Waiting on Tables - How to Wait Tables
If you're considering waiting on tables, it's important to know how to properly handle this demanding but ultimately rewarding job.
There are many different little techniques that increase your attractiveness as an employee, make a customer's dining experience more enjoyable, and increase customer generosity when tipping. In this hub we look at some vital techniques on how to wait tables.
Present cleanly and professionally in the atire the restaurant management provides or recommends. Uniforms should be cleaned and pressed, hair should be neat and shoes polished. As a waiter/waitness, always stand erect and walk briskly. The appearance of the waiter/waitress should not distract the customers, and so things such as wearing flashy ornaments, or chewing gum should not be allowed.
Know the Menu:
Take time to learn the menu and dietary content of each meal. It is important to undertand the menu's rules in relation to substitutions and special requests. Before each shift, memorise the day's specials, and know the current meal recommendations of the chef. If the restaurant is licensed to serve alcohol, learn the wine list as well.
Greet the Customers Appropriately:
Be aware of the seating layout of the restaurant, and any reservations. Greet customers politely and coridially and direct them to their seats beofre providing them with the menus and taking their drink order. Do not engage in excessive or unnecessary converstaion with customers, and never interrupt a customer's discussion with other diners.
Anticipate the Needs of your Diner(s):
If a customer is handicapped, move furniture appropriately and place their meal and cutlery so that it is easily accessible to them. If small children are amongst those dining, ask the parents or caregivers if they'd like high chairs or booster seats, and provide crayons and paper for them to occupy themselves. When serving, bring the childrens food first and subtly provide extra napkins if necessary.
Be Concise when Taking Orders:
Listen carefully to the customers orders, and be clear on what they are ordering, particularly if they ask for substitutions or have special cooking requests. Attempting to memorise the order is not impressive, and increases the risk of incorrectly taking the order. After they've ordered read it back to them to ensure you are correct, and give them an approximate waiting time.
Serving the Food:
Re-examine the customers' order again when their food comes out to make sure that it's correct. Serve from the left and place plates gently on the table. If you must shift cutlery, excusing yourself politely. Avoid reaching over customers; move around the table if you need better access to something.
Pass by their table about two minutes after they start eating to make sure everything is to their satisfaction and their food was cooked to order.
Monitor the Needs of the Customer:
Keep watch on your customers' drinks. If they're consuming soft drinks or water, pass by every few minutes to see if they are getting low, and provide refills accordingly. If they are drinking alcoholic beverages, ask if they would like another before their first drink is finished.
Clearing the Table:
Without distrating the diners, remove finished plates and glases from the right. Always ask the customer if they are finished with the plate or glass before clearing it from the table.
Presenting the Check:
Before presenting the check, inquire about desserts and offer to provide take home containers if a significant portion of the meal was not eaten. Once you've presented the check, let the customer know if you'll be serving at the cashier or if they should pay at another desk. Never make the customer feel rushed once the check has been presented, and still continue to monitor their needs.
If you handle the check, offer to be back with their change. This presents you as humble and unpresumptuous, making it more likely you'll receive a larger tip.
Farewelling the Customers:
Thank the diners before they leave and invite them to come back again. Before they have left the restaurant, casually investigate their table to ensure that they haven't accidentally left anything behind.