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6 Ways to Increase Your Tips as a Waiter, Waitress or Server

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Busy RestaurantBeing a waiter or waitress is hard work! I know because I used to be one. The job can be especially hard on the weekends when people are waiting for seats and your tables are sometimes double or triple seated (meaning two or three different tables are sat in your section at the same time). Double or triple seating means all the tables will want to order at the same time and their food will be ready at the same time.

The one benefit of the job is that your shift goes by quickly, and if you can earn some good tips, well, that is another bonus.

As a server, you likely make minimum wage or below, so those tips are important. Here are some strategies to increase the tips you make:

1. Introduce yourself by name and look customers in the eye. The key here is to make a personal connection with your customer. Once they know your name, you become more human to them. Having a sunny disposition doesn’t hurt either, though don’t be so upbeat that it seems fake.

2. Squat down to eye level. Rather than standing to take the order and looking down at the customers, try to squat down so that you are at eye level or below. Another take on this is to actually sit down at the table with the customers, but this doesn’t always work as some customers feel like you are invading their space and breaking etiquette.

3. Try to develop a rapport with the customers. One waitress told Business Insider that her ability to joke with the customers and keep a friendly banter going earned her more tips. Another tip that researcher John whatSeiter discovered is that if the server compliments the patron on his choice of meal, the server will get, on average, a 3% larger tip.

4. Bring food out promptly or let the customers know if there is a delay. Nothing is more frustrating as a customer than waiting, and waiting, and waiting, for your food. While the server can’t control how fast the kitchen makes the food, if there is a delay, she should let the customers know what is happening so the customers don’t feel they have been forgotten.

5. Give mints. This seems so simple, but Dave Strohmetz of Monmouth University discovered that servers who give a mint or candy with the bill earn a larger tip than those who don’t. Stop by the table after you have processed payment and drop off another mint, just because, and your tip can increase even more.

6. Leave your imprint on the check. Leaving something on the check, either a smiley face or a “thank you” can also garner a larger tip. This simple gesture shows that you are again trying to connect with the customer and that you enjoyed interacting with them.

As restaurant patrons, we have all had miserable service. Wanting to reward a server who tries to connect with us and is efficient is a natural tendency. Play to this natural tendency by using some of these strategies to garner a larger tip, and a more sizeable take home pay.

If you are or were a server, what strategies worked to increase your tips?

Sources: businessinsider.com, generallythinking.com

(Photo: ktylerconk)

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6 Responses to “6 Ways to Increase Your Tips as a Waiter, Waitress or Server”

  1. Atchoo says:

    Um, maybe if you work at Applebee’s, but I think it’s condescending and unprofessional for a server to squat down to eye level or take a seat at the table. That’s appalling behavior.

    Same with the smiley face on the tip – that’s something I’d expect from a teenager at a Friendly’s, not at a real restaurant.

    I want my servers to be professional and quick and to otherwise leave me alone. I am at a restaurant for the food and to talk with my dining partner, NOT to make friends with the server. Ew.

  2. Master Allan says:

    How about the correct amount of attentive service.

    What I find annoying is excessive refilling of my drink. A little peeve of mine. If my glass is less than 50% filled with water or tea a refill is okay. Otherwise I don’t need anything added.

    This behavior suggests to me the server is either bored or is trying too hard. Minimize interruptions at my table please.

  3. shiftomnimega says:

    I think you clearly outlined the difference between who this article is targeting and where you dine. People at the restaurants you patronize probably don’t need help pulling tips.

    People that need to read this are probably not going to be lifers in the food service industry (or rather not be) and probably work at a casual chain where these tactics will be effective.

  4. aua868s says:

    one other way would be to check back with the customers after about 10-15 mins to see if they need anything else…maybe just more water…but it helps in the tipping for sure.

  5. admiral58 says:

    The server has to be quick, transparent and available for patrons. If I know their name, and they’re helpful in checking in, I’m more likely to give a better tip.

  6. nedf says:

    I hate it when waiters/waitresses squat down and use the table as a desk to right down the order. It is invading space and it is unprofessional – as is smiley faces, etc.

    A friendly waitperson is fine, but the waitperson has to read the table – if his or her attempts to ask about the customers plans for the weekend or whtever are met with monosyllabic responses, then he or she should know that he or she is being intrusive. If the table is abuzz with conversation and the waiter interrupts with chitchat and the table becomes silent, he or she is acting cluelessly, and should expect a smaller tip.


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