Being a server in a fine dining restaurant requires skill, a good memory and a lot of customer service. There are some who have spent years to perfect their skills to be a top-notch server, and these people have a long list of satisfied clientele and may have formed life-long friendships with customers, from ordinary and regular diners to big-name celebrities.
There are various ways and means for a server to make more money. It requires practice, dedication, hard work and learning. This investment can and will bring great results at work. Your success depends on you. Below are some ideas that can help you earn bigger tips.
- Warm greeting. Greet customers warmly, ensure that you make eye contact with them, and give them a genuine smile. A warm smile from you will most likely elicit a smile from them too. This gesture makes the customers feel welcome and cared for.
- Treat each one with respect. Diners are there to experience have a good time and experience the good food and the service that the restaurant has to offer. Make sure that they enjoy the experience. Lead them to a table in a formal yet friendly manner and show them that you are glad they dropped by. Stand up straight and listen keenly to what the customers are saying. Do not let some rude customers sour the rest of the day or evening for you. Do not let problems in the kitchen or personal problems affect your performance of your duties as a good server.
- Dress properly and relax. Always appear neat and tidy and wear clean and crisp uniforms. Your uniform is an extension of the restaurant you work for and you should wear it with pride. Be relaxed when serving your customers and do not hurry them up. Be of assistance to them and offer suggestions if they seem hesitant or do not know what to order. Give them time to make a decision. Tell them that you will leave them for a while to attend to other tables. But be very attentive and keep them in your range of vision while attending to another table so that you can see when they give the signal when they are ready to order.
- Know your menu. You should learn your menu by heart, including the preparation time, the ingredients and process involved in making all the dishes that are served in the restaurant. Customers will greatly appreciate you when you give them advice especially if they are new diners. Aside from knowing the dishes from what was written in the menu, try to sample each of the dishes so that you will have first-hand knowledge of how each dish tastes. It will be better if you also learn about the wines that will go with the entrée.
- Learn to upsell. Suggest some soup, appetizers and salads that customers may have while waiting for their order. Discuss with them what these dishes are and why they may like to try them. They will greatly appreciate the care you extend to them.
- Attention, attention. Check on your clients from time to time and approach their table for no reason to check if they need anything - like a water glass needs to be filled up or to clear away some empty plates and refill bread baskets. These small courtesies show customers that you are attentive and caring and their appreciation will be in the form of a bigger tip.
- Know your regular customers. Know the names of regular customers and greet them by name. They will greatly appreciate it. Extend it further by knowing your customer's habits and preferences. They may have dishes that they want to have every time they dine in your restaurant. Checking if they want to have that regular dish will be noted and appreciated.
Learn to read your customers and be responsive to them. Greet each one with a smile and know that they are welcome and that they can expect good service from you at all times.