3 Tips To Be a Successful Waiter
Working in the restaurant industry as a server is stressful, chaotic, and even overwhelming at times. It takes a certain kind of person to work a job (and be good at it) that sometimes is extremely demanding but thankless at the same time. But serving can be extremely rewarding, monetarily and emotionally, if done right. I think anyone can serve and wait on tables at a restaurant. Though, I do think it takes a certain type of person to succeed at it. Here are 3 essential tips, in no particular order, that will have you earning big tips, making connections, and getting customers to come back, especially for you:
Have you ever walked into a store with a question for an employee and they had no idea how to help you? Annoying isn’t it? Now, imagine you’re at a restaurant you’ve never eaten at before. You’re really excited to try some new food and you have a ton of questions about the menu. Unfortunately, your server has not studied the menu very much and has not tried a lot of the food. Now, you have no idea what’s good or popular so you might end up choosing something that you really didn’t want in the first place. This does not make for a good experience and will probably affect the tip. As a server, you need to be ready for any and all questions. Study your restaurant’s menu and bar menu until you know it from front to back. The better you know these things the more likely you are to impress your tables by being knowledgeable and helpful. Who are you going to tip better: someone who tells you something about an entrée and it comes out the complete opposite and it's sent back to the kitchen or someone who can tell you exactly what the entrée entails and gets it right the first time?
Although these tips are important to being successful, communication might be the most crucial to providing the best service possible and getting the biggest tips. Listening skills are definitely required to succeed at serving. Trust me, you don’t want to mess a table’s order up because you weren’t listening and paying attention completely. Communication with your guests is key; but talking with co-workers, managers, and the kitchen might be more important. The best way to go about serving is to think of those people as your teammates. In football if you don’t communicate with your fellow teammates you won’t be on the same page and therefore possibly make more mistakes because you or your teammates don’t have the necessary information to succeed. It works the same way in a restaurant. If you don’t explain a complicated order you just gave to the kitchen there not going to know what to do and the food will go to the table wrong. If you don’t tell your manager that something is not right with one of your tables then he/she can't fix it and improve the guests’ experience. When you're in the weeds and you don’t ask for help from one of your fellow servers your more than likely going to crash and burn. All those scenarios can and will affect your tips; badly if not handled professionally and with the right amount of communication.
It’s easier said than done to be happy going to, during, or even after work sometimes. Any job may be tiring and frustrating; demanding and stressful; or boring and not fun. If you have a great attitude about what you're doing and realize that your there to do a job and it’s not going to last forever then work can be smooth sailing. This is especially true for a server where your attitude can directly effect your earnings. A great attitude can go a long way with your tables. It can help connect with guests which can improve their experience and desire to come back (hope they become your regulars) and improve your tip. It can make a guest who had a not so good experience understandable and even make sure a repeat visit happens. Customers are going out to relax and be “waited” and “served” on. It is your job to give that service and make sure they have an enjoyable visit. No one is going to enjoy a waiter who is sulking about girl troubles or wishing they were anywhere but there. Believe me, your tables will pick up on the negativity. Stay positive and remain focused on your job to provide an exceptional service. Do this and you will have a great chance of making great money as a server.