Whether you work at a Chili’s, Applebees, TGI Fridays, IHP, or a local restaurant – if you want to know how to be a good waiter, I’ve got some great tips on being a good waiter for you. I spent several years working at a small, local restaurant. To a large extent, being a waiter is like being in sales. I learned a lot about what it takes to be a waiter and what not to do. Here’s a brief overview of what I learned being a waiter.
To begin, waiter training or waitress training is usually very casual and not taken very seriously. Bigger restaurants do a better job providing a coach for how to be a waiter, but smaller businesses often do a very poor job. The importance of training and development, even for waiters and waitresses, should not be underestimated.
Duties Of A Good Waiter
So what are the typical waiter job responsibilities? Very rarely is there a formal waiter job description, but typically a waiter has to learn the menu, prep their section, wait on patrons, and perform closing duties. The prep duties and closing duties are the necessary evil that comes with waiting on tables – the profitable portion of the evening.
Preparation often includes things like rolling silverware in napkins, making cofee or tea, or making sure the sugar caddies have Equal, sugar, whatever other sugar substitutes are out there.
Closing duties may include refilling ketchup bottles, adding up receipts, or sweeping and cleaning your section.
So where does a waiter salary come from? From tips, of course! But what earns the tips? There are two general strategies for earning tips and it depends on your personality as to what sort of waiter you are.
Very outgoing, personable, chatty people make their living by being their customer’s friend. They are funny, friendly, and everyone likes someone like that. They improve sales by recommending something that they like, and they’re recommendation alone makes a big difference to their table.
The other type of waiter is the professional, efficient, but amiable, waiter. Bear in mind that if you are cranky, nasty, or just a jerk – you will not make a long-term salary as a waiter. But if you are just not the glad-handing type of person and are a bit more reserved, there still can be a profitable future for you as a waiter.
Just as in sales, there are a number of strategies that can prove to be effective. Different customers (tables) respond differently to various styles.
Of course, a good manager can help you with these things…but management training can be as lacking as waiter training sometimes. In fact, good managers are are hard to come by in any industry. But if you are trying to figure what works for you, try different styles until you discover what works for you. A good waiter performance can vastly improve earnings.
Being a good waiter is about providing a pleasurable experience for your customers. Keep that in mind. The things a good waiter does are the things we all want done at dinner. They shop up promptly after you take your seat, they take your order correctly, and they are friendly and efficient throughout the dining experience.
Learning how to be a good waiter can be a grueling process, but with good waiter training it can be done quickly and nearly painlessly!
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