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

Being 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 [3])