Restaurant Server Tips and Tricks

What’s the difference between a good server and a great one? It’s easy to guess a bubbly personality that everyone gravitates toward, but the truth is far less sexy. The best restaurateurs know that their top servers are the ones who have been trained well and work hard. They know the ins and outs of the restaurant and make all of the guests feel special. Their skill and confidence set them apart.

But, where do you find these people? Good news, many probably already work for you, they just need a bit of extra training.

Here are some of our favorite server tricks and tips that can make a big difference in the dining experience.

1- Remember customer’s faces and names.

You want customers to keep coming back to your restaurant and become those highly sought-after regulars. When your customers feel recognized, they feel more comfortable. Recognizing people’s faces is the easiest first step. And, as time goes by, servers can get to know regulars by name and establish a relationship with them.

2- Make valuable recommendations.

People are going out to eat as much for the experience as they are for the food. Train your servers to guide guests around the restaurant menu, answer any questions guests may have and guide them in their decisions. Make guests’ night out more than just a meal, but a memorable experience they’ll want to repeat.

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3- Maximize your steps while minimizing your trips.

Train your servers to make the most out of all their movements. One easy server trick? Rather than making multiple trips back and forth to the water pitcher, refill all the glasses in a section at once. Pick up multiple drink orders from the bar at once, or try and settle up more than one check at a time. An efficient staff makes your restaurant look like it’s operating seamlessly and effortlessly, even during a big rush.

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4- Serve at the customer’s pace.

No one likes being rushed through their meal. Your customers came out to enjoy themselves and get a break from the bustle of their everyday lives. Let your customer set the pace and enjoy their meal. Obviously, you need to turn tables to make money and earn tips, but you also want customers enjoying themselves and wanting to return to your restaurant.

Restaurant server taking phone order

5- Share insight on regulars.

Regulars have a routine at your restaurant, and enjoying that routine is part of why they keep coming back. Encourage an atmosphere where your staff feels like a team and puts the customer ahead of any competitive spirit. Encourage them to share with each other any insights they may have about customers.

Remember, when you do get a server from good to great, nurture that relationship and keep them happy. Nothing is worse than training a server on how to be a good server only to lose them to another restaurant. What server tricks and tips have you learned along that way that has helped your staff?

Not sure where to start with restaurant staff training when it comes to these server tips and tricks? How about here.

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Kristin lives on the West Side of Providence with her wine blogger husband. When she's not co-hosting their monthly wine tastings, she's planning her next travel adventure and daydreaming about Spanish jamón. She can often be found pouring over travel guides at her favorite neighborhood spot, Nick's on Broadway.