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How to increase tips – Tip 11

How to increase tips 11A mate of mine, Renato, and I were talking about this not too long ago, he brought up the topic of picking up extra tables and shifts. This is an easy way to earn more money, also when you do this “favor” for another server they find it more difficult to say “no” to a request from you next time like “Can I swap a shift around with you?” or if you’re in need of someone to take a shift of yours (and they aren’t already working) you can ask if they want to take it from you, remember, they owe you :).

Here’s a breakdown of what I’ll talk about on this topic:

  • Getting more shifts
  • Picking up tables
  • The difference between giving and swapping shifts
  • How much extra money?

Getting more shifts

So what do you do to get more shifts? there’s a few things you can do. Tell your manager or whoever does scheduling that your available to pick up more work. Don’t go in demanding, just let them know in a nice way that you want to get more shifts.

In the same style as above you can also let your fellow team know that if they need a shift covered so they can go out on the town and party their faces off, you would be more than happy to pick up their shift for them.

Another thing I like to do is write somewhere on the side of the staff schedule a little note something along the lines of:

Hey everyone I’m looking to pick up some shifts so if you want a day off let me know Nathan“.

Everyone who checks the schedule will see this and may decide while looking at the days that they are working that they might want to offload a shift onto you.

Picking up tables

There’s a couple of scenarios where you can pick up more tables during your shift. The first one is when another server is in the weeds because they were triple sat, and they need you to pick up one of the tables for them.

word of advice though, don’t put yourself in the weeds. If your already busy and do not have the time to pick another table on top of your already full section then ask if they can get someone else to pick it up, it’s okay to say no.

The second situation is when the opening server(s) want to leave early after the lunch rush for whatever reason, you can agree to stay for a few extra hours rather than being cut and working the rest of their shift for them. Same goes for the closing server(s) too, rather than closing they may want to switch to be cut early so they can go home or to spin class or something.

The difference between giving and swapping shifts

I’ve heard misinterpreted conversations between servers where one would claim that they “swapped” their Thursday shift for a Friday shift, and the other would swear that they were just “giving” the shift to them. It’s happened before where both server’s show up for that shift or neither show up for that shift.

If you plan to swap or give away a shift my advice would be that the both of you go to a manager and tell them about it so they can make the change on the schedule, plus this helps to eliminate the confusion or bad communication. If you are making these plans outside the restaurant then both of you should call into work (not during the lunch or dinner rush) and let the manager on duty know about the change.

How much extra money?

I’ll do a rough estimation of the extra money you can potentially make when picking up shifts or extra tables.

(As I said this will be rough)

  • Let’s say you work 50 weeks a year, part-time.
  • You pick up 1 extra shift every other week.
  • That’s 25 extra shifts a year, and each of those shifts you work 6 hours.
  • 5 table section in 6 hours turns over say just 2 times (low-balling).
  • That would be 10 tables, and let’s approximate a cover count of 30 guests (a mix of two-tops and four-tops taken into consideration here).
  • Let’s go for an average spend per guest of only $35.
  • $35 x 30 guests = $1050 in sales.
  • Divide that $1050 in sales by a standard 15% tip and your left with $157.50.
  • Don’t forget, you still have to tip out. Let’s say you have to tip out your bartender, busser, host and kitchen each 1% of your sales.
  • $1050 in sales divided by that 4% tip out is $42.
  • Then deduct your $42 tip out from your $157.50 in tips and your left with $115.50.

Hopefully you have made it this far after running through that mathematical gauntlet above. So after that whole rant your extra shift in the hypothetical scenario above made you $115.50. If you eat or have a drink after work your probably nailing it closer to $100.

I guess I could have made it easier by saying you could make $100 per shift without all the craziness above but I wanted to explain in-depth to those who are unfamiliar with the service industry how it works.

So working an extra shift every other week with the above average can earn you another $2,500 + 150 hours of wages per year. This doesn’t take into consideration if you picked up a few extra tables off some other servers while working your usual shifts that week. So it can be a lot more.

Now I low-balled the numbers so I don’t make it sound unrealistic and as I mentioned this is totally a hypothetically laid out scenario. It really could go either way for so many different reasons, but this gives you an idea of what you could potentially be pocketing for your extra work.

The last thing I want to say to you about this post on how to increase tips is that you should check out another post I wrote titled “Burning out – Know your limit, it relates to this tip.

Have a great weekend.


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