Jorge Maidana is TIQA’s Front of House Manager

I arrived at TIQA after spending years in white tablecloth restaurants. We do not have tablecloths at TIQA. This does not mean we cannot or should not strive for 5-star service, I want our guests to be wowed by the service.

Danny Meyer, the restaurant industry’s service legend, said this:

“Hospitality will not succeed unless the person on the receiving end knows all the way to the bottom of their kishkes [Yiddish for guts] that you’re on their side.”

My roll here at TIQA is to guarantee that everyone on our front-of-house staff is “on your side.”

I was asked recently what sets TIQA service apart and I realized that the small touches we emphasize are what truly set us apart. For instance, our servers will never say something like “hey guys what’s up” and instead you will hear “Welcome to TIQA, how are you today.” This extends to things like not asking “are you still working on that” and other similar things you hear. It is amazing how asking a guest “May I offer you another glass of Cabernet” instead of “do you want another glass of wine,” truly elevates the experience.

Restaurants owners who I have had the pleasure of representing have obsessively placed one thing above everything else— creating experiences that exceed customer expectations. It makes sense, the meal can be great, but if service is below par, then there is a good chance that A) you will not return and B) you will not speak favorably of your experience. We work hard to remember at all times that this business is focused on the customer.

The research that Chefs Bo and Derek put into the menu needs to be followed through at the front of the house. Our servers study the menu and receive private menu tastings. They are provided ingredient lists and expected to learn about our Pan Mediterranean dishes. For instance they need to be ready to answer customer questions about what exactly makes our Maine Lobster dish a Tunisian preparation. We want you to learn a little about the Pan Mediterranean as you dine with us.

Also I teach our staff to listen and observe as they approach the table, because I want the service style to conform to each guest. For instance, if you are here for a romantic meal, then we will be present and almost invisibly take care of your every need, so you can enjoy your privacy

I am a dad with two small kids. My wife is from NH and we met working in the same NYC restaurant. We feel very lucky to have landed in Portland, Maine, a city known far-and-wide for its dining scene. I am putting my personal touch on things here at TIQA and customers are enjoying the experiences we create. Great service completes the experience. I hope you agree and I would be happy to hear your thoughts on this topic.

On your next visit, ask to say hello to Jorge.

Enjoy your meal!