10 Things Every Restaurant Server Should Know

HostessEvery profession has its workers that stand out above the rest; workers that always do their jobs right, put the best interests of the company first, and make for happy customer relationships. These workers even exist in the restaurant industry. To show you what we mean, we’ve compiled a list of 10 things every restaurant server should know.

Servers who know and incorporate these things show both their employers and their industries in a favorable light. They also tend to earn higher tips. Next time you’re out at your favorite restaurant, pay attention and see if you can tell if your server knows these things.

1. You Are the Face of the Restaurant

Right off the bat, the food critics at Chef Seattle reminds servers they are the face of the restaurant in which they work. That means the servers will likely get the praise from happy customers while receiving the scorn from the unhappy. Servers should just prepared that it’s part of the job, no matter where they work.

2. Be Careful about Familiarity

The Huffington Post recently published a list of 11 things that people find most annoying at restaurants. The top two are directly related to servers who allow themselves to become overly familiar with customers. It makes us uneasy, so please be careful about touching us or sharing too much personal information.

3. Attitude Affects Tips

This one should be obvious but, unfortunately, it’s lost on one too many servers. When customers go out to eat, they want to be greeted and served by someone with a friendly and helpful attitude. They say you catch more flies with honey; you’ll get better tips with a good attitude.

4. Make Sure You Know the Menu

Waitrainer, a provider of online video training for servers, says is vitally important for servers to know their menus inside and out. Customers are looking for servers who know how a menu will apply to food allergies and other potential problems. They also do really appreciate your advice on menu choices.

5. Confidence Goes a Long Way

Servers who do their jobs with confidence instill that same confidence in customers. They are less likely to receive complaints about the food, inappropriate questions about service, and so on. It’s like any other career; confidence tells the customer a server knows what he’s doing.

6. Efficiency Makes Life Easier

It seems the most efficient servers are also the happiest and most focused. Learning to perform tasks efficiently means the server is less fatigued, less stressed, and better able to focus on each individual customer. A lack of efficiency tends to lead to chaos during busy periods.

7. Tips belong to You

In most states, it is illegal for restaurant managers and owners to confiscate the tips of servers. In some establishments all tips are combined and split evenly among servers, but tips still go to the servers themselves. As a server, you earned those tips; make sure you’re allowed to keep them.

8. Know the Difference between Hovering and Serving

A common rule in wait service is to make sure every customer need is met as quickly and efficiently as possible. Unfortunately, this leads to some servers hovering over their tables like mosquitoes on a warm summer evening. Learn the difference between hovering and serving; it will make a big difference in customer satisfaction.

9. Remember the Soft Answer

There’s an old proverb that says “a soft answer turns away wrath.” If there’s any industry where it’s more applicable than wait service, we’re not aware of it. Servers need to know that angry customers vent on them simply because they are the easiest target. Answering an angry customer with kindness and softness will usually disarm him or her right away.

10. Remember to Smile

Have you ever noticed that most sales associates smile a lot? That’s because they’ve learned that a smile and a nod is the best way to keep customers thinking positively. It works equally well for restaurant servers. If you always present a smile to your customers, they will be more likely to stay positive throughout their visit.

As for the rest of us, we restaurant patrons could learn a thing or two about our servers. For starters, restaurant servers work extremely hard for the money they earn. They aren’t there just to give us someone to beat up on after we’ve had a bad day.

Second, if you asked the typical server what he or she would most like to experience on the job, it wouldn’t be better tips. It would be gracious customers who appreciate the service they receive and understand that dining at a restaurant is no more perfect than dining at home.

Things happen. It’s not the end of the world.

When you dine out in the future, do your servers a favor: treat them with the same respect with which you want to be treated. Cut them some slack, understand they are human beings too, and do your best to be gracious to them. You’ll find that a great attitude on your part will go a long way to encouraging your server to provide excellent service.

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