I am often asked how I am able to get great service from wait staff when I go out.
Let me assure you it is not because they have my picture posted on the notice board under “Big Tippers” or “Point Of Sale Guy”. It is because after almost 20 years of working in and with the restaurant industry I have been able to work out “What makes waiters tick”.
Sure, big tips make for happy waiters but big tips come AFTER the meal and I want a smile and good service during the meal. So what is the secret?
Actually, it is not a secret at all and you are welcome to try a few of these the next time you go out.
Hint Number 1: Smile
People simply do not smile any more. Most of the time they look bored or angry or both.
Look your waiter straight in the eye and smile with a bright, genuine smile. Genuine, because his or her presence means you are about to enjoy a meal, which is a whole lot better than standing in the queue at the door.
Hint Number 2: Be polite
Some people feel it is their God given right to be rude to waiters and others in service positions.
Stand out from the crowd by treating your waiter with common courtesy.
Say ‘please’ when you order, and ‘thank you’. A polite ‘excuse me’ to gain attention works wonders compared to an across-the-room ‘HEY!’
Simple manners are one of the best ways of obtaining fabulous restaurant service.
Hint Number 3: Be respectful
Diners often treat waiters as lower class citizens. This is the wrong approach, since service does not improve with condescension.
Think of your waiter as an important person whose expertise you seek. Respect goes a long way in motivating good service.
Hint Number 4: Remember to empathize
Your waiter has been standing for several hours and has endured sore feet, rude guests and a hot kitchen. This person looks forward to the end of the shift.
Make a comment that shows you empathize. “Wow! You guys are really buzzing today. I hope things calm down for you,” or “Gosh my back would hurt in this job. How do you do it?”
This small nod to his feelings shows you see him as an equal, rather than a servant.
Hint Number 5: Use a little bit of charm
Don’t overdo it, just a little twinkle. If the waitress anticipates the need for extra napkins, thank her with a smile. If she has pretty earrings, say so. Find at least one thing you can genuinely praise.
It is not a difficult task, but many of us have forgotten how to give compliments. Your waitress will appreciate receiving one.
Hint Number 6: Tip well
Most wait staff rely heavily on your generosity. Their livelihood depends upon your tips.
Give the ‘standard 10 percent’ for mediocre service. Tip good service 15 percent, and exceptional service much more. Odds are you will be back and servers remember good tippers!
And one final point to ponder… before you decide to show everyone at the table just how rude and condescending you can be to a lowly waiter, REMEMBER… your waiter handles your food when you are not looking! (For me that is a good enough reason to smile and be polite)
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