So, you’ve just scored a job as a server at a new restaurant, but it’s your first time waiting tables and you’re nervous about screwing up. Heading in to work the first day can definitely be a daunting experience, even if you’ve already gone through the restaurant’s training system. By following these server tips and tricks, however, you’ll be on your way to being a good waiter or waitress in no time at all.
Here are 5 serving tips for waiters new and old to make the most of their shift.
1. The customer is always right
The first rule of being a good server is to remember the customer is always right. This is a job for you, but an experience your diners are paying good money for. As such, if the food comes out not to their satisfaction, don’t try to argue. Instead be polite, immediately offer to take it back and get them something else and then tell your manager, who will usually come to the table and speak directly to the customer. This will also help ensure the likelihood you still receive a good tip at the end of the meal.
2. Be friendly but professional
Always be friendly with guests, but not too friendly. You don’t want to appear to be overly friendly as this will likely make your table feel uncomfortable. Instead, you want to come across as professional. Come up with a way of greeting your tables that slides off your tongue well (this is different for everyone) and stick with it when first talking to your customers.
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3. Know the menu forward and backward
Expect for guests to ask questions about the restaurant menu, so as such you should know what you are serving. It’s also imperative to learn what dishes contain so you can speak with authority when asked about food allergy ingredients like gluten or peanuts, as well as whether a menu item is truly vegetarian or vegan.
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4. Practice good hygiene
Showing up to work looking clean and spiffy is imperative. Make sure your fingernails are clean, your hair is out of your face and your uniform is free of wrinkles or kitchen odors from the last shift you worked. Also, refrain from drinking heavily the night before a shift. No one wants to smell your hangover when ordering dinner.
Upselling is imperative to increasing the entire bill, which also increases your tip. But the key is to do it without making it seem like you are upselling, which will quickly turn off your guests.
5. Always upsell, but not in an obnoxious way
Upselling is imperative to increasing the entire bill, which also increases your tip. But the key is to do it without making it seem like you are upselling, which will quickly turn off your guests. You can get a feel for people’s budgets often by whether or not they order drinks right away and how much they are drinking. If the drinks are flowing, for instance, and let’s say you’re working at a Mexican restaurant, then try selling a margarita with more expensive tequila. Asking if anyone wants coffee and dessert is another good upsell tactic. If the guests seem to know exactly what they want or are regulars, then don’t try to pitch them on extras as it could actually hurt your tip.
Check out Upserve’s staff management guide!