Before I graduated from college, I worked in a few restaurants where I was mostly depending on tip money to pay bills. Perhaps because I didn’t have a background in serving, I was a little astounded to find that I could make a living this way. If you are currently a server but don’t feel that you are making enough tips, you can probably modify some of your behaviors and start making more. Here are three tips you should seriously consider implementing:
1. Smile And Make Eye Contact.
These are two basic principles of customer service that many servers are already aware of. Nevertheless, it seems that many servers do not smile and make eye contact with their customers. If you’re in this bad habit, correct it now. Why? Because smiling and making eye contact helps you build rapport with your customers, and this increases their familiarity and respect for you. The familiarity and respect often translate into a better tip.
Generally, at least some of your customers are going to be willing or already interested in purchasing additional food items. Whether it’s appetizers, wine, or a dessert, you should be making your customers aware of the options they have. (But don’t overwhelm them with information by going down the list of everything the restaurant offers unless they request that you do so.) Up-selling is a relatively easy and effective way to increase your tip because it increases the bill and people who tip fairly do so based on their total bill.
3. Work Nights And Weekends.
Working nights and weekends is an effective way to increase your tip for two reasons. One, restaurants tend to be busier during the weekends, meaning that you’re likely to get more tables. Second, the bills for meals tend to be higher at night and during the weekends, which can also increase your tip. If you’re currently working a lot of day shifts, you should have a conversation with your employer regarding how to start getting some night and weekend shifts. (There are exceptions to the nights and weekend principle, such as restaurants that are known for being extraordinarily busy in the morning such as Huddle House and IHOP).
Although there are many challenges that result from choosing serving as a temporary or permanent career, one of the greatest benefits is taking home a wallet full of cash after every shift. Yet if you aren’t skilled in getting good tips, you may not be taking home as much as you could. If this is your problem, try implementing some of the strategies I’ve listed above. Good luck!