restaurant server explaining menu

Serving tables at a restaurant can be both lucrative and fulfilling – especially when you’re interested in learning more about the ins and outs of the foodservice industry.

However, there’s no denying that waiting tables is tough work. If you’re entering the profession for the first time, getting your foot in the door can feel like a challenge. Fortunately, learning a few server tips and tricks can get you up to speed in no time.


If you’re entering the profession for the first time, getting your foot in the door can feel like a challenge.


First-Time Serving Tips for Waiters

If you’ve ever been served by an unhappy waiter or waitress, you likely didn’t feel great after your meal – even if the food was delicious.

That’s why smiling is so important. You want your table to feel welcome and at ease, and a smile is perhaps the easiest way to set a positive tone for the meal. In addition, it’s important to remember that you’re there to guide customers on a journey.

They might have questions or seek your recommendations. Being present and in-tune with these needs can earn you major brownie points (and tips).

Download Our Guide To Restaurant Staff Management

Understanding Expectations

Regardless of the restaurant concept, all servers are part of a dining experience. To ensure that this experience exceeds customer expectations, you first need to understand what customers are looking for.

Specifically, your diners will always expect you to be attentive. Being attentive means checking in with your table often, refilling their water glasses, and keeping an eye on things even as you’re bustling about.

happy guests

Dining out has changed forever. Does your restaurant have the guest experience today's consumer demands? Learn how to make it unique and worth coming back for.

Anticipating Needs

The second most important server skill is thinking one step ahead. If your customer ordered soup, for example, be sure to set out a spoon before the dish is served. If there’s a baby at the table, set out a few extra napkins to anticipate messes.

These kinds of things are second nature to seasoned servers, but they’re key to providing an optimal dining experience.

Restaurant Server Guide

Now that we’ve covered the basics, it’s time to learn the nuances of being a standout waiter or waitress.

Here’s how to be a good server that pleases and delights.

Offer advice and share knowledge

Every restaurant interprets portion sizes differently. It’s important to relay to your table any important information about how your meals are meant to be shared and enjoyed. You might start by asking if people have been to your restaurant before, or see if they know how your concept works.

Move at the proper pace

Being a good server requires a particular attention to the pace and mood at which your table is progressing. Know when to clear their plates, and be ready to take their dessert order.

Server greeting examples

If you’re wondering how to be a server with no experience, reviewing server greetings and pitches is a great place to start. One go-to greeting is “How is everyone doing today!” or, you might pose a question, like “Can I start everyone off with some drinks?” It’s also a good idea to introduce yourself off the bat – learning your name helps establish a personal connection.

Learning how to be a waitress with no experience under your belt might seem challenging, but these ideas can help.

Check out our guide for improving your customer’s experience!

Written by   |  
As a professional copywriter, Dan typically spends his days buried in a booth at a local coffee shop. Ideas flow best with a cup of coffee in one hand and a bagel in the other. Dan has written for Entrepreneur Magazine,, and other media publications.