Learn These Simple Tips to be a Better Server
So, you decided you want to become a waitress or waiter? And you want to be the very best server you can be? Well you have made a great choice! Servers enjoy a fast-paced work environment that keeps you on your toes, and the best part is you get to interact with customers all day long and make sure there are well taken care of.
Servers also have the opportunity to earn a decent income working just a few flexible shifts a week. So, whether you are searching for a fulltime server position, or a part time gig just to earn a little extra cash, being a waiter or waitress can be a real satisfying experience.
Remember, restaurants have slow shifts and busy shifts and restaurant managers put the better servers on the best shifts. If you want to earn more as a server and really enjoy your job, take moment to learn how to be a better server. You’ll be sure to get your restaurants best shifts and earn more in less time!
Greet Your Guests Right Away and Introduce Yourself
The most important aspect of being a better server is making guests truly feel welcome and attended to. So, if you want to be the best server you can be, always, always, always greet guests warmly and right away, meaning as soon as they sit at your table. Don’t wait around to do this. Make sure you introduce yourself as well. This creates an immediate personal connection!
Guests want to know they are welcome and receiving the best service possible. There’s nothing worse than sitting around waiting for a simple greeting. They’ll feel neglected and may even get annoyed especially if they see another table that was seated after them receive a greeting.
So even if you are extremely busy give new guests a very warm greeting when they sit down. Then be sure to come back as soon as possible to take their initial orders and make sure they understand the menu.
Make a Connection with Conversation
Start conversations with guests if it comes naturally. Making small talk engages guests and makes them feel special. Just be sure it is genuine and meaningful conversation and don’t spend too long chatting. Guests don’t want to know your life story; they really just want to feel welcome and unique. So simply make a meaningful connection with them. They do want to know about the menu if it is there first time. Much of your conversation will be about the menu. Which brings us to the way to be a better server.
Memorize the Menu
Have the menu memorized the first day you start serving! But don’t just memorize the menu, understand what is in each dish. As you work your shifts you will get to try each dish. This is the best way to really understand your menu. There’s nothing more annoying to a guest than a waiter or waitress who does not know what is on the menu or what each dish is made with.
Guests may want to know what ingredients are in each dish. Be aware of all ingredients in each dish. Understand which tastes will like which dish. Know what dishes have less calories for the dieters in the group. Each item on the menu is there to serve a particular guest. Understand this and you can connect with your guests while explaining the menu!
Memorize the Specials each Day
Guests who are regulars will want to know what the specials are. Have them memorized first thing each day. Understand what the dishes are and what’s in them, just like you would the regular menu.
Speak Clearly, Slowly and Be Descriptive When Reciting Specials and Menu Items
When reciting the menu and the specials always speak slowly and calmly. It is not a contest to see who can say the most menu items. Guests who don’t know these specials will take more time to process the information. Feel free to add your own explanation of what the dish is. Something short and simple that explains what it is and why it is good.
Make Sound Recommendations but Don’t Push Certain Items
You will always have a guest who wants a recommendation so be prepared to give them. The best servers have three or four dishes to recommend for guests with different tastes. They may have one for steak lovers, fish lovers, those who love chicken and so on.
Remember, guests don’t know the menu as well as you do. If they are new, they have no idea what is good or what to try. You are their sounding board and expert.
Ask them what dishes they typically like. Then suggest but don’t push certain dishes. It’s not sales and a guest doesn’t want to be sold on the Salmon, even if it really is good. Be more impartial and pick out details that make the dish unique. “The salmon is really popular. It’s wild caught and the sauce is excellent. It’s my favorite fish dish here.”
Upsell Items by Assuming Guests Want Them
Don’t be afraid to upsell items like extra sides, desert and drinks. These items make your tabs larger! The key is using suggestive selling. If you expect guests want these add-ons, they are more likely to say yes.
When asking what they want to drink say “What will you have for a cocktail?” Instead of asking them flatly, “Do you want extra onions and mushrooms on that?” Assume they already do and are just waiting for you to suggest it. Say, “And do you want that steak smothered with onions, mushrooms or both?”. Or, “Which dessert and coffees are you interested in tonight?” Again, be ready with a few recommendations for indecisive guests.
Flip Your Tables Quickly and With Tact
Flipping tables or turning a table is the name of the game in the restaurant industry because that’s what pays the bills. However, guests don’t want to feel rushed out of the restaurant as soon as they finish their last forkful of food. They might not return next time. So, be subtle and be prompt. If you are on time with everything, your guests will be able to finish their meal sooner.
That means serving food once it is up, and have the check ready when your guests are finishing up and you see the conversation is winding down. A simple, “Here is the check whenever you are ready.” At the right moment provides the perfect cue for guests to end their dinner.
Handle Campers with Care
Campers are those guests who linger, chat and basically stay at a table forever. Restaurants want you to turn your tables over quickly so you will feel the inclination to hurry a chatty group of “campers” out of the door, but there are appropriate ways to do this. You can return to the table and ask them if they need anything else. Or, you can even ask them to leave nicely and explain you have other guests around.
Learn the POS System
Learning the POS system makes you a better server because it allows you to quickly process a check. It also enables you to do things like split a check, add or delete an item, and complete other tasks that guests may require. Delivering on these things in a timely manner makes your guest’s visit more pleasant.
A Better Server is a Prepared Server
Always be prepared for each shift. Have plenty of pencils or pens and paper. Wear comfortable, slip-resistant shoes so your feet don’t get sore feet and you don’t slip and fall. Have plenty of water or a drink handy for your breaks. Keeping yourself happy and comfortable will help keep you in a better mood!
Be a Team Player
Finally, being a team player is one way to really be the best server you can be. Keep a positive attitude, and be fair about who gets what table. Waiters and waitresses can be competitive, and they know which guests give the best tips. Playing as a team ensures the entire restaurant is functioning at its highest level.