Waiter – what really means to be a waiter?
According to the Cambridge dictionary, the Waiter is “a man whose job is to bring the food to customers at their tables in a restaurant.”
According to us, this is the most absurd description of a Waiter ever.
The Waiter is a lot more than a person who brings the food to the table. To be successful and make money with this job, you need to realize that!
Here is what a Waiter or Waitress really is:
-the Waitress is a person who communicates directly with the guests about their food and beverage needs, relays their orders to the kitchen and the bar, and professionally serves the prepared items according to the guests’ desires. A good waitress acts as a welcoming host to her guests. She is a highly trained and skillful professional who possesses a vast knowledge of the Food and Beverage field.
The Waitress is a well organized, multitasking person who knows and follows the F&B service procedures like:
Greeting the guests and explaining the daily specials
Presenting and opening a bottle of wine
Carrying plates and large food trays
Selling, up-selling and cross-selling
Filleting a fish and many others.
The waiters are the face of the establishment and the only people in direct contact with the restaurant guests who can influence their decision-making and choice!
If you are a waiter/ waitress you already know that in our business we make money by providing great service to our guests and they reward us with a TIP!
Our salaries are not that high and we all rely on a good TIP from our guests. So, the answer to the question “How to make money as a waiter /waitress” is: By making more TIP!
I know that what I will say next may surprise or disappoint a lot of you but it is one hundred percent true and correct so read and learn:
THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR TO MAKE A BETTER TIP IS TO HAVE CONFIDENCE IN YOURSELF!!!
Let me make this clear! Confidence is not being cocky, little bastard without any knowledge and experience who act confidently of pure stupidity and ignorance!
Confidence comes from Knowledge, Experience, and Hard Work!
Let’s discuss all those three separately:
Can you answer confidently any guest’s question about the food items on the menu?
Can you suggest confidently the chef’s specials?
Can you suggest confidently a bottle of wine to your guests?
Do you know what is the next step of your service procedure and can you perform it with confidence? This is why LQA Standards and The Steps of Service are so important.
Do you have the confidence to engage the guests in a small talk about the restaurant, the region, and the country you are situated in?
Do you have the confidence to handle a complaint from a guest who is disappointed by your service or from the quality of the food?
The truth is that you can do all these without confidence and still get through the evening. But if you do it with confidence the guests will notice that. They will feel comfortable in your hands and will be able to enjoy their dinner. A happy guest is 10 times more likely to tip you good than one who is not!
Getting the knowledge requires time and effort!
You have to sit down and learn your restaurant menu thoroughly! Learn all the ingredients and the preparation of every item on the menu. Know the time needed to prepare it!
Put an effort to memorize the chef’s specials and be able to answer any questions the guests may ask about it. This is a daily routine! Don’t overlook it!
Learn your wine menu, be able to describe a bottle of wine by test, region, and other characteristics so the guests can make an educated choice! This takes time and testing and a lot of discussion with the sommelier and your guests too! Your guests are a great source of information about the wine they drink! Talk with them!
You should be able to talk freely about the restaurant, the hotel or the region you are working in with your guests! Give them valuable information and they will appreciate that greatly! Make an effort to learn it!
How good you are with handling guest’s complaints? Have you done training on it? Do you know the steps of handling guest’s complaints? In our business complaints are daily events! The better you are at handling guest’s complaints the more confident you are in doing your job! Especially if you are a Head Waiter, you have to have that knowledge.
EXPERIENCE AS A WAITER
If you are a young waiter/waitress or a beginner you cannot have experience. Therefore, it is so much more important for you to put in the effort and get the knowledge! For you as a beginner is of most importance to not be afraid to put yourself on the front line and gain the experience you need as fast as possible! Don’t be afraid to make mistakes! We all make mistakes and this is the best way to learn! Just don’t make the same mistake time after time again!
Don’t hide in the back of the restaurant polishing cutlery or cleaning the floor! Take the initiative and ask your head waiter or your manager to let you try new things every day so you can learn!
It could take you years to gain the experience you need and it could take you just a few months! It depends on you!
For a waiter/waitress with few years behind their back to not have the required experience is unacceptable! To not have the knowledge also! That means you have wasted your time by not taking responsibility, by hiding behind your managers or colleagues back, and by ignoring your duties as a waiter/waitress. It is sad how many people like that we meet in our restaurants!
Here everything is very simple!
When you work hard you have confidence because you know that you have done everything to your knowledge and abilities to finish the job properly! No one can blame you, that you have made a mistake!
When you take shortcuts and you are not putting in your best effort you always look behind or around you to see if someone has noticed it! This fear that someone will see you cheating and call you out is turning you into a little, scary mouse. I have never seen a mouse with confidence!
Here are five additional steps that will help you increase your TIP:
- start on a good foot by greeting the guests ASAP and with a smile
- Speak with your guests with a friendly, positive attitude. Establish a connection with them. Small talk is a great way to improve your TIP.
- Up-sell – IN the United States, the guests tip by the amount they spend. The bigger the check, the bigger the TIP. It only makes sense to try and sell higher quality (price) wines and food.
- If your restaurant has such a policy in place, give your guests something free or ask your manager for permission; -Hey Scott, on table 5 are great people, spent a lot of money, and had a great time. I want to invite them for a free cup of coffee.” This will help the restaurant to turn those guests into regulars and significantly improve your TIP percentage. Even a piece of candy with the check or before that will go a long way.
- Write them a note – bringing the check is a “dry” procedure unless you write a simple “Thank You” on it. That will make your guests feel special, and they will reward you with a better TIP.
Every man creates his own fortune or misery! You chose what do you want to create for yourself!
I wish you all good luck and great success,
The Waiter’s Academy