13 Servers Expose Behind-the-Scene Secrets Even Regulars Never Knew
Experienced servers are very good salespeople. They encourage us to buy more expensive meals and leave good tips, but do it in a way, so we don’t even realize it. It’s nice that some servers online are sharing professional tricks, and we should remember them the next time we eat out.
- Anything I can do to make the customer interact with me as a person increases my tip. It’s as simple as wearing glitter eye shadow or dropping my pen as I take their order. Make myself notable just once, early on, then fade into the background and make their meal fall into place. I know this: if guests see a nameless server who runs a flawless table, they get 20%. A real person who fumbles her pen, then runs a flawless table gets 25%. © Adrienne Flowers / Quora
- You have an opportunity to really chat with the guests. Usually, this would occur after they have finished their meals and are preparing to have another round of drinks or order dessert. Instead of standing over them while conversing, you can pop a squat and put your eyes on the same level as theirs. The body language here is saying, “You guys are cool, I’m interested in this conversation,” rather than awkwardly shifting your weight and towering over them. © ThreeHolePunch / Reddit
- I work in a café and every time I serve tea, I tell my guests how long the tea bag has already been in the water. They appreciate it a lot. Sometimes I start conversations with (mostly older) guests.
If I notice that they are tourists, I recommend them places to visit or ask them what they like most about the city. Ask how the food was and always apologize for any inconvenience. And always laugh at their jokes! Thank them for tips and tell them to have a nice day. © Fast-Mouse-2034 / Reddit
- A trick that I always hated and refused to do: when your guests are comfortably seated, and you open the menu to hand it to them, open it at a page where the expensive stuff is, so it’s the first thing they see. © Alison Bourke / Quora
- This is not just in the restaurant business — the term is “seeding the conversation.” When you are first talking to a party, you talk about things they might want to order later on, like dessert or a fancy coffee drink. “We make our cheesecake in-house, they are fresh and delicious, we can talk about what flavors we have after you have finished your entrée.” That gives the customers time to think about dessert during the whole meal.
At the end of their meal, they are not “surprised” when the dessert menu is an item of conversation. The opposite of this is to come up at the end of a meal and say, “Here is your check, oh, did you want dessert?” Poor business practice. © Steve Blanchard / Quora
- The key to covering yourself is to always blame it on someone out of sight, regardless of whether it was your fault or not. The guests don’t care who screwed up — they just want their food/drinks prepared correctly and in a timely manner.
Example: you get busy and submit an order 15 minutes late and realize that the food will be going out late. Just approach the guests around the time it would normally arrive and tell them that the order was not prepared to the acceptable standards of quality, therefore you had the head chef recook a new dish the proper way and that you will throw in a freebie or something for the wait — most decent restaurants allow you to do this (comp an appetizer/free dessert — whatever). This way, you paint yourself as the savior and not the screw-up. © zenslapped / Reddit
- Anytime they complain about the AC or flies, I pretend to adjust the AC or “turn on the fly traps.” Sometimes guests ask for certain alterations and I say I’ll check with the chef then I’ll tell the guests we usually don’t do whatever said alteration, but I bribed the cooks, so they’ll do it for you. I think it’s hilarious, but some people maybe appreciate it. © fos711 / Reddit
- I had a couple buddies in college that were servers — they came up with fake eyeglasses to make them “look more like college students.” They had ONE pair between the 2 of them and would alternate who wore them. They swore their tips were better on nights they were wearing the fake glasses. © Pete Pappas / Quora
- I remember being taught to do the “encouraging nod” when you are suggesting food or upgrades to the customers’ choices. For example, after the main course, you would say, “Wouldn’t some heavenly crème brûlée top that meal off perfectly?” Nodding slightly yes and smiling. Most of the time, they would order dessert or upgrade their original choice. On a side note, I have used this same technique on my kids. “Don’t you think you should clean up your room before you go out to play, nod and smile.” © Jackie Thornton / Quora
- Another trick was how to speak when trying to upsell on food. You never say, “...for only $X extra” or “...for $X more,” you simply ask, “Would you like to add (cheese, for example, or sour cream)...?” That implies it was an add-on without making people think about the price. © Gabriela Martinez / Quora
- Anticipate the needs and wants of the customer before they ask. Something as stupid as seeing everyone go for the pumpernickel raisin rolls and not having enough. Go into the kitchen and bring out a few extra for the table. A cool one to buy time.
If someone asks for coffee, make sure to say you’re going to put a fresh pot on, so it will take a minute. Gives you time and everyone wants a fresh pot of coffee. © Carl J. Johnson / Quora
- I worked at a Mexican restaurant for 4 years. When someone ordered a frozen drink, it usually took a bit longer to finish than a regular drink. So other servers told me to put 2 straws instead of one, so people would finish the frozen drinks quicker and order another one. © Gabriela Martinez / Quora
- One of the tricks is when you pay cash, and they bring back your change. Unless you ask for specific denominations, they will usually bring back larger bills. The reasoning behind this is so that a customer won’t bother about asking to have the larger bills broken down into smaller denominations, but will just leave the larger bill for a tip. © Kathee Alongi / Quora
We have another article where 21 workers candidly reveal the top secrets of their jobs, offering valuable insights that could prove incredibly useful.