If you aren’t blessed with the best hair, the brightest smile or the best beard, don’t fret. While being attractive can definitely increase your success in the service industry and undoubtedly in the restaurant business, it’s only one factor. There are literally dozens of things you can do right now that will land you bigger tips today.
1. Start off right
Always introduce yourself by name while making good eye contact and displaying positive body language. Make meeting them more important than taking their order.
2. Repeat orders
There are lots of theories as to why people prefer this. Bottom line, it shows you are willing to give them your time to insure they get exactly what they want.
It’s not always a fine line and it will vary from customer to customer, but try to give each customer as much or as little attention as they want from you.
4. How you say it
Semantics are important. When asking questions say, “Can I get you more water?” versus “Do you want more water?” The former is an offer while the latter sounds like an imposition.
5. Location versus volume
It’s no secret that tips are based on the total ticket amount. If you have the luxury of working at a high end restaurant, thank your lucky stars. If you’re working at a chain, customer volume can often trump bigger tickets.
6. Stand out
If possible, try to make your appearance unique. Anything that helps your customers believe that their server is special will improve your tip.
Your customers are your guests. You’d never expect a guest in your home to run to the kitchen for silverware or extra napkins. Make sure condiments are readily available and always provide options when appropriate. Be observant without hovering.
8. Be old fashioned
This may seem odd, but it’s a proven fact. Rather than moving around a table in a linear fashion when taking orders, start with women and children first. Again, try it before dismissing it as old fashioned.
9. You gonna eat that?
Don’t make customers ask for doggie bags. Even if there’s only a tiny bit of food on someone’s plate, offer them a take home container before bringing the check.
10. Sell more without getting busted
Never forget the ticket dictates the tip. At the same time, always suspect someone you’re serving has worked at a restaurant themselves. Simply offer more while being appropriately persuasive without going so far as to come off as being manipulative or pushy.
11. The lone wolf
Let’s face it, eating alone in public kind of sucks, but as a server it presents an interesting opportunity to maybe bond more personally with a customer. While it’s never going to equal the tip you get from a party of six, you’d be amazed at how many single diners will pay nearly double the usual percentage if you can help them get through their meal without feeling alone.
12. Closing the deal
When preparing the ticket, adding something personal goes a long way. If you can remember their name writing, “It was nice to meet you Dan,” and sign it with just your first name will always bring a bigger tip. If you can’t remember, a compliment like, “You have great kids,” also works.