Hopefully everyone has survived the black Friday sales thus far, and if you went shopping for a bargain I hope you got what you wanted.
In this blog post today on how to increase tips I’m going to write about regulars in restaurants. Every restaurant has regulars whether they be the type of regular who will come in once a week, or the regulars who you think you see there every day. Apart from frequency of visiting your restaurant there are different types of regulars like:
- The quiet regulars that come in to eat, have a drink, then leave with minimal interaction.
- The favorite regulars where all the staff knows their name, are genuine, great fun and tips well.
- The obnoxious regulars that when they walk in the door, they throw their hands up in the air and shout something like “It’s okay everyone I’m here!” and continues to be loud throughout their stay.
- The regulars that the only reason the staff knows their name or knows of them is because they are a high maintenance nightmare, always complains, and in the end leaves 6% on their bill.
For the most part regulars are regulars not just because they like the food (sometimes it is), but because of a collection of things combined that urge that guest to return over and over. If they get along with the staff, enjoy the ambiance, lives or works close by etc, any number of these together creates regulars.
I find that the majority of regulars (purely from my experience) fall under the friendly, fun and good tipping category. Like any table you serve you must read and gauge how each guest likes to be served, you’re not going to greet the quiet regular that generally likes to keep to themselves and constantly try to engage in conversation with them.
Paying attention and genuinely caring about your regulars is the best way to increase your tips. With most of my regulars they appreciate that I greet them by name, if they have a “usual” drink ask them if they would like one, but more important than knowing what they usually eat or drink is that I will try to remember something about that guest during their previous visit and bring it up in conversation.
For example, I had a regular that told me he was going fishing on the weekend, and on the Sunday was going to dinner for his nephews birthday. He skipped coming in the following week and when he returned the week after how do you think he felt when he walked in and our conversation went like this:
Me: “Hey Riley how are you? Did you manage to catch anything a few weekends ago?”
Riley: “My wife caught 4 fish and I caught 2, I’m still hearing about it 2 weeks later”
Me: “Haha, I bet she told everyone at your nephews birthday dinner too”
Riley: “She brought it up every half an hour”
Although to me this doesn’t seem like “work” and that I’m just engaging in friendly conversation, I know that Riley likes to have a chat and when he comes in with family or friends he always asks to be sat in my section, why do you think that is? Because he knows I care and don’t treat him just like a dollar sign, plus when he brings new friends he looks like a VIP in front of them. The best part about this is that I always get 25% from him, and he has told me it’s because I listen to what he has to say and I treat him like a person, and not some workplace obligation.
At the end of a post I wrote a while back titled “Saving your tips“ I mention that if you focus on and prioritize your guests needs and wants first, the money just naturally follows, it doesn’t happen the other way around.
It’s not easy remembering stories or previous conversations with regulars seeing as though we serve a lot of people each and every day, but if you’re able to remember just one small thing about something you talked about before with a regular, then you have a greater chance of increasing your tip because to them it shows that you care. You as a server can be the one responsible for creating a regular.
Have yourself an amazing weekend.