As a server, the majority of your income comes from tips. And we're sure you already know, you aren't just a server. You're a party host, you may host from time to time, you manage customer service requests, you have to upsell items, run here and there at the same time, you're never standing still! Every customer you come in contact with is judging you and hopefully pays you based on the service you provided them. Some will tip less than others, and hopefully, we can show you a few ways to reduce that number even more.
Please keep in mind that these are all suggestions on possible ways to make more tips. These suggestions shouldn't be taken as a definitive way to make more money.
Know Your Restaurant
Yeah, pretty simple. Know your restaurant's ins and outs. Understand the menu, where everything is, who everyone is, and the most efficient route from point A to point B. If someone asks for a refill on water and another customer is asking for a straw, rather than running two errands, find a route that allows you to accomplish both tasks at the same time.
This comes down to understanding your restaurant and its clients. Is there an average time that tables turn over? Is there a certain checklist you should run through when a new part is seated? Is there a new special or off-menu item that could pique these customers' interest? Simply knowing your restaurant and its processes can go a long way in helping you increase the amount you receive at the end of this customer's experience.
Get Smaller Groups When Possible
Contrary to popular belief, smaller groups are actually more profitable than larger ones. This is because people in the party often assume that whoever is splitting the bill or taking the check will leave a tip covering the full amount for everyone else. Sadly, more often than not that's not the case.
Another element to smaller versus larger parties is that when the person, or persons, paying for the large bill leave a tip, they may leave a smaller amount because there is no personal responsibility. They did their part for the group and everyone else could and should have added their own tip. While the second element is becoming less common due to Venmo, PayPal, and other mobile payment apps, it's still something to take into consideration when choosing between large or small groups.
Be Prompt and Confident
One of the worst feelings is being seated at a table when you're hungry and waiting for what seems like forever to be taken care of. Although it depends on how busy the restaurant is, stopping by a newly seated table just to say hi, introduce yourself, and let them know that you'll be with them shortly goes a long way.
When you are able to give the table your full attention, be confident in yourself. You know the menu, you know the specials, and based on what they're looking for, you have the perfect suggestion for their meal. Be confident, smile, be polite, and most importantly, be prompt. If you feel like one of their requests may take a little longer than expected, let that be known. They should be able to understand that something may take a bit longer if it's an odd request or the restaurant is very busy. Being upfront about these items can go a long way in improving your customer's experience.
A Token of Your Appreciation
A small token of your appreciation can go a long way in increasing the amount of tips you receive. Leaving a mint, thank you card, or something else as a way to remember you enhances the customer experience to make it more memorable. It's a way for you to show your gratitude for them spending time with you and being great customers.
When you check in with them throughout their meal, try to create a connection with them so when they think of excellent service and delicious food, you pop up in their mind. Creating a stronger connection with guests is something that is often quite easy, but overlooked. Leaving your customers with a small gift, a mint or piece of candy, or even a joke, shows a token of appreciation and thankfulness for serving them.
Make Things Simple
Keeping things simple in a complicated industry doesn't have to be a distant dream. There are processes and tools that are available for you and your team to help simplify your operations, track actionable items, and increase employee accountability.
ShiftForce is an all-in-one workforce management solution designed to help shift-to-shift businesses run better, more efficient, and more profitable businesses. Get started with a free trial today to see how!