Posted on: August 5, 2022

Server Tips: How Do You Become a Good Waiter or Waitress? 

become a good waitress

Being a waiter is one of the most sought-after jobs that offer an opportunity, regardless of experience, to earn an income. For most people, it is only a stepping stone to a better future, while others have made it their career. 

Regardless of why you’re interested in the server sector, this post will help you learn the traits and skills required for being a good waiter or waitress and offer tips for waitressing to help you increase your earned tips from customers. 

Is being a waiter hard? 

Being a waiter or waitress has the potential of being a rewarding line of work. However, just like any other profession, working as a waiter or waitress has its advantages and disadvantages. 

In the waiting industry, a server's main responsibility is to accept customer orders and deliver food and beverages, with the customer experience being their top concern. As a result, servers must always be available and prepared to engage with clients. Providing a successful customer experience plays a key role in developing good server abilities.

How to be a good waiter or waitress 

So, what makes a good server? Here are the three qualities of a good waiter and waitress: 

Be personable

It's essential to build a connection with customers and have a likable personality they can relate to. The relationship between server and customer is a delicate one, with a great part depending on the quality of service. Gaining the trust of customers and coworkers requires a positive, optimistic attitude. Additionally, a skilled server knows how to remain calm in front of customers, manage a conflict, and take feedback to improve.

Know your menu

You should be prepared to handle questions from customers, regarding the menu, so it’s best to be knowledgeable about what you are offering. It is your responsibility as a server to not only know the menu inside and out but also to be able to recommend dishes or drinks to customers, inform them of all the available add-ons, and respond to simple concerns about common ingredients or potential allergy issues. Knowing the menu will enable you to seat more guests and handle more checks per shift while maintaining or possibly reducing your table turn time.

Be adaptable  

Each restaurant setting has different expectations of servers which means adaptability, friendliness, and expertise are great skills to have for success in almost any hospitality environment. For example, a fine dining business may value wine knowledge while a breakfast joint may value quickness and precision. A good waiter or waitress should be able to adapt to these changes. 

How to get more tips as a server 

Here are top serving tips that are been proven to work when trying to maximize your earnings: 

Introduce yourself by name

You'll come across as more likable and establish the basis for positive relationships with your customers if you introduce yourself by name. If you have the option to write your name down somewhere, do so because this will help your customers refer to it and remember it. 

Make it personal

Paying attention to your customers' needs and fulfilling their interests with excitement can help build a sincere connection between you and your customer. 

Describing in detail the qualities of a particular meal you enjoy and highlighting the taste and flavor profiles will make room for your customer to appreciate the honesty of your recommendations. 

Repeat the customer’s order

Repeating a customer's order offers several advantages because it demonstrates that you’re an excellent listener (and note-taker), which in turn establishes trust. 

However, there is also a psychological effect behind this practice. When servers repeat orders back to their customers, even if the order has been written down, customers subconsciously perceive that the server is like them, and psychologically people tend to like people who mirror their gestures and speech. 

Learn how to upsell

Instead of upselling products, try upselling experiences. To upsell effectively, you must ask discovery questions (questions that reveal more about the customer), pay attention to what they say, and then make a suitable suggestion in response.

For example, if serving a customer during a special celebration, try offering a bottle of champagne instead of an individual glass and make sure to recommend the perfect pairing. 

Always provide excellent service

Customers expect good service, therefore in order to receive a generous tip, you must go above and beyond their expectations. A well-tipped server is typically one that can solve their customers’ issues in authentic ways and relate to them as humans.

Tips for being a server

Here’s a list of tips for waitressing you should incorporate in the workplace:

  • Master your restaurant’s point of sale system inside out as it’s your go-to tool for managing service. 
  • Ask the customers how their day is going or if there is a special occasion.
  • Periodically check on the customers discretely to find out if they require anything.  
  • Write “thank you” on your guest’s checks. This can help increase your tips. 
  • Speak to your customers, learn their preferences, and suggest drinks, appetizers, main courses, and desserts. As mentioned, the goal is to sell the experience! 
  • Offer genuine recommendations to customers depending on their preferences and your experiences. 
  • Plates should be held by the bottom and glasses by the stem so you never touch the surface area that the customer will come in contact with. 
  • If you’re unsure about a question or concern, it’s best to respond with “let me find out.”
  • Never remove a plate with food on it without making sure with the customer beforehand. 
  • Have a consistent level of service throughout every course. 
  • Try to not interrupt the customer's conversation. 
  • Never let the customer over-order. Give them advice and inform them about portion sizes ahead of time. 
  • Inform customers if there is a menu item out of stock as soon as possible so they don’t get disappointed when ordering. 
  • Always place the check in a neutral place to avoid the risk of letting personal biases show. 
  • Try to remember the customers’ names and faces. If they become a regular customer and you remember their name, they will be surprised and appreciate it. 
  • Always actively listen to your customers. 
  • Greet customers with a positive and welcoming attitude and smile at every customer you make eye contact with.

Learn to Become the Best Waiter or Waitress

A final way to ensure you're a great server is to take a certified server training course. Enroll today!