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Front of the house. Restaurant manual and guide. How to be pro in the business and make great money doing it!

Updated on May 29, 2012

A great tool for business owners, managers & front of the house employees.

This was written in hopes that it will help you better understand the restaurant business and become a true professional at it whether you are a student, a mom going back to work, someone unemployed and you are looking for a way to make an income, or if you are already in the business and are interested in learning the tricks of the pros who make great money in this business. People actually pay for great service. Sometimes you'll get those tippers who are just ignorant to tipping accordingly. You'll have that.

This type of work can be stressful, but it is rewarding at the end when you are counting your tips. This line of work is not for everyone, if you think you have what it takes to be a pro in this business and you are unemployed read my words and learn from them. Go apply for these jobs, you don't need a degree to get one. My manual and guide can help you to learn so when you head out there you can be confident you could get the job. I suggest you take the personality quiz to see if you fit the bill first. It takes a certain personality to be good at this. I personally have always made great money in this business and I have a following as well.

Performing to the best of your abilities and being the professional that you are or want to be. This manual and guide will teach you the tricks to be the best that you can be and you'll make big bucks doing it! It may not be the salary job you are used too, the jobs that everyone wants, but it is a job and as I have always said. Work less and make more money!This job will also keep you in shape.

Use my manual and guide to learn how to be a professional at this occupation until your "real job" comes along. Or you might realize you can make more money in this business if you do it right!

Personality test

Lets start the journey and figure out what your personality type is. See if you are cut out for the restaurant business. Get a pen and paper.

1. When do you feel your best? (a)in the morning (b)during the afternoon and early evening(c)late at night

2. You usually walk... (a)fairly fast, with long steps (b)fairly fast with little steps (c)less fast, head up, looking the world in the face (d)less fast, head down (e)very slowly

3. When talking to people you...(a)stand with your arms folded (b) have your hands clasped (c) have one or both hands on your hips (d) touch or push the person whom you are talking (e) play with your ear, touch your chin, or smooth your hair

4. When relaxing, you sit with...(a) your knees bent with legs neatly side by side (b) your legs crossed (c) your legs stretched out or straight (d) one leg curled under you

5. When something really amuses you, you react with...(a) big appreciative laugh (b) a laugh, but not a loud one (c) a quiet chuckle (d) a sheepish smile

6.When you go to a party or social gathering you...(a) make a loud entrance so everyone notices you (b) make a quiet entrance, looking around for someone you know (c) make a quietest entrance, trying to stay unnoticed.

7. You're working very hard, concentrating hard, and you're (a)welcome the break (b) feel extremely irritated (c) vary between two extremes

8. Which of the following colors do you like most? (a) Red or orange (b) Black (c) Yellow or light blue (d) Green, dark blue or purple (e) White (f) Brown or gray

9. When you are in bed at night, in those last few moments before going to sleep you are...(a) stretched out on your back (b) stretched out face down on your stomach (c) on your side, slightly curled (d) with your head on one arm (e) with your head under the covers

10. You often dream that you are...(a)falling (b) fighting or struggling (c) searching for something or somebody (d) flying or floating (e) you usually have dreamless sleep (f) your dreams are always pleasant


1. a=2 b=4 c=6

2. a=6 b=4 c=7 d=2 e=1

3. a=4 b=2 c=5 d=7 e=6

4.a=4 b=6 c=2 d=1

5. a=6 b=4 c=3 d=5 e=2

6. a=6 b=4 c=2

7.a=6 b=2 c=4

8. a=6 b=7 c=5 d=4 e=3 f=2 g=1

9. a=7 b=6 c=4 d=2 e=1

10. a=4 b=2 c=3 d=5 e=6 f=1

Now add up your total points.

Over 60 points: Others see you as someone they should "handle with care." You're seen as vain self-centered, and one who is extremely dominant. Others may admire you, wishing they could be more like you, but don't always trust you, hesitating to become too deeply involved with you.

41-50 points: the lively center of attention. Others see you as fresh, lively, charming, amusing, practical, and always interesting; someone who's constantly in the center of attention, but sufficienty well-balanced not to let it go to their head. They also see you as kind, considerate, and understanding; someone who'll always cheer you up and help out.

51-60 points: Others see you as an exciting, highly volatile, rather impulsive personality; a natural leader, who's quick to make decisions, though not always the right ones. They see you as bold and adventuresome, someone who will try anything once; someone who takes chances and enjoys an adventure. They enjoy being in your company because of the excitement "you" radiate.

31-40 points: Others see you as sensible, cautious, careful & practical. They see you as clever, gifted, or talented, but modest. Not a person who makes friends too quickly or easily, but someone who's extremely loyal to friends you do make and who expects the same loyalty in return. Those who really get to know you realize it takes a lot to shake your trust in your friends, but equally that it takes you a long time to get over if that trust is ever broken.

21-30 points: Your friends see you as painstaking and fussy. They see you as very cautious, extremely careful, a slow steady plodder. It would really surprise them if you ever did something impulsively or on the spur of the moment, expecting you to examine everything carefully from every angle and then, usually decide against it. They think this reaction is caused partly by your careful nature.

Under 21 points: People think you are shy, nervous, and indecisive, someone who needs looking after, who always wants someone else to make the decisions & who doesn't want to get involved with anyone or anything. They see you as a worrier who always sees problems that don't exist. Some people think you are boring. Only those who know you well know you aren't.

Now that you have taken the personality test where do you stand?

Personality is a big part of being a professional in the restaurant business, if you don't have personality you should try to get one or don't get in the restaurant business, there's no room for you. Think about it, when you go out to eat to a full service restaurant don't you want a server with some personality? I do.

Your personality quiz-what do you think?

In the restaurant business you have to be very personalble. You have to be able to smile always.Leave your home problems, home. No one wants a frowning server or bartender to wait on them. Or you could getting your butt kicked at the moment and all you want to do is walk out the back door and quit! You're in "the weeds", yikes!Helpful hint! All you need to do stay focused, stay composed and stay organized, it helps greatly if you know your restaurant menu and protacal. That will keep you organized in itself. Have your path made in the floor, you know exactly what you need to do and when. You can do all that and have fun too. Just look at all those tios you'll be counting at the end of the night! If you love what you do and you are a natural at it, you will love your job and be good at it. If you get in the weeds and you are thinking about leaving, take a deep breath, look at what you need to be doing, stay focused, see it through, do not be flustered. As mentioned know your menu, your register, your drinks.

If you have personality and you know you have it, go for it,try working in a restaurant, there is good money to be made and if you're real good at what you do, you will aquire regulars, hopefully good tipper ones and they will return to see you, that'll make you look good when they ask to sit in your section. In my chapters to come I will explain every aspect of the Front of the house in the restaurant business, and how each job should be performed to the very best. This manual guide is made to the point, easy to learn guides and tecniques.

Guest types

The Family. Mom, Dad, and the kids:

Most families want to get in and out especially if they have small children. They could have very polite little people or they could have monsters, you can usually tell right off the bat, this will give you an idea of how the table should be serviced, you will still want to help to get them in and out. Here are some helpful hints for you, I will share these with you so you can learn to give the very best service in every situation. I once had a cook who acted like she strongly disliked me, I was very frightened of her,(Gloria) she was walking behind me and she said "I 'm gonna make a good server out of you yet" at that point I knew she liked me and she knew I had it in me! Listen to your elders in the business who you admire, they can teach you a few things.OK, here's my helpful hints.

1.*Always Welcome your guests and introduce yourself, so when they leave they can tell the manager that you gave them great service and they'll be back! 2.*Get their drink order, suggest some appetizers according to the size of the family.* get their drink order and return to the table,* see if your guests are ready to place their appetizer order, *give them a few minutes to decide on this if they are not ready. When they are ready to order appetizer's, see if they are ready to order their dinner as well. If not, put their appetizer order in, look and check to see where their menu is. (You can tell when someone is ready to order,* they usually put their menu down or close their menu. *Promply put in their appetizer order, as soon as it comes up, *get their dinner order in, this should give your guests enough time to eat there appetizer while dinner is being prepared. *Check on your guests after a few bites, see if everyting is to their liking?* Check drinks,*Good thing to know! 3 finger rule, if their drink is to the 3 finger rule offer them another, most restaurants offer free coffee, pop refills.What  three finger rule is, if you had your three fingers at the bottom of their glass and nothing is above it, you need to ask. *Make sure refills are alright for the kids as some parents might want them to switch over to water.* As soon as they are all done with appetizers and dinner, suggestive sell desserts, *promply put the order in. After you have brought them their dessert promply deliver their bill so they can check out and get their family home. Hopefully leaving you with a great tip on the table for your great service in getting their family in and out! *Helpful hints to take great care of your family tables, extra napkins as kids can be messy and if the kitchen is backed up, offer crackers for small children, crayons and paper to prevent meltdown while waiting for food!


Greet your guests, follow protacal as above. Feel your table out, some couples are just getting off of work and want to relax a bit with their drinks, if they have an alcoholic beverage they may want to relax a bit before ordering, ask. Would you like to relax a bit? If they don't order alcohlic drinks it could be an indication they are just there to have dinner and move on. If they tell you they want to relax a bit, check on them peek on their drinks, three finger rule, don't disturb them if you don't need to. *Eye contact, make eye contact as often as you can, guests will know you are keeping an eye on them, litteraly. They will see you and will let you know if they need you or are ready to order, stand at the table quietly until one of them notices you,if you need to stop and refill their drink, I usually just point at the drink or do the "another round" hand movement, then they can continue talking, guests appreciate that.* When moving around in your section always try to make eye contact with your guests,  *Keep an eye on their drinks. You will be able to figure out what kind of pace they will be drinking at.Note* Do not ever be pushy with your guests, do not rush people, service them promptly as to their needs, your restaurant may be on a wait and yes you want to make some money, if you know how to service your tables of all different types you will be able to move them accordling, and if you good at what you do, you will be able to move those tables and make great money!Helpful hint* If your section gets slammed and you feel like you could immediately get into the weeds, treat all you tables like a big party, get to the first one sat, after intro, get their drink order, go to the next, same thing, etc. Get the drinks, deliever to the first one sat, and in order, as you are dropping off drinks tell them you will be right back to get them started, at that point in time they probably haven't decided yet anyway. Do this down the line, then the last 2 drinks ont the tray, the last table sat,tell them you will be right back. Go straight to your first table sat and ask if they are ready? Then go to the next sat and so on. When placing the orders always put 1st table in first and so on. If it all comes up at once take it out like a party. This is a good way to stay out of the weeds! Continuing on, feel out the situation. Appetizer out, dinner in. Check on them after a few bites. Look at their drinks, take such great care of them that they don't need to ask for anyting because you are on top of the situation. *Be prompt! But *don't smother them with your service, *scan your section, *watch for eye contact. *Pull plates when emptied, or watch for napkins, silverware on the corner, of their plates too, keep the *table clean at all times, *never pull a plate with any amount of food on it without permission, your guest may be taking a breether. Do not, ever, interrupt your guests when they are talking to one another, try to make that eye contact, they usually stop and give you their attention. Suggestive sell desserts as well. If it looks like they are all done, ask if they would care for anything else, if they say no, then offer them their check. Let them know where to cash out. Let them know to have a great day and hope they will return.

Business people:

You can always tell business people, someone usually has a briefcase in hand, suits, ties, business people, they usually come in small groups and come in 1 at a time, or they straggle in. Ask the first person you see if they are the "head person" as I always call them, they are the ones with the company credit card. As if their check will be all on 1, then this way you will know this ahead of time. Much nicer when on one, you don't have to worry about writing down names or "guy in the pink shirt and tie". One check is a big plus in any situation with more then 6 people. Ask the head person if they will be ordering right away or having coctails first and appetizers, they will usually give you their protacal on what they have in mind. Sometimes they may have a meeting first and do not want anything on the table except drinks, they may be passing out papers and will need the room. Deliever drinks quietly if they are in a meeting, watch your head person, eye contact, they will let you know when the meeting is over and you can then begin to take orders. After orders are taken and the food is delivered, check on your guests as mentioned before, eye contact, they usually speak if they need something, make sure everything is to their liking, extra napkins, there finger rule for drinks, promply remove dishes, silver, ect. Always be kind and polite. Note*Treat any guest the way you would like to be treated when going out to eat. The head person will let you know when they are all done, if you are able to put a gratutity on the check (most restaurants have a policy, example 6 or more 18% grat.)and in the restaurants I have seen, it is your choice to do so. For business people they will probably appreciate you adding it on since they will probably be in a hurry to finally be able to leave work duties and go home. Helpful hint*I usually do the old "it is restaurant policy to include the grat into parties of ? or more, but it is my choice, would you like me to include it or shall I leave it up to you?" Keep in mind, you are taking a risk, but after seeing how thedining experience went and if you gave them great service,1/2 is done, the boss could be a really cool guy or gal and leave you a 18%, plus, grat. Most and I say most business people know how to tip, just from my experienes with them. Sometimes it could backfire in your face in any dining situation, so always feel out all your big table guests, you will have to make the decision at the end to offer for them to tip you accordling. You will learn this, if you are not brave at first, grat them! It's ok, know that it is their for you.


Run your party, don't let your party run you!

Parties can become a handful especially if you let the party take you over, one drink you at a time, I need, I need, I need... This party can turn into a waitress nightmare and a bunch of angry guests! Don't let this happen to you!* Here's what you do. Here they come they are arriving,* get to each guest promptly, *get their drink order, hopefully you will know ahead of time whether the check is all on one or they are separate, *pre booked parties should have informed the person they reserved with ahead of time if the check will be all on one. And if you are a person who takes reservations, remember to ask that.This should be told to you ahead of time by your hostess or check the book yourself, hopefully someone remembered to ask.* If there is no indication of this, *ask the first person you come into contact with,*" will this be on one check?"If it is not, start writing down their names or list them, guy in leather jacket, etc...when they order their first drink. Keep your tabs straight and organized. If you don't do this right away, this will nip you in the butt later when you don't have time to figure out who is who, you don't want that to happen. If you have couples or familys number them. Family- seats 1-5 or Millers, however you do it you will be organized. *Find out who the head person is, the person who reserved the party, what kind of a party is it? What is the ajenda? The head person should be sought out at the beginning to get all info, makes you look like the professional you are.They will  tell you their wishes of how they'd like the night to go. They will give you indications of when they would like to get appetizers ordered and dinner.*stay in communication with the "head person."* Time to order *Start a one end of the table,* the beginning of it, number your guests 1,2,3,4,5 etc..You will put their checks into order at this time, names now become numbers * do this so when it is time to deliever their meals you will know who is getting what, (I cannot stand that when a server stands at the table with food saying, ok who had the steak burger plain well done with french fries?" Wrong! Not very professional. You should be able to get each person their meal without asking who's is who's. After you have served them *scan back around and ask if anyone needs anything offer* refills and *extra napkins. *Make sure you get everyones requests in at that time so they don't run you for one thing at a time after you serve them.You jhave to be the one to ask each and everyone, look at their drinks,* "does anyone need anything?" That is running your table and them not running you. *Three finger rule, *eye contact, and do keep an eye on them, someone looking around like they are looking for you needs your prompt attention so they can get what they need right away! You want to give that prompt service so they'll come back again and maybe tell their friends what a great time they had and what wonderful service they got and they'll be back, bringing with them more customers. *Service is first, they see and experience your service before the food comes out, you leave an impression of they're experience at your restaurant.When your guests are done, see if they would like their checks after suggestive selling those desserts.*When the party begins to unwind is your *cue that they will be wrapping it up soon.*Ask the head person. *Get them their checks, if a bunch hand them over to you at a time, keep them in order you received them for quick change back.Decide before you hand out those checks if you should put a grat on them, feel them out as the time goes on waiting on them, go with your gut if you should, alot of guests will not give you anymore than the grat amount if you choose to grat them, they may tip you more if you don't, but then again, they may tip you less than what the grat would have been, don't kick yourself in the butt, live and learn.

On over serving:

Did you know if you over serve your guests and they leave and get into an accident, you can get in big trouble? You could face a huge fine, do jail time and loose your job because the restaurant is held liable as well. If you overserve someone and they get into a fight with another patron and the police are called you can get in trouble for that too. Slurring word, droopy eyes, loudness, are good indicators your guest has reached their limit. Cut them off, call them a cab or find them a ride. Some guests you can't tell right away, such as when you hear, it just hit them, they are now feeling the effects of the acholol. Check ID's serving a minor can be huge4 troubles as well, if they don't have an ID, don't serve them, if a liguor control person were in your restaurant and they were checking ID's and someone didn't have one, trouble again! This doesn't happen very often, but it is best to be safe than sorry.To see if someone is 21 their birthdate year should be 21 years prior, example 2010 that would be today's date and birth year 1989. Bottom line, check ID's, don't over serve, don't worry about making friends with those who give you a bad time about not having their ID or you've cut them off. You're doing your job, if someone gives you a bad time, get your manager, they will handle it.

I hope this section has taught you a few "good things to know". I have worked with the best in this business and have learned from them how to make some great money! I hope you'll put this to good use and go out there and get that job, that surprisingly you could pick up your first "gig". Start making some money, you already have the tools right here in front of you to do a great job, not only will your guests love you, but your boss will too! If you're already in the business, I hope I have taught you some new things to help you be the absolute very best you can be at your job and to sharpen your skills. I wish all good luck in the restaurant adventures!

12 Steps to great service

 1. Hostess: Immediately acknowledge every guest that enters the restaurant with a warm smile.

2. Seat guests with menus and rolled silver, introduce the daily special upon seating and tell them to enjoy!

3. Server-Approach table immediately, 2 minute rule, note if you are very busy swing by and let them know you acknowledge them, you will be right there, get back as soon as possible.

4.Introduce yourself, ask what they are drinking, offer suggestions for appetizers and dinners.

5. Return to table with beverages, assist your guest in placing their orders. Note* Know your menu so you can be helpful and knowledgeable of the menu. Be sure to write their order out accurately incase of special orders you'll want to get it right!

6. Verbally repeat the order back to the guests for accuracy, place your order to the kitchen.

7. While food is being prepared, check all tables by sweeping your section, check on guests, eye contact, 3 finger rule, buss your tables as you go. Note* Give drinkd refills upon approval of the guest.  Practice teamwork by helping fellow servers, buss, run food, refill drinks outside your station.

8. After guests receive their meals, do a 3 bite check back to make sure their meal is of quality and satisfication. See if they need anything.

9. Maintain occupied tables by removing dirty unused items and requests for beverage refills. Always ask if they would like another, never assume.

10. After guests are done with dinner, suggestive sell desserts.

11. Ask if guests are finished, present check to the table. Identify their cashier. If it is you, tell them you will be back when they are ready, watch for them to put it to the side of the table for cashing out.

12. Thank your guests graciously and invite them back.

13. MOD The manager should always make a personal visit to each table making sure everything was satisfactory. Thank them for visiting and invite them back. This is an opportunity to make a great impression.

Note* To hostesses: To figure out how to estimate a wait time, walk around the restaurant see where guests are with their meals. Guestimate how long it will take them to finish. If more guests are eating appetizers as well the wait time will be longer.

Closing thoughts

I brought this to all of you who may decide this should be the route they take as far a job until your "real job" comes along. This is a great business to be in and if you are really good you could probably make better money than that 9-5 job you had. This business can be crazy at times, just like any other job, only in this business we call it "the weeds". You set what you make, if you give great service you will make great tips, if you aren't cut out for this type of job, you probably should get off the porch because you shouldn't hang with the big dougs. If you took the personality test and you think you can do it, you will probably be able to find a job much quicker and start making some money! Too many people are after the same jobs and that's what's making it difficult for our people to get to work, the jobs you've probably held,  You can get into a restaurant or bar much easier, if you show your interest and can prove you have what it takes then you might just be back in the money soon! I wish everyone good luck in the restaurant avenue of jobs,and otherwise. I wanted to share my personal experience. I've been in this business for over 25 years from serving to managing to bartending in the front of the house, I've learned much and have become the professional I am at what I do and if I can help you to get back to work sooner in this occupation, I did my job in offering you hints and advice in getting into this business. I hope you've enjoyed my writings. Shelly Blossom


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    • DREAM ON profile image

      DREAM ON 

      8 years ago

      Long and detailed hub.Very good and I am also learning some tips.I can see a lot of future hubs coming soon.

    • Tamarii2 profile image


      8 years ago from NEW YORK

      Interesting hub I picked up some good information.I can tell from your writing that you love writing.Thank you for responding to one of my questions.Welcome to hubpages.


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