This is the first of many posts I will be writing about how to increase tips. So let’s jump right into it.
Remember the time you had that server who made you laugh, was efficient, genuine, smiled (not the fake kind), had a personality, and was able to answer your questions without running off to ask someone else for the answer?
Now remember that time you had that server who dragged their feet when approaching you, didn’t smile, sounded like waitron (the term I use for servers who sound like script-reading robots), didn’t make eye contact, didn’t engage, and basically did the bare minimum to get you through your dining experience?
Who would you likely give a better tip to? Some of you may say waitron because you feel sorry for him or her, but my guess would be more likely the first server I described. It’s these small things we do as servers which help boost our tips, keep our guests happy, and leave us in a great mood at the end of a shift. Yes, we have our days where we may not feel like the usual upbeat, fun-loving, good-looking (that’s a lie, we are always good-looking) server we normally are, but that’s okay. It’s like being an actor, the restaurant is our stage and we need to go out and perform at our very best to stand out from the others.
Actually, a lot of servers are aspiring actors/actresses because you never know who you will serve, and its great exposure which can possibly create networking connections with people.
So what can you do to separate yourself from waitron or the server your guests have previously had a great experience with?
Make a connection
Creating a connection no matter how small it may seem is a great way for you and your guests to become comfortable with each other. So obviously this is something you want to try to do early on after they arrive. It doesn’t have to be something big, for instance, if someone is wearing a sports jersey or has a particular logo on their clothing you can ask a question or make a comment on that, compliment someone’s hair, tie, shoes, whatever, but don’t be fake about it, throw a quick joke into the mix but with these tips you need to do something really important first, and that is to try to read your guests. If you have a group of businessmen you’re not going to talk about their shoes a lot (unless they are obvious shoe fanatics), if it’s a group of women you’re not going to tell them a joke about the dumb blonde, get my drift?. Just something that is a little different from the usual steps of service routine will go a long way. One thing is you can’t be too tired while working if your doing to school then look for options to get your college paper done.
Don’t be generic
I understand that with bigger corporate establishments there is a certain “script” that you need to go by to tell your guests about specials, specific dishes that may need to be pushed, or restaurant-specific promotions going on, but there is a way to do this without falling under the waitron category. You can always add a little flair or personal touch when going through this “script” and even change the order in which you say certain things that will help keep things fresh and interesting for both you and your tables.
Be personable… as yourself
Just being yourself is very important and realistically this is one thing that a lot of servers struggle with. I know some servers who will just tell their guests what they think they want to hear, and will even go to the point of making up a story about what they did on the weekend that will somehow connect with something the guest was talking about, just so they have an “in”. Oh, and I have seen a situation where someone was caught out in their lie and imagine how they would have felt serving that table of 5 people after being exposed in front of them all. You are unique in the sense that there is no other person like you, so why not use that to your advantage? guests aren’t interested in ordinary they are interested in experience, so give it to them as yourself.
You might be saying that I’m repeating myself when I’m talking about being yourself and you’re right, I am, but I’m doing this because it is an important contributing factor to how much money you make or don’t make. That’s what I’m trying to do here is help you make more money and show you that serving is a job which you get paid to have fun with people. Keep an eye on for more upcoming posts on how to increase tips.
So, when you’re serving your next tables will you be waitron, or will you be your wonderful, unique self?
Thanks for being you.