t cut. And if you think it will, you can google Service Arts trainers and what you’ll find in their portfolio are far more projects that flopped (no longer in business), than ones still thriving today. You need more.


5–How did Eric Valdivieso help restaurant and hotels owners make more money?

Answer: He was on the front line – at the sharp end – in the trenches since 1992.


After more than 32 years at the very highest level in sales, starting from selling Kirby Vacuums Cleaners door to door at $1,700 a pop – to financing 28 million dollar home loans in NYC COOP’s to A-list stars, notables, and influentials – I can let you in on a few secrets:


1: Customers don’t care about brands anywhere near as much as brands think they do


2: Customers don’t want relationships with brands


3: Customers don’t want to engage with brands


4: Customers don’t want to join a conversation with a brand


5: Customers get pissed off if you irritate them with irrelevant content marketing about your brand


All customers want, is benefits and value. That underpins everything.


They will place business with people who give them that, together with confidence, trust, and high-quality customer care.


Most people don’t give a rat’s *** about the company’s purpose, brand identity – and even less about their mission statement.


So I focus on the customer. YOU, and your customer.


Warning: If you make it your sole purpose to take care of the customer, you may become widely successful. So consider working with someone who spent most of his working life taking care of the customer in a sales capacity (which could be the difference between success and failure).


6–Always make sure you differentiate yourself.

One man, Rosser Reeves, built a huge advertising agency by finding and promoting a kind of differentiation: he called it the USP – the unique selling proposition.


Rosser’s idea is simple: find one benefit nobody else could offer and hammer it down relentlessly. Of course, that may be easier said than done.


For example, you may not have anything unique, but there may be something you do that others also do – but don’t talk about.


A good example is perhaps Smirnoff Vodka. It couldn’t celebrate its flavor, but it could boast about its lack thereof. Vodka left no trace, so this eventually inspired the “Smirnoff Leaves You Breathless” campaign. Were they the only firm offering vodka that left no trace? No. They were just the only ones saying so.


What’s more, if others start talking about the benefit you’re promoting, they can even end up selling for you. That’s because you’ve fixed that particular benefit in people’s minds and they associate you with it.


And the more reasons you give, the better you do. So here’s a list of 21 things me and my team go through to pinpoint your Unique Selling Proposition:


Are you unique?
Better value?
The most trusted?
The friendliest?
The first?
The top seller?
The most tested?
Give quicker service?
The most advanced?
The latest?
The oldest?
The most loved?
The one experts prefer?
The most reliable?
More fun?
Sold in a special way?
Easier to deal with?
More helpful?


These are the 21 commandments that helps me to help you become the obvious choice to do business with in your community. My track record for knowing what to do to help you grow year after year in second to none.


7–A word of caution.

In today’s economic times, you need to address what people do not want to talk about (how to get the customer to spend more money with you) because if you don’t talk about it from the very beginning – it’s going to be a long road ahead for you.


I address this as soon as possible. And, together, we will craft an ethical customer buying journey with an effective beginning, middle, and end. The blueprint that has given so much to my clients – even allowing them to grow and expand into larger locations and even into multiple territories.


So there you have it. A few helpful hints to help you open a service-based business with greater success and less stress.
Now, if you’re an experienced restauranteur or even a relative beginner … and you think the business is not what it used to be …you’re not alone.


The hospitality business is slow across the nation. And many restaurants and hoteliers are struggling.


Although, according to a report from the National Restaurant Associations’ State of the Restaurant Industry report forecasts that restaurant sales will top $1 trillion for the first time ever in 2024 but also found some 38% of restaurants reported generating no profit at all in 2023.


The restaurant failure rate is difficult to track nationwide, but the National Restaurant Association estimates a 20% success rate for all restaurants and 80% fail within five years of opening.


Paul P. DiBenedetto, senior vice president, Franchise/Hospitality Segment leader, HUB International Limited, says “2024 is going to end up being the highest sales probably in restaurant history, but that will also be coupled with the highest costs in the restaurant industry,” he added.


This is interesting…


Plus, it’s been reported, that restaurant sales will also add pressure to find enough staff to meet the growing demand. The restaurant industry workforce is projected to grow by 200,000 jobs, for a total industry employment of 15.7 million by the end of 2024 (and here lies an opportunity).


You see, the people willing to learn, to try, to zig when everyone else is zagging, are the ones that end up eating the other guy’s lunch. That’s where Service Arts training comes in…


The average restaurantuer today earns a modest $73,257 a year. That’s higher than the national average for U.S. wage earners.


One restauranteur says that a decade ago, he was earning $115,000 to $145,000. And when we dug a little deeper we discovered that people, then, spent more per visit. Today, the average server walks over to a table of guests and waits, pen and pad in hand, for what they want to order. So the guest’s order is not surprisingly very ordinary.


But when your front-line service workers are equipped with the tools to make an impact, to guide and even orchestrate a guest dining experience – the per-guest check average goes through the roof. And that’s where we come in.


Everyone wants to make more money, but a vast number of Restaurants and hoteliers are struggling to survive in this profession. Many of the restauranteurs I speak with, a large number in their 50s and 60s say they are scared, angry, frustrated, and disillusioned with the hospitality profession – and worried about its future.


“I am burned out, beat up, and have been doing the same job for too long,” one gray-beard restaurantuer told me recently. “I am worried about having enough money to fund my kids’ college tuition and being able to live comfortably when I retire.”


The question is: how do you make more money in the restaurant and hotel business? Sitting around hoping that business will improve is not going to do any good.


The solution: add Service Arts training to your business.


Let’s face it, things are very different than they were in 2007, and business is not going to come to you the way it once did. You can’t afford to sit back and hope to do business as usual.


What you need to do now – is have your front-line service workers trained in the arts of service and – more importantly, sales.
Some restaurant and hotel owners have already done this and built their incomes back up.


Others enjoy an independent lifestyle simply empowering their people to think like owners, which allows them to effectively handle guests’ concerns, eliminating the need for high-paid managers (and Eric Valdivieso can help you better understand this industry-defining pivot to what is customary in the hospitality business).


A career spanning 32 years with several twists along the way


My name is Eric Valdivieso, and I got my first taste of food & beverage in 1992. I enrolled in Culinary School when I was 16 years old. Back in the day, I was the new kid on the block. Today, I’m a grizzled veteran who’s learned how to survive and prosper in changing and challenging times.


I built my business without the help of friends and family – from one person to a thriving business. Today, we train front-line service workers in restaurants, hotels, and even ultra-high-end jewelry stores selling high-ticket merchandise.


To cultivate effective selling, we deal in primitive human psychology and attack the very root of human motivation.


It all started in the early 80s when my Mom was applying for new jobs on Wall Street. She was working in accounting for Lehman Brothers at the time. She wasn’t happy and wanted a way out. I had walked past her as she struggled to write a fitting new resume that would attract employers.


Although my Mother had never specialized in writing or psychology in school, she knew even at a young age I had a knack for these two topics – connecting thoughts and finding words to produce the right action. So, she called me over and asked me to take a look at the resume she had created. I looked it over. Then, I reassembled it.


My Mom was well-educated, graduated from Saint Peters University in Jersey City, New Jersey, and worked as a corporate executive with Citi Group, commuting to Wall Street in Manhattan for about 10 years. She was smart, had a strong work ethic and high standards, and wasn’t afraid to ask for help. I suspect why she had risen to the top in her field so fast (she credits me for helping her get through the door). I appreciate that.


I used what I learned in English class with an insatiable curiosity for the inner workings of effective communication with people, which propelled me to the top ranking in the fields of my interest. Sales. Before long, I started selling Kirby Vacuums Cleaners door to door at $1,700 a pop – becoming the top salesman within 60 days of employment in a very competitive environment (my peers were in their 40s and 50s with families and mortgages – while I was just in my teens at the time).


Word spread and I started getting more and more sales job offerings at other major firms, but I decided to do some cooking because that was my field of study. So what happened? Well, I was unhappy in the kitchen, and years went by…and I decided I wanted to spend some time in the front of the house. So I did. And this is where everything clicked for me.


Based on the reaction people had toward me when I tried to sell – I categorized every beat with a note in the selling process when everything I did and said landed flawlessly and without objection. I created ‘The Valdivieso Method.


A simple setup, a moment, that the front-line server creates for the customer by elegantly interrupting them, engaging them, educating them, and then offering them your products and services. Done correctly, guests follow the front-line server lead, and the buyer becomes a convert of the experience. They tell their friends and they tell theirs – and the guest list grows and continues to grow. (This does not have to do with serving from the left and clearing from the right although of course that is covered).


No, we go beyond the basics of smiling, puttng your hands behind your back, and teach your front-line how to make an impact. A meaningful impact, that has nothing to do with guru theory – and everything to do with dealing in the real world with real people just like me and you.


How I changed the course of my career and re-invented myself as a serving professional


After taking some time off and participating in a few entrepreneurial ventures, I decided to return to the hospitality industry and, rather than face the same issues as before, I decided to “reinvent” myself as a serving professional.


One of my main functions in our hospitality business had been reviewing interactions and I had always wondered if I could make a better impression and impact on the guest. I enjoyed what I had learned in table service at Culinary School – but it seemed like the ideal way to use my experience without the responsibility of being a manager running a team or being pressured by owners.


I ended up accepting a position on the front line as a server in a restaurant. While there, I was able to observe thousands of interactions the guests had with other servers. I learned a lot and was paid pretty well but I knew it would only be a matter of time before I would go back to work for myself, so after a few years I left and started my own company solely coaching and training other service professionals.


Some believe that I have an “innate” business sense, but it’s mostly a matter of experience and good mentorship. But I will say this: I have invested a lot of time and money learning how to be successful and, in particular, how to use marketing techniques to bring in business. And much of what I learned I used in starting this new company.


I’m also savvy enough to know when it’s time to “make a move”. So when my best childhood friend Chris became a managing director of a Wall Street firm I called him and made plans to get together, believing he might be able to get my coaching and training approved to do work for his firm.


Thankfully he was able to provide me with a lot of contacts and coaching work for some time.


I’m well-connected and constantly monitoring the pulse of the industry and I can tell you, now is an opportune time to get your front-line service workers trained in service and sales.


The latest pandemic has brought about changes in the way people dine; these changes practically guarantee if your people are prepared, you and your place of business will be highly regarded and talked about because so many others simply do not care and it shows. Winning the customer today is easier than you think.


One reason for this is that customers everywhere have started to demand more, to some degree because of past problems with certain types of restaurants and hotels – who conduct business as usual when what today’s customers want is actually business ‘unusual’.


A good deal of attention is paid to the business that cares, and I don’t mean lip service care – but shows that it cares through its willingness to invest in its people. Believe me customers today are smart and know immediately if your people are happy or not.


In fact, one owner of a 20-year-old restaurant in New York indicated that, for the first time, they will begin using independent trainers due to competency requirements, in order to leverage themselves and save money. Realizing that people who specialize, why yes more expensive, can do a better job, and in the long term turns out to be an investment rather than an expense.


Today there are many sources providing consultancy in hospitality. I’ll reveal where I get my work a little later in this report.


8 reasons to add service and sales training to your business


Service Arts and sales used to be somewhat of a mystery to me. But over many years, I learned a lot about this unique and profitable niche.


Like everyone else, I started in the field. Not long afterward, I found myself helping run a high-volume shop and, for some time now, I have worked solely doing service and sales work.


From my experience, I can tell you that the service arts and sales end of the business has a lot of advantages over the traditional line items you focus on in your restaurant or hotel business:


1–To begin with, there is less competition, because fewer than 15% of restauranteurs and hoteliers do any type of training at all. So I can offer a service that my competitors don’t know much about. 


In fact, of the 749,404 restaurants and 107, 902 hotels operating in the U.S. today, only 10% have their own in-house service and training department. And you won’t be surprised to know that they outperform their competitors 800 to 1. 


2 — There is no pressure and much less liability. Best of all, by hiring an outside service and sales consultant like me – you mitigate your overhead by reducing the number of people you have full-time on your payroll. And since an outside consultant is treated with respect and as an expert—you improve employee retention. 


3– You get more qualified people in the hiring pool. What comes with an independent service and sales specialist like myself are your people speaking more positively to their friends and family about where they work. Service Arts.


4– No chasing after the right candidates as your current employees will do all the heavy lifting for you. Passionately urging people who they will endorse to you as a potential new hire to “behave,” and “don’t screw up” because “this is a great place to work”. Service Arts.


5– It’s a self-regulating system.


6–Offering outside service and sales training can provide you with additional income as employees are more prone to taking any outside training as an investment you have made in them. And that, may not be stated to you by your employees directly, is, very much appreciated. It shows you care. Service Arts.


7– Minimal start-up costs. You would be surprised by how affordable the training can be. All you need is a room, your employees, and me.


8– Independent service and sales trainers like me have flexible work schedules. I can schedule a seminar, workshop, or speaking event at a time that is convenient for your schedule.


Would you like your front-line service workers to provide a more intuitive service for your guests?


My work consists of dealing with primitive human psychology that attacks the very root of human motivation.


How do you think your business would grow and transform for the better if your people were truly taking care of your guest’s greatest human needs?


Your people will be learning from an “old school roll up your sleeves” type of guy. The kind of guy that gets results.


I want to make this point: I spent the past 32 years on the front-line, practicing and perfecting service and sales skills and I am confident that I can help individual servers become better, more professional and, as a result, earn you significant rewards.


“I have made a career, building solid relationships and guest books – and helped teams discover the real purpose of their work. Exceptional hospitality creates loyalty and inspires people to dine with us again and again. When they do, everyone wins “


For a behind the scenes look at what is available to you please visit my website. Details here: What is Service Arts


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About Me

Eric Valdivieso has over 25 years of sales and showmanship experience, including 5 years of film and theatre training and 9 years of table service, in high-paced and competitive environments. 

He helps restaurant and hotel owners and managers cultivate experiences that people talk about, and seek out. 

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Jonathan Tisch

CEO Loews Hotels & Co-Owner of the New York Giants

“Over the last few years, my family and I have had the pleasure to watch and enjoy, as Eric Valdivieso, nightly deliver a dining experience that is truly enjoyable. From the moment that we are welcomed by Eric at the door, to sitting at the bar and enjoying the suggestions and company to an amazing dinner, it is always one of our favorite nights. And Eric graciously and seamlessly choreographs this entire experience, without breaking a sweat. Eric truly understands hospitality, and what makes a great restaurant so great.”