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Tips. Not Gratuities But Ways To Increase Them
 
The tips Iím going to give here are in no particular order. These are simply things I have found to be useful to me when serving. They are intended to put more money in your pocket in one way or another. It could be a way to up sell, an efficient way to do something or simply a way to make the meal more enjoyable for your guest. Either way youíll find yourself making a higher fee for the work you do and I think most people want that. When all the little things you do to improve the guestís experience come together, they make a difference.
 
Letís put the first thing first. Tips. Itís the reason we go to work in the first place. We all want more. Many think they deserve more and quite a few servers lie about how much they make. The bottom line is: to make more, you have to give more. The harder your work, the happier your guests are, the more things you do for them, the more you are going to make.

Those who do the minimum amount of work and take whatever tips they can get do the hard working servers a service as a matter of fact. As with anything else, the bad defines the good. Without bad servers the guests would not know what good service is. Donít get me wrong, Iím not condoning poor service but it is a fact of life. There are people who donít care and are too lazy to do a good job.
 
When you count up your tips at the end of the day it would serve you to remember itís only one day. There are good days and bad days and nothing you can do is going to change that. Instead of looking at how much you make each shift make it a point to look at how much you make per week or weekend at least. Better yet would be to look at your income for the month. Everything evens out in the end.
 
If you are trying out something new and want to know how effective it is, you want to look at the percentage you are making. If you want to see if a sales technique is working you want to look at your guest check average. Both of these numbers are your guides for how you are performing.
 
While you canít ďgetĒ people to request you, if you are getting requests from guests to be seated with you, you know you are treating your guests well. Often, but not always, these guests tip a little more as well. Some of them request you and tip the usual amount, they simply want a great server and donít feel they should pay more for the service. Some reward you handsomely for your abilities! Either way there are bonuses. Typically you learn what they like which makes it easier to serve them, requests improve your standings with the House and if they are regulars you assure yourself of getting tables. Often the host staff doesnít include requests in the rotation of stations when they are seating servers which means your bonus is an extra table!
 
Servers are notorious for beingÖ how can I put this nicelyÖ prima donnas. If you want to make the fat cash, donít be one, shock the world and be a hard working server who doesnít complain, doesnít want to switch every shift they are given, doesnít want to work in a different section than they are put in every day. Actually do your side work, help your workmates and most of all have a good attitude. Attitudes are contagious, is yours worth catching? Trust me you will reap rewards from your actions. Some servers think they are due their tips for doing minimal work and are actually mad when they donít get them. Itís called a job for a reason, itís work! Remember that no one is going to lay down the big bucks if you arenít providing the service. I donít know about you but I attempt to give service thatís worthy of a 30% gratuity if they are willing to leave it. Not too many people will leave that much, but I want to get it when theyíre willing.
 
Itís all about the first impression you make on your guests. It starts when they enter the restaurant. keep your host staff happy, theyíre the first person the guest sees. This means actually speak with them. I know itís hard and often they seem to be in a world of their own. Their job is very different from a serverís. Making friends, or at least staying on good terms with the host staff could ultimately (read: will) mean more money to you. If they double seat you, handle it. Donít complain. You donít know why they double sat you. It could be the person requested that seat or even your station. If other servers complain about double seating and you never say a word you will get more seatings, guaranteed! More seatings means more money in your pocket, donít cry about it. After all it is a job and when you are at work you work. Thereís nothing secret about that is there? Work more and you make more itís the way of the world.
 
If you do get double or triple seated the best course of action is to treat it as one table. Get a drink order for all the guests at one time just like you would for a large table. Eventually the tables will naturally, or with a little help from you, start to diverge. You can then start treating them as separate seatings. When you are serving your tables itís up to you to make sure, if at all possible, you donít have multiple tables leave at the same time. If they do and the restaurant is busy you are going to end up with multiple seatings all at once. This is the nature of the beast, so do what you can to avoid this situation and youíre shift will be much easier.
 
When a guest is seated in your station make sure itís a positive situation. When you come in make the first thing you do station prep, well, after finding out what the specials are. Make sure the tables are clean, the seating is clean and the floor is free from noticeable trash. Then check the things on the table. The sugar caddy should be filled and the salt and pepper shakers should be clean and full. If there is a free standing advertisement make sure itís clean and looks good too. I know these are things the person before you should have done but itís your station now, make sure it looks great. I once worked for a manager that at check out would kneel down so he could see the table from itís edge, you see every crumb that way.
 
Your appearance should be great. This means your uniform should be clean, free of wear and pressed with crisp creases. Your shoes should also be clean and shined. Shower before you go to work and make sure your hair looks great and your makeup is wonderful. Your nails should be clean and, for men, short. Donít wear fragrances and if you must, be sure to use them sparingly.
 
Buy the best clothes you can afford. They wear longer, look better and are easier to press. You really should have two pairs of shoes for work. Wear them on alternate days which will allow them to dry out between work days. This will do two things: they will feel better on your feet and will wear longer. Shoes need to dry out between wears. Replace them more often than you think they should be replaced. Your shoes should be the best shoes you can afford; after all you are walking miles on them every day. They take care of your feet, take care of them. It will decrease foot, leg and back fatigue. This makes you happier at work which translates into a better attitude which in turn translates into happier guest and thus more money in your pocket. In my opinion the money spent on shoes comes back to you in comfort and, due to your increased comfort, tips.
 
Being a business person, make sure you have enough pens and please donít take pens from businesses to use at work. Those hotel pens should be next to the phones where you got them, not in your pocket for guests or yourself to use. Click pens are much nicer than are stick pens. What you write on should be looking great, donít cover it with stickers or leave food stuck to it.
 
Food safety, practice it. I am of the opinion everyone working in a restaurant should be required, by law, to be certified in food safety for their location. Being a server doesnít mean you need to know the holding temperatures of food and the danger zone. It does mean you need to be aware of a few things though. Simple things which, to me, should be second nature to food servers yet I see them being done all the time when Iím out. Touching your face and/or hair is a no-no. If you touch a dirty dish or glass you really should wash your hands before serving food. I could go on and on, just keep in mind some people notice and wonít be back if they see things which could negatively impact the food safety of the restaurant. I for one figure if they are willing to do that in front of me what do they do where I canít see them! Yea, thereís a little food for thought.
 
Remember the table belongs to the guest while they are seated in the restaurant. This means itís not yours to put things on. Water pitchers, coffee pots and other items shouldnít be put on their table. Never stack dirty dishes on their table, itís rude. Pick them up and remove them and donít scrape plates while youíre at their table. On the same note, donít stop at a table if you have dirty dishes in your hand unless asked to stop. Even then I would tell them Iíd be right back and get rid of the dishes and return immediately.

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