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How to Become a Great Restaurant Server

Lloyd Gordon
by Lloyd Gordon October 1, 2013
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A great server knows how to control and manage his tables. With a positive and caring attitude, a server can make his customers feel welcome and encourage them to try more and different drinks and dishes. This can lead to a happier customer, a higher check average and greater tips for the server if they end up trusting and enjoying your suggestions. You need to feel confident in the menu and confident in yourself.

There are two keys to success: an Enthusiastic Caring Attitude and Knowledge of the Menu. The following are tips that can help you:

• A genuine smile works! People hate to be around a server who is moody or uninterested.

• Direct your attention to the customer with enthusiasm: When your shift starts, your job is to look out for the customer. Whatever else is going on in your life cannot be brought to the table. Your personal issues are not your customers' concern.

• Greet your customer in a friendly manner, making casual eye contact. You are trying to immediately create a positive mood. Your attention is helping to start a relationship so your guest will trust what you say.

• Before asking for their drink order, make sure you have there attention and you maintain eye contact and speak clearly. Don't ask if they want a drink. Instead ask, "What will you be drinking tonight?"

• When it comes to food ordering, unless someone clearly knows what they want, offer a suggestion. Again with a question, "Have you ever tried our special" You can then go on to describe the dish.

• If someone picks something from the menu, or asks about an item on the menu, you can say, "Great choice." People love to feel like they've made a good choice and will look forward to the dish coming out to them.

• If asked, don't ever say anything negative about an item on the menu. It makes Elaine's look bad. Instead, you can praise another item you want to promote and not comment on the person's choice.

• Once customers have starting eating, check in on them to see how they are enjoying the meal. If for any reason you see they're not enjoying a wine or dish, ask about it and insist you bring them something else (Let the manager know). You want to bring back happy customers. Doing something like that can make all the difference: it says you care and will impress them and have them forget about the wine or dish they didn't like. It will also have them give Elaine's another chance and have them return.

• Always be aware of a table: Some people want to be left alone while others love to talk with the server. Be aware and know and respect the difference and act accordingly. There is nothing more irritating in a restaurant than a friendly server at a table that wants privacy and a disinterested server for a table that wants some interaction and fun.

• If a customer is hesitant about dessert, pick one that you love and suggest it be shared.

• At the end of the meal, treat your customers as if they were guests in your house about to leave. Say something like," Thank you and hope to see you soon." Include their name if you know it. People love hearing their name (also when you first greet them). It makes them feel special and builds the relationship for their next visit and will allow you to suggest other items when they return.

As a way of motivating yourself, pick one item every night and set a goal for how many you will sell. "Tonight I will sell 6 BBQ Skewers." Be Natural, Be Yourself with Focus: Your job is to pay caring attention to the customer and make them feel like they've had great service.

A Great Attitude Is Key: Remember a great meal can be spoiled by a server's poor attitude and an average meal can be made much better by a server's great attitude. The customer is not your enemy or someone there just to aggravate you. Sometimes you will come across a very difficult customer. You can try to change their mood or in some cases you just have to accept them.

Remember, the most successful servers enjoy being at work even if they end up with tough customers- Your attitude will show in your service and make a big difference in your tips and the Success of Your Restaurant.


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