You are one step away from becoming a manager if you are a great waiter. Therefore, first, become a great waiter and see how life changes for the good. Waiters interact the most with the guests in any restaurant. Prepare yourself for frequent on-job situations, knowhow to upsell, and learn about the customs as well as the rules specific to the restaurant you work at.
Follow these server tips and tricks, and soon you can turn into the most sought after waiter.
There is always a lot to learn even if you experienced. When you join a restaurant, find a mentor, no matter his/her age. Being at the place for a longer time than you, he/she will know the work culture and the process better than you. Listen to what the professional tells you and try to understand why he/she is doing something.
Guests have a number of things to talk about when they are out for dinner, lunch or are even on a holiday. If they are telling you something, listen carefully, for they may be expecting an important input or insight from you. We understand that you may be too excited or angry (depending upon your mental status) to stop yourself from telling your stories at times. However, work time is solely for the guests. So let them do most of the talking unless they ask for your opinion.
Always let the guest know if you are going to finish any drink item in the future. Just let them know that you are running out of a certain drink and would you like to keep it on the side for them. This is one of my golden trick which I learnt in the business.
If you want to become a successful waiter, be a helpful one. Carrying certain things with you all the time during serving ads to your goodie points. The first and foremost things that you should never forget are a pair of serviettes that come in handy when carrying hot food plates. Next comes the cork screw or the lever type wine bottle opener. Carry it in your pocket when working at events or when serving wine on a usual day at the restaurant. Make a lighter or a matchbox your constant companion in case the guest wants to go out for a smoke and is not carrying one. You may carry a crumber and a safety pin, but only when you need them. Crumbers can be carried when you wish to crumb down the table just before serving desserts. And, safety pins are used to tie an improper or erring table cloth.
In a waiter’s dictionary, the term - on time - does not exist. Hence, don’t come on time; target 10 to 15 minutes earlier than you are supposed to whether it is a restaurant or a banquet. You don’t waste your first paid hours in getting ready or having a cup of coffee, do you? And then, earn the manager’s wrath. Of course not.
Reaching early gives you time to prepare yourself for the customers and plan your day ahead. If you are replacing a waiter at the end of his shift and he is doing a tiny overtime just for your sake, it is a spot on your reputation.
Drinks are expensive and some drinks are dearer than others. Most customers try to avoid the second category of drinks. But the responsibility to sell it falls on you. So, instead of talking about the price of the drink or boasting how old it is, simply state, ‘’ We are selling this wine a lot’’. This is going to attract 90% of the guests’ attention and they will think - “Really? Why not try it out?”
You remember your birthdate and will never forget it unless, God forbid, you have amnesia or Alzheimers. Do the same with the menu card - right from the dish’s name and its ingredients to its price. You slip, you fall. One mistake in front of the customers and you lose your credibility. However, in case you make an error while naming an ingredient or mention a wrong dish, correct yourself immediately, or at least, as soon as you get to know the actual facts.
Be a team player. We all want promotions in our respective fields, but we can do nothing without a team. When the entire team works together to achieve a goal, it shows and guests appreciate it.
Remember how you used to set goals at school to improve your scores in the next session. It is the same here. All you have to do is decide how much positive feedback you want at the end of a month or year.
Monthly: Try to learn the wine region of the menu card.
Yearly: Try to learn the wine grapes,region and year by the year.
Did the guest ask you something and you were too busy to respond? I call it poor hospitality. Guest is God in our profession and no matter how busy you are, acknowledging is key to successful hospitality. Just ask for some time, and tell them that you will soon be with them. This does not keep the customer wondering what happened. They will understand that you are busy and trying to get a solution to the problem at hand.
Want to make a mark in the field? Show what you are best at doing. It may be anything from expert knowledge on wine or whiskey, cocktail making, pumpkin carving, cooking or anything that can cut a special position for you.
If you are working at a fine dining place or Country Club, keep your intelligence of the price for a beverage to yourself. Why? Because these customers do not care about money.
As already mentioned, Guest is God in the hospitality industry. Hence, if you ever feel that they are wrong, never argue. You are not being able to reason with her, right? Simply talk about it to your manager. You can read my article here on how to handle complaints.
If you get an order, say, “Yes” only when you are sure the kitchen can churn it out. In the event that you are uncertain, seek the guests’ permission to ask in the kitchen. Remember, diplomacy is good sometimes, but not when a hungry customer is waiting to be served.
You want tips? Work like you deserve it. Thinking that the guests are going to pay you whenever they come, irrespective of service quality, you are nowhere near being correct. Be good to them, speak politely, make them feel that they are the only guests in the restaurant, and they will surely tip you.
The stem of a wine glass and the handle of a silverware are the most sensitive parts of their bodies.
Remember the slap on your hand from your mother whenever you dropped a glass or silverware. That is all you need to handle wine glasses and silverware with care. I am not saying that you will be assaulted by your seniors for breaking these, but some restaurants deduct salaries when you damage their products. Also, what a field day, your colleagues will be having laughing at you.
Gone are the days when serving was all about manual work. Today, irrespective of the industry, the use of various types of software has become indispensable. If you do not learn about the latest software, do so now, for soon you might become an obsolete resource.
You actually believe you can save yourself by blaming others? Like in any other industry, the hospitality industry too does not support professionals who are not brave enough to handle the complicated situation. If you are working in a team, be a team player. Someday, one of your team members will keep quiet to save you.
You are well aware of the basic bar terminology, but not the guests. If someone orders a Martini, politely ask whether they want it with Gin or Vodka, Twist or Olive. Make it easy for the guests and they will love you.
How many times do you remember the good that people do to you? It’s not your fault, it is human nature to find out the negative. Hence, if you satisfy one guest, he/she will bring 10 more guests. But, on the contrary, if you manage to annoy at least one guest, you may rest assured that you may lose 100 potential customers. That’s how it works!
Put the ambience of the restaurant in order after a group of guests make their way out. Keeping tables and chairs clean and tidy keeps the interiors ready for the next group.
If something is removed from its place, put it back. It does not matter if it is in your work area or in the kitchen. If you notice that something is amiss and the person responsible is busy with other things, mise en place.
Customers consider you as their local guide in the restaurant. Stay abreast of all the local tourist destinations, routes and shops. You never know, this might become another expertise besides carving pumpkins.
Have you ever heard a waiter utter his name unless asked? If the answer is “No”, you are in for a cookie. Most restaurants have the name or the title of an employee mentioned in his batch. So, keep calm and work.
When the guest enters to try to find out as soon as possible if they are in a rush for lunch. Try to tell them in advance if certain dish takes a lot of time.
Yeah! We know what shows, sells. But sometimes, you have to work to show. Some waiters brag about what all they have done in the past or at a previous restaurant. Everyone can see what you are doing, and making a fool of people is not going to help. So, do your work and let everyone appreciate your performance.
Staying where you are and not learning anything is probably a sign that you are not interested in. This is a harsh truth, but the truth it is. Keep on learning everyday. You can check our learning course:OUR FREE RESTAURANT WAITER PROGRAM
Come on, it’s normal, you do not even need a hospitality degree to know this. Kids are the most important guests and get served first even at home. So why not at the restaurant? You know what? This small gesture can make you the parents’ favourite server.
Now that you have brought a smile on the child’s face, it is time for the mother, and then, the father to be served because gentlemen always treat their family with respect.
And you thought your duty ends as soon as the guest pays. Quite a mistake as this approach makes you and the establishment look selfish, serving only for money. Even after the guest pays, your duty is not done. You need to keep an eye on them. Can you imagine what would happen if the guests’ child falls suddenly and none of the staff goes ahead to help him/her?
30. Finding Special
Guests are often in too much of a rush to check the menu properly and look forward to assisted service. Here comes your valued service. Now, a guest enquires what the daily special is and you stare blankly at him/her. That’s just not done. Know the day’s special before hitting the floor as a dumbfounded waiter is as good as no waiter.
Before an event begins, have a small checklist to know what all things you need to prioritise and what you can do later. Moreover, if you have to do something extra, you will know by looking at the checklist.
Seems funny? No, it is not. You must know what you are serving and for that, knowing the ingredients and how the food tastes are necessary. It will be quite embarrassing if a guest asks about a dish and you again bring back the blank look of the special dish query. In fact, this time, it might cost you the job. To save your job, enlighten your guests, and before that enlighten yourself. All you have to do is to politely ask the chef for a spoon or a bite, that’s all!
Try to be as accommodating as possible for the guests. A guest has already ordered something and then realised that he/she is allergic to one of the ingredients in the dish. They call you seeking to know if the chef has already started the dish. If yes, you can serve it to one of their group members. At the same time, they will ask if you if you can prepare another item of the same price. There is no need to seek the chef’s permission if you know that the chef is preparing the food that day. Simply reply in the positive.
Smoking kills! True. I am not asking you to quit smoking since I am not your doctor. However, the smell is also pungent. If not for yourself, at least for the guests’ sake, rinse your mouth and wash your hands thoroughly after smoking. Being tagged as the waiter who smells of cigarettes or whatnot is not a nice thing for your career.
Is English not your native tongue? With an ‘yes’ to the question, you have just confirmed the need to practise spoken English and asking for order in the language at home. This can make your pronunciation better and make you more suave than you already are. You can practice by looking in the mirror.
Your day should start with a schedule, stating what all you are about to do. But just maintaining the function sheet is not going to help if you do not remember your deliverables. So check it before starting to work. In case there is an event, you have to arrange your work accordingly so that you don’t sit biting your forefinger in utter tension when you suddenly remember what you forgot initially.
We know how busy a waiter is. In fact, at times, while ordering, guests often wonder how servers remember large orders, especially when the former themselves are confused about what they want. However, training, practise or sheer memory, whatever it is, your effort is appreciated.
But, crisis may strike any time. Hence, It is always better to repeat the order no matter how small the table is.
Do you know how to upsell? If no, have a word with your seniors or listen to them doing the same. Adopt their technique, instead of blatantly trying to push in a costly item. Most guests understand when you are desperate. So keep it subtle and make the need for another order sound necessary to the customer.
A dirty and wrinkled uniform, black nails and dirty shoes are the last things guests would look forward to. Adhering to company hygiene standards and policy is thus very important for your career.
I have seen waiters asking guests if the food was good or not? This approach can land you straight in trouble. Why? You are reaping the seeds of doubt in the guests’ minds and the simple answer to the question will be ‘no’. Rather, enquiring how the food tastes gives a more definite answer. And, in case the customer is not satisfied with a particular item, he will mention it specifically instead of giving a negative answer for the entire order. Always ask ‘’How does everything taste tonight’’
Your guest is placing an order, asking you about local sightseeing destinations or telling you his/her experience. Let it flow. If you have to say something, seek the permission with an ‘excuse me Sir/Mam’.
Interrupting the customer in the middle of his speech, however, insightful or interesting your input might be is rude.
You have delivered the orders at your tables and are relaxing for the time being. That’s great, unless you keep relaxing for a long time. There is no dearth of work at a restaurant. Ask your senior if there is work undone. I am sure you won’t return empty-handed. When your boss notices your eagerness to work, your chances of promotion increase.
Treating all guests in the same manner is essential to maintain your reputation. Whether it is at the start of the day or the last table, maintain the same composure, style and approachability. You might like a guest more than the others. But that does not give you the right to misbehave with anyone. Yes, you are a human being and have preferences, and you may get tired. I would suggest, keep your feelings to yourself and take breaks to ease your mind.
One of the most important thinks in fine dining service. I have attached it in the link below as it can be very lengthy.FINE DINING SERVICE TIPS
Calling a guest by his or her name is a sign of respect. Just as you like to be called by your name and not your profession of a - waiter - they too want the same. When a guest pays with a card, take a quick look and say ´´Thank you very much´´
This can help you with repeat customers.
Your service section is the place where you operate. In most cases, it is the tables from where you take the orders. Keep an eye on the arrangement of the table cloth, the arrangement of the glasses, morsels of food leftover from the former guests and more.
Touching a glass’ rim is not a very clean practise given the fact that people touch their lips to it. If a guest ever sees finger prints on it, he/she would think better than to accept the drink.
You go to a table with a tray filled with food and ask who wanted what. This is quite bad as guests expect that once you have taken the order, you will know who ordered what.
Also, when you are done serving and are about to serve the check, mention the table number, items ordered and the total correctly. Do not be one of those eat outs where the number of alcohol orders is purposely goofed up!
Cleaning the table before and after a meal like lunch and dinner is understandable. But, you have to maintain the same level of cleanliness when it comes to buffet or breakfast. Every tiny particle counts and every effort you make to please guests count too.
Assumption may have put Sherlock Holmes on the first rung of detectives, but you are not trying to find a criminal. Therefore, ask the guest politely if you think you heard anything wrong. Assuming that he/she said something and acting accordingly is quite the wrong way to handle guests.
And you thought you could keep the guests’ money long enough to make him/her feel exhausted of waiting! This is the worst industry trick you could practise. Be honest and return the money as soon as you get the balance. It is the guest’s money and if he/she wants to tip, no one can stop him/her. On the contrary, making the customer wait can only stop further chances of getting a tip.
Guests might get irate due to various reasons - poor food quality, iron wire in food, poor service, etc. No matter how hard you try to avoid, issues do come up sometimes. How you handle the situation determines how smart you are at the workplace. Ask the guest what is wrong and report the problem to the manager.
You have a lot of things to talk about. Great! But your guests have more to discuss amongst themselves. It is after all their break time. In such a situation if you start talking loudly with your colleagues, they might get irritated. Don’t worry, you will get your chance when you are on a break. But for now, work first, break later!
You may well be an employee, but considering the place your own gives you a sense of closeness and responsibility towards your actions. If you think that you can simply do whatever you can because you can leave the place and are not answerable to anyone, you are wrong. The world is very small bro and if you show you do not care, people will know about it sooner or later. And even though you leave the restaurant for good, the news about your attitude will spread like wildfire.
During duty hours, keep yourself from eating the food prepared at the restaurant or drink any of the beverages meant for the customers, especially alcohol. If waiters start eating and drinking whatever is kept for the customers, there would be no food or drink left. The ultimate result - the restaurant will never have a single customer and you can bid adieu to your job.
You probably love to use a particular word, especially when you are with your colleagues. You never know, the guests might take offence. Is it not better to maintain a list of the words that most people dislike and keep yourself from using them.
It’s normal to think that a man looks handsome or a woman looks extremely sexy. Appreciating the good is a quality we should all have. However, keep yourself from complementing the guests as they might feel that you are going over the top to impress them unnecessarily. Women might feel insulted while men may find it weird.
Guests have their preferences, true. But, several of them depend on the chef’s choice for preparing certain types of meat. You can rely on his expertise, as being a professional, he knows what is the right combination. Please know what chef choice is for every meat.
If you don’t want a guest to suffer an allergy attack and get hospitalised, enquire if the customers are allergic to any ingredient in the food. Once you are enlightened, convey the message to the chef so that he can cook accordingly. This is a crucial step as the hotel, the chef and you can all be in deep waters if the customer files a complaint.
When guests ask waiters for a suggestion about which item to order, many professionals make the mistake of saying - ‘My favourite is….’. Do not use this phrase unless the guest specifically wants to know it because they might feel that sometimes other items are not good in quality.
A better way to respond is - ‘Most people prefer……’. This gives customers the confidence to order the food without apprehending its taste.
61. Quick,quick and quick…
Guests are hungry when they reach the restaurant. As they sit, check the menu and place the order, they get hungrier. It is not uncommon for customers to ask the time taken to prepare the food. In such situations, give the exact time; you may however, give a minute or two extra, but not more. If you say a longer time, the guests will leave.
Again, do not reduce the time taken because the guests start expecting the food sooner than he should. And, finally, when the food does not come at the promised time, gets irate and walks out.
Let the guests know about the service charge if applicable. When you keep mum about the additional charge and the guest orders food, expect massive retaliation. An unsuspecting guest gets very annoyed on seeing extra charges mentioned on the bill.
Are you standing behind the guest? Are you hiding? Who are you hiding from? Your position is not just annoying for the guests, but they will feel that you have something to hide from them. Do not make it difficult for the guests to talk to you. Stand in front of them so that they can look you in the eye and trust you.
Do you know that every movement you make can impact the guest? When a guest sees you walking towards them a hundred times, they get nervous. They feel that you want to tell them something whenever they notice you move towards them.
The chef told you something about the presentation, which you find missing now. Immediately inform it to him as the customer may especially waiting to see and eat that. With a particular item missing in the presentation, the guest will resort to a negative opinion about the chef. Don’t think you will be left out of the feedback. In fact you may be mentioned as the careless waiter who did not even check the presentation properly before serving the dish.
“Did you just touch me”? - Comes the irate and annoyed voice of a customer. Always remember, it is inappropriate to touch a guest unless he/she unwell or seeks your support. This is more applicable for female guests.
You are eager to have a word with your girlfriend, but work is calling. But, the restaurant authorities are not cruel. In the event that calling someone or accepting a call is absolutely necessary, seek permission from the manager, go outside and talk for sometime. Make it short! Comeback for your duty as soon as possible. A waiter who spends his time talking over the phone for most of his working hours is simply not acceptable.
You feel that the drink reserve is getting shorter. Ask the bartender about it. He is the best person to give you an insight into it.
Your work is done and you are still in the restaurant. Now, that is not necessary if you are not doing overtime. A server’s job is quite stressful. So, go home and take rest to make yourself all prepared for the next day. Otherwise, you may feel groggy at work.
If you are carrying hot plate to the table, inform people around you about it. Try to avoid accidents at the eatery as much as possible. An unknowing guest or even a restaurant staff may mistakenly touch the tray or plate. And if that happens, you will be the first one to draw the flak and forget about the wonderful words you will have to hear right after the victim gets the shock of his/her life on accidentally touching the tray. So, it is your responsibility to protect them and your future.
As teamwork is essential for the success of the restaurant, you simply need to focus on more tables than your own. Be there when anyone in the restaurant needs help.
72. Importance of priority for waiter
Prioritising work helps you understand which work should be done first and which work should be done later. Say you have to send a report to the manager of how many people you served the previous day. Since you find the work boring, you decided to stall it the end of the day. Your manager starts checking the reports submitted by all the waiters in the afternoon and not finding yours, calls you and gives you a good piece of your mind. You get angry and start cursing the manager in front of your colleagues. Tell me something, who is at fault here? The manager or you? Wasn’t it your responsibility to submit the report before doing aything else.
You have a foreign language degree. Wonderful! Or, you are a native foreign language speaker. This is great too! Use it when you see customers belonging to that ethnicity. This conveys warmth and you can actually create an impact. However, when you notice that the customers want to carry on a conversation in English, do so immediately. See, it is not about what makes you comfortable or what language you want to use. It is about what language the guest is comfortable to use.
The guest offered you alcohol and you accepted it like a good boy. Well, there are other ways to be called good, and not just have alcohol. If you consume any inebriating drink, who on Earth is going to do your work? Did you think about? You keep accepting drinks from guests and very soon, you can say goodbye to your job.
When children come to your restaurant without an adult, it is time to open your hawk’s eye and be a responsible citizen. If the kids order alcohol, simply refuse to serve by stating the minimum age of drinking. If they do not agree, show them the establishment’s policy. If they still do not listen, inform the manager. In case the manager is not available, inform the police. They know how to handle such kids.
Customer - “Dude, one more drink please”.
You - “I am sorry, sir. We cannot serve you anymore drink”.
This should be your verbiage when a drunk is asking for more helpings. It is true that you will sell a lot, but there are two reasons why you should refuse.
i) The guest will become unwell and you being a responsible person can never let that happen.
ii) Controlling a drunk individual is a very big problem.
To read CLICK HERE:How to approach guest complaint?
A guest entered the washroom an hour ago and is not leaving. Sounds strange? Call the manager and let him handle it. Whenever you notice things turning weird, let your senior know about it. He will take the necessary measures. Just don’t leave him at it all alone and stay by his side to lend support. If it is something serious like calling the police or the hospital, he will definitely require assistance.
A guest is sitting at a table, waiting for a friend. And, another group is waiting for a table. What should you do now? Make space for the group at the table inside. But before that politely enquire the guest inside if he/she can wait for his/her friend at a less crowded place? Offer an on the house drink or a light snack so that he/she does not feel insulted.
How many times did your parents ask you not to run about at school or at home? I guess, you have lost count of it. The same instructions are again being given by me here and now. Running is noisy affair and creates a lot of mayhem at the establishment. You will push people, who will fall and you will drop the food all over the floor or may be even on a guest.
Know the safety drill procedure by heart. What if the building catches fire or someone falls ill
.You need to be equipped with the requisite amount of knowledge and skill to deal with the situation. Most guests get panic stricken during the time of an emergency and do not know how to respond. You are their only support! So, keep your calm and hold your nerves and get going!
You want to start a conversation with the guests? Mr. Weather is at your disposal, why not use him. Never talk about politics, sex and religion Your job is to maintain peace and stop conflicts at any cost. Like complementing the guests, ignoring their stories and accepting drinks from them, talking about these three is also a strict ‘No’.
If the restaurant is situated in a multi-storeyed building it is normal for guests to lose their way and reach a different floor. It is up to you to help out of this situation. Answer their queries about the building and you will be their real-life hero.
Well, I am not asking you to be a body-builder, but you can at least keep yourself fit. If you have to pick up an ailing guest, it will help. If the restaurant is short of employees and offers you extra in lieu of overtime, you say ‘yes’ But knowing how tough your regular work is, can you manage it? Eating good and staying fit can be of service during these times.
Like stories, jokes too can make way for your popularity as the customers’ guy. With jokes, you can easily grasp the customers’ attention and some of them night wish to visit the restaurant only to listen to the waiter who makes them happy while working. In the event that the table has kids, keep them entertained with your unique ability. Children often influence their parents to frequent a particular restaurant. Once, you gain a reputation, there is no looking back.
Every day you see your senior working less than you do, and if you ever make the smallest error or falter in performance, it is you who draws his ire. It is quite frustrating and you rant about it to your colleagues. But, your boss’ professional life is not all chocolates or ice-cream. He too has to endure the heat of his senior and strive to improve his position, which is not easy. So, the chain goes a long way and does not end at your immediate senior.
Your roles and responsibilities are vast. Adhere to these and you will have a great future!
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