Whether you are a server or a casual diner you have probably been to a restaurant enough to see that it is all pretty much the same formula. Server’s introduce themselves, ask for your drink order, try to sell you an appetizer, come back a few times during the meal, ask if you saved any room for desert, and then deliver your check. That may have worked before the recession, but now people are a little more careful with their money and you need to set yourself apart to earn that 20+ percent. So how do you set yourself apart from other servers when you are all slinging the same burgers and fries?
Don’t do the Same Old Song and Dance
Change up your routine to make yourself different from everyone around you. Instead of asking if the table would like to start with an appetizer name something specific, preferably the most expensive app, and use descriptive words while doing it. Insert your personality into every interaction from asking how everything is to delivering refills, even if you use the same jokes at every table they are probably new to that table. Offer dessert the same way that you would offer the appetizer and even if they don’t want any, thank them in a genuine way that will make them remember you instead of the predictable, “Thanks for coming in.”
It may not seem like that big of a deal, especially if you work at a mid to lower level, but appearance is everything. It may be way more apparent at a restaurant like Hooters which emphasizes appearance, but it goes for every restaurant position out there no matter if you are selling a four dollar breakfast or $100 filet mignon. It doesn’t matter if you are a man or woman the better your appearance is the more likely you will get return guests and higher tips as a result.
Tend to the Kids
If you work at a restaurant where you see kids often it is always a good idea to make the kids feel like royalty. Content kids make for happy parents and happy parents remember you and leave bigger tips. All too often servers have no idea how to interact with kids which can lead to awkward situations which are only made worse when the kids start acting up.
One of the best ways to set yourself apart from other servers is to treat your tables like you know them and part of that includes being honest with them. If their food is going to take an extra five minutes because of a screw up by you or your cook let them know. You would be surprised how lenient a table is as long as you keep them in the loop. The same goes for menu suggestions, let them know how you really feel about the items they are asking about. Being honest, sometimes brutally, will make your patrons feel like you are a friend instead of just another person delivering their food.
Nothing sets you apart more than being on top of your game. The best way to be on top of your game is to stay organized. There are many ways to stay organized while serving, but few better than the ISERV Waiter Book. From the advanced banking system to the in-book calculator you will seem like the owner of the restaurant versus just another slinger of burger and fries. You can bet that people will remember the smoothest and most streamlined dining experience they have ever had and it will all be thanks to you.