There is no denying that being a server at a restaurant is a tough job. There are sometimes hundreds of customers that need to be dealt with each second. The best servers tend to be good mind-readers and multi-taskers but that is hard as well. While your personality as a waiter or server plays the most important role in your service quality, there are some other factors that can be learned. So if you are someone who wishes to turn their ordinary services to extraordinary, you might want to look at these tips from the pros in the industry.
Improving service by connecting with your customers
Connecting with your customers is the first hack for improving your service. Although it can be a tough task to do so while there are millions of other things running through your mind, it is a tried and tested way of providing the ultimate dining experience. Some waiters and servers tend to treat each customer the same way. Infact, each customer wants to be treated special, since they have different demands and preferences. Those who succeed in fulfilling those demands and needs not only improve their services but receive a generous tip at the end as well.
With that being said, you should start by introducing yourself by name. Several studies have been conducted on the subject that those waiters and servers who introduce themselves by names tend to increase the percentage of their tips. Sometimes, even telling a joke can significantly improve the dining experience, which might lead to heavy pockets.
Service hacks using personal experiences
Waiters and servers use a strategy called upselling that involves them recommending higher-priced items based on the likes and preferences of the customers. Great upsellers try to discover the customers using discovery questions. This allows them to learn more about the guests. After listening to their views, the waiters or servers recommend items from the menu that most likely match.
This is where the waiters or servers can also use their personal experiences to upsell. For instance, instead of asking whether the customer would like a glass of wine, ask whether they would try a new wine you had tasted earlier and approve of its taste and quality. You can highlight its features and how it will improve the dining experience. This approach/strategy works most of the time since you are sharing your personal experience. And if the experience stands the same for the customer as well, you are in for a good tip.
Never make assumptions
Some very good waiters or servers out there sometimes tend to make assumptions that cost them heavily. A good server or waiter does not assume anything until and unless it is typed into the sales system. You need to remember that waiters and servers are the encyclopediae of the restaurant. You need to be ready for questions related to new menu items, appetizers, and personal favorite dishes. Furthermore, you will need to engage in a conversation with customers to understand what they like and what you can offer. Take time to make a connection with the customer so that they feel heard and valued.
Reading the body language
As mentioned earlier, good waiters and serves tend to be good mind readers. With that being said, they can read the body language of the customer as soon as they walk in as well. While improving your service, the ability and skill to read the body language of the customer are important. This helps you determine the mood and potentially the way a customer might react to your questions or suggestions.
If you feel that the customer is moody, then you might want to avoid hurling questions at them. You should give them time to settle and feel comfortable before they order. Maybe throw some appetizers to uplift their mood.
However, if they seem friendly and already in a good mood, you might want to start with how their day was and what special occasion brings them to your restaurant.
Learn from the seniors
Learning from your senior colleagues is probably the most successful hack to improve your service. Even if you are already talented at what you do, there is always something important and valuable for the seniors to offer. You won’t find such hacks in books or over the internet. The reason is that your senior colleagues have spent a sufficient amount of time serving customers of every type. They know how to serve 19-year olds as well as 60-year olds. However, this is also where most waiters and servers fail. They ignore and decline to pick up anything from their senior counterparts.
If being a waiter or server is your first job, then you should be as close to your senior colleagues as possible. They might be tough on you but you need to hold on. The experience, knowledge, and skills will play a crucial role in becoming one of the top servers and waiters out there.
Lastly, accepting feedback and working on it to improve yourself is an excellent hack. At the end of the day, you should be open to positive criticism and accept constructive feedback. Sometimes as a waiter or server, you might not notice things that are quite visible to others. Instead of making them your permanent shortcomings, you should correct them at the beginning. This will help you overtake some of the best in the business without spending too much time, practice and effort.
The above-mentioned hacks for improving service are some top-notch tips from the most seasoned waiters and servers out there. The ability to read customers and knowing the menu goes a long way in satisfying customers and ultimately polishing your service skills. And while these hacks might look complicated at first, practicing and implementing them daily will bring out the best of you.