Every Little Bit Helps
Hereís a little storyÖ There was a man who came into the restaurant every
day for an early dinner. There werenít many tables at that time so it wasnít
like he was taking up table space. He ordered the same thing every day. If
we were out of his usual he had a back up order and it didnít bother him at
all if he had to use it. The tip was small based on the total of his bill.
He would leave $1.50. This amounted to approximately 9%. Servers didnít want
to serve him due to the low percentage. I waited on him every day I was able
to. Hereís why: $1.50 per day, five days a week, four weeks a month, twelve
months a year comes to $360.00. At the time this meant he paid just about
half of my auto insurance for me, for doing nothing more than making 4 trips
to his table a day.
Serving him didnít take 3 minutes out of my day in total so the wage he paid
me was $30.00 per hour.
The moral of the story is that every little bit helps. Get enough nickels
and you are a millionaire. This doesnít mean I aim to make a pittance for my
efforts, it does mean I appreciate every extra thing I am able sell a guest.
While weíre on that subject, letís take
a look at what an up sell means in real dollars and cents. When I say up
sell what I really mean is extra sell. Iím not talking about the $2 extra
for top shelf liquor, Iím talking about selling a dessert, an appetizer, a
more expensive entrťe or something along those lines. While looking at these
numbers Iím going to do the unthinkable, Iím going to assume some things: an
up sell is $6.00, you serve 16 tables a night and each table has an average
of 3 people. This means you serve 48 people a night. I think this is a
pretty fair number. A number which is not in ďdream landĒ, you can serve
this many a night without problem. Iím also going to go out on a limb and
assume you make seventeen percent for your efforts. If you are not making
that much, consider finding another job.
Letís talk about how much extra I think you can sell per shift. I think most
servers, if they work at it, can sell an extra round of drinks, or actually
serve an alcoholic drink instead of a soft drink one out of about 6 tries.
That amounts to, give or take, three extra drinks a night for a total of
$18.00. I think you can sell a dessert to one out of eight tables, which is
two desserts, a night or $12.00. These are bare minimum numbers Iím talking
Another way to look at it: for every $6 extra dollars you sell, if you make
17% gratuity, you make an extra $265.00 a year. So take that a little
further and you see that for every four extra things you sell a night you
make an extra thousand dollars income per year. Make your own raise, or
bonus or whatever you want to call it. The bottom line is you can make more
money if you want to.
Be a go-getter and letís see what can happen. Letís say you sell an extra 6
items at $6.00 each per night and instead of 17% you make 20% because you go
the extra mile for your guests and they leave you a little more. This works
out to $1,872.00 a year. Thatís EXTRA CASH just for asking a few questions.
Remember that weíre talking about low numbers as well. Many servers serve
more tables and more guests than that a night so the numbers are that much
Letís take a look at it another, possibly easier to follow, way. For each
$5.00 item you serve, if you are making a 20% gratuity, you make a dollar
for walking it to the table. Not bad in my opinion. Iíll walk things to
tables for $1 each all night long. If you were to sell each table $5 more
worth of stuff all night long, with the previous assumptions, you will make
an extra $16 a night. Thatís $80 a week or $320 a month. What could you do
with an extra $320 a month? Except for my rent and car payment $320 would
pay my bills for me. Not bad for just asking a few questions.
Now letís look at the overall percentage. Letís say your guest check average
is $18.00. You should know what your average is every night, strive to push
it higher, youíll make more if itís higher and itís a good overall gauge of
how effective you are at selling. If itís $18 and you serve 40 guests a
night thatís $720.00 in sales per night, a decent number. At 17% you should
be making $122.40 before tip out. If you increase your percentage to 20% you
make $144.00 a night. You gave yourself a 15% raise. If you sell each guest
one dollar more thatís $19/guest or $760/night amounting to $129 @ 17% or
$152 @ 20%. So $1 more per guest gives you a 7% raise. Thatís just one
dollar per guest! Thatís two thousand dollars a year!
Letís take a different look at it. If
you serve one extra table of two you stand to sell $36 more for the day. At
20% thatís an extra $7.20. Do that every night you work and you make an
extra $144 a month or $1,870 a year. All for picking up a two top, and
people wonder why Iím always willing to pick up a table! Where I live, I
could fly to Las Vegas for the weekend, go to two shows, eat well and spend
over $300 a day gambling for $1,870.
Still not sold? Letís look at it from one last angle. Each person you serve
spends $18.00 and tips you 20% thus you earn $3.60. Yearly thatís $860 for
every person you serve. Still not want to take the extra table or the party
of 12? Yea, thatís what I thought! Me too, bring Ďem on and do it every
single day please.
Serving isnít for everyone, not everyone has what it takes to be a good
server. If you are one of them you can make a great wage for the amount of
education required. If you actually think about what you are doing I believe
the average server can make quite a bit more than they do. All it takes is a
little planning, thought and effort. Often the effort you make will in turn
make your shift easier as well as make you more money.
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