Monday, January 2, 2012

Waiters Secret to Improve Tips

This is the key element to pass the 20% tip mark. Now it is your job to get people to like you. If you follow what I tell you in the next paragraphs, you will be surprised how much your tips grow.
The approach
Tell the guest your name. If given the chance, ask for their names. Memorize their names and use them. Find something you have in common. It can be a simple thing like how you have the same name or their favorite sport. Complement on their attire or accessories. Make it personal. Become their friend. Do not just be "the waiter" but rather be "Alan," so on their next visit they say "Alan, good to see you?" find out if they have kids, pets, likes and dislikes. Do it, without crossing the boundaries. Do not forget to take your cues, if they are willing to accept you.
If the guest brings their kids, make sure you notice them. Kids are important as well. Ask for kids' names. When kids order make sure you come to their eye level and ask them directly what they would like. Put in the order at the same time as parents. (this will allow parents to eat in peace) If you feed kids first, they will finish their meal before their parents and get impatient and over energized when parents get their food. Offer to bring paper and crayons or crackers. Bring extra napkins.
Always up-sell making the guest think that you guided them to what they wanted. Make sure that if they said they like something rich, you give it to them and not something that is not, simply for being expensive. Provide different options. Give them choices, emphasizing your positive views on the expensive items. Make suggestions. Suggesting is a good way to get their trust. You suggest something good, they like it, they will trust you and order anything you tell them to. Try, try, try. Do not hesitate to ask. Asking is the only way they will say yes. Many times, guest are thinking about it, they want the second drink or that cheesecake, but will not say it until you ask. When your patrons leave, saying "Thanks for the recommendations." You have done it!
Down-selling is not always a bad thing. In fact, down-selling gets the trust of the repeating customers. Let your customers know when they have order too much. (Play it by ear. Old Ladies do not eat the same as big football players). Let them know when they have double ordered. For example: mention that the entrée comes with a salad, if some one orders an entrée and a specialty salad as a starter. Could be that they did not notice the side salad the entrée comes with. Another way of down-selling and getting their trust is to offer something of less value but of better quality or that meets their likings. For example: a guest asks your recommendation on a bottle of wine and he tells you what he likes. He asks about that "expansive one". If you know there is a bottle of less value, that is just a good or better, let them know their choices. Always put guest satisfaction before sales!
Allergies and special needs
Always be courteous about peoples allergies and needs. Try your best to accommodate their needs. Never say no or I don't know, before checking with your kitchen about it. People that have allergies or special needs generally are more grateful when taken care of. If you take care of them, they will take care of you $$$$. Never see a person with special needs as a difficult customer, but rather as a potential good tip.
Difficult guest
Leave your Ego at the door. Never fight with a customer; There are many reasons not to do so, but most important, they become a non-repeat and a bad review. They will spread the word about what happened, you will loose not only their business but their friends and their friends' friends. (remember, satisfied customers tell 2 people, while dissatisfied tells 2000)Not to mention that your boss will see you as the weak link. Fight complains with apologies. Fix the problem instead of making it bigger. 9 out of 10 times, you end up doing what they ask anyway. Most of the times, when the problem is solved, that difficult customer becomes a good customer. If the problem is getting big and seems to not have an end, apologize and hand it to management. Most people are nice people that want a nice night out, but there are some psychos out there that want to be noticed. When you see one, turn it to management, do not try to solve the unsolvable. Never ruin the neighboring tables' dinner who are watching the scene if you fight with a customer. (use your ability to flash a fake smile)
When having handicapped in the restaurant, do not stare. Do not make them feel uncomfortable. Remove items that could be an obstacle without mentioning it. Provide any items that could be of use and plenty of space. Make everything accessible (silverware, glassware and plates). Treat no different unless asked to be.
Dropping the check
When you drop the check, don't just drop the check, let them know that you will be there for them. Let them know if you will be their cashier or if they have to pay at a different location. Always drop the check at center of the table. Never assume who will be paying. If more than one is interested to pay the check, look at it as first come first served. If they are still fighting about the check, jokingly mention that who ever said they wanted it first should get it. Otherwise give them a minute to resolve who will pay.