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Best of 2017 logoAs we close out 2017, allow us here at Restaurant Insider to provide you with the some of the best articles we published this year. From stories that celebrated restaurant owners (especially when they faced some tough decisions) to trend reports to pieces to help with business performance, we hope we helped make your restaurant run a little smoother this year. It’s time to put your feet up, if only for a moment. Happy reading.

Nine in 10 restaurant managers start in the business as entry level, so the habits learned on the job can really lay the foundation for a successful career. To get servers on the right path, we compiled a list of the top five tips and tricks for those looking to better their performance. With thousands of views, it was no question that this piece made our “Best of 2017” list.

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 your restaurant, and make all your 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.

busy restaurant with server and lots of busy tables

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 to see who is coming in, and as time goes by servers can get to know regulars by name and establish a relationship with them.

Make valuable recommendations.

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

You can control the conversation and change the way guest communication is handled with proper staff training.

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Maximize your steps while minimizing your trips.

Train your servers to make the most out of all their movements. 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.

‘The best restaurateurs know that their top servers are the ones who have been trained well and work hard.’

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, but you also want customers enjoying themselves and wanting to return to your restaurant.

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 only to lose them to another restaurant. What server tricks and tips have you learned along that way that make for the best servers?  

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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.