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Food Servers-Make More Money

Updated on April 3, 2014

Increase Your Income

I have been serving food in various types of restaurants for years, and I have had some of the best trainers. I can make more money serving food than many "educated" occupations.With some simple tips, practice and experience, you can too.

Always Greet With A Smile!

Even if you can't get to a table right away, always acknowledge the guests and assure them you will be with them momentarily. Do this as you walk by with food or drinks for another table.

If you are completely swamped and have a host/hostess, don't hesitate to ask for help getting drinks. Flip your host/hostess a few dollars at the end of a good night for helping you. It would be worth your money.

Introduce Yourself

Customers like to know your name, the specials of the evening, and the soup of the day, even if there is a sign up. Recommend an appetizer. Let them know the popular ones, as well as your favorites.

An example introduction would be...

"I'm SORRY about the wait! I'm Colleen, I'll be taking care of you today. We have chicken noodle and broccoli and cheddar soups today. Prime rib is our most popular special today, but we also have the Chicken Florentine served with a salad for $9.99. Our chicken tenders with homemade Ranch is our most popular appetizer. Can I get you a cocktail or other beverage?"

Notice that although my customers had to wait, I had previously acknowledged them and they were surely pleased that I took the time to make them feel welcomed.

Check Back

I find it amazing how many servers bring you your food and disappear. Always check back with your customers within a minute or two of serving their meal. Your customers will appreciate not having to wait or hunt you down for more butter or because the meat isn't done enough.

Keep Your Hands Busy

At idle moments, keep something in your hands, like a towel, coffee pot or pitcher of sweet tea. If you are coming out from in back of house, grab something you know will be needed soon, such as ketchup or napkins. Clean the lamps and sides of tables and chairs. Help a fellow server (what comes around usually goes around). Start your side work. Restaurant managers and guests alike will see this and appreciate your ability to keep yourself as useful as possible. Servers that work harder make more money.


There is something unappealing about dirty dishes left on a table, even if it's an empty table nearby. Keep your station clean and help your fellow servers keep their stations clean. If you have an empty hand, grab empty plates as you walk by.It's simple.

Guests tip less if the tables are not pre-bussed and pre-bussing makes clean-up faster and easier.

Make Your Guests Laugh

Tell a good joke. Laughter makes people feel good and people who feel good tend to be more generous.

Leave your problems at home. People don't care to get bummed out when they are going out to have a good time.

Know Your Menu

Know the foods, how they are prepared, and what the ingredients are. Sample them. Many customers will be on special diets. Some have food allergies. Many will have questions. Be able to recommend low salt, low fat, low carbohydrate, or other "lite" food.  My best tippers were customers who had a lot of questions I was able to answer and ones who appreciated my recommendations.

Be Individual

Can you carry your own corkscrew, checkbook or apron? Can you serve mints to your customers? What can you create in the desert room for your customers? Give your guests something to remember you by.

Suggestive Sell

Get that check price up, but don't be pushy. Offer a before dinner cocktail. RECOMMEND an appetizer or two. Suggest loading a baked potato or adding a salad to their meal. Suggest desert or coffee after dinner.

Some of this can be done during your introduction. See example above.

Study Your Regular Customers

Learn their names, occupations and favorite foods and drinks, Get their drink when you see them coming. Ask how the job, wife, kids, etc. are. Remembering a regular customer helps them feel important and appreciated and will keep them coming back and asking for you.

Make Recommendations

Even if you don't eat at work or don't care for your restaurants style of food, recommend menu items based on good sellers.

Good Service Does Pay!

Ensure that each customer is satisfied and enjoyed their visit. Thank them and welcome them back. The better the sevice the better the tips.


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    • mljdgulley354 profile image

      mljdgulley354 6 years ago

      You make good points for server and customer. I worked as a server, cook and caterer for 30 years. Best money I ever made.