The family with kids:
If they have young kids, make sure they have a booster seat or high chair if the hostess has not already provided them one. Also, if your restaurant offers coloring sheets make sure to offer those as well. Touch on drink specials however parents with children rarely order drinks. Plan on them needing regular condiments and go ahead and bring them out. If they have left overs, expect that they will want a box and bring them out at the end of the meal. Don’t forget to suggest dessert, as they may bend to the pressure of their children and order one.
The person sitting alone:
These are the people you really have to feel out. Sometimes the best method is a little flirting. Other times, making small talk is best. Finding common ground, showing interest and talking to them like a friend.
Then there are the people with “shields up:”
These are the people that are on their laptops, in a bad mood or just want to be left alone. For these guests, the best way to handle them is to spend as little time at the table as possible. Get their order, bring them what they ask for and that’s it. Avoid making small talk or cracking jokes. All they want is basic service so that is what you should provide for the best shot at a good tip.
This is usually a good opportunity to push premium alcohol drinks and high price menu items like steak and seafood as well as add-ons like appetizers and desserts. They are usually trying to impress, so will spring for higher price items. Be very careful not to me to flirty. While it is a natural action for many servers, flirting when serving a couple can negatively affect your tip when one partner gets jealous.
The business group:
This is a great opportunity for a high bill and great tip. Why? Because the majority of time they are using a company card, so they are less concerned about the price. Do a hard sell on appetizers as well as some higher price menu items. If it is a business lunch they probably will not be drinking alcohol, but be sure to mention your strawberry lemonade or coke products. Replacing water with a round of $3 drinks noticeable increases the bill and, in turn, your tip.
In terms of service, keep in mind they are usually on a tight time schedule. Make sure to get their order in quickly and promptly bring their bill. Ask them upfront if the bill will be separate or all together. It will usually be all together, making your job even easier.