Real Talk

Restaurant Server Playbook: 10 Tips for Success

Part athlete, part actor, part computer. Being a restaurant server requires you to wear a number of different hats each shift. The best servers know how to juggle and transition between each role. So get ready to throw on your ball cap, beret, and maybe a helmet. No one said this would be easy.

But if you follow these 10 tips, you’ll become a great server in no time:

Be Efficient

It can be said in life, timing is often everything. Serving is no different. When possible, organize your tables as systematically as possible. By arrival time, by size, by distance from the kitchen. Whatever works for you to deliver your most efficient service.

Be Engaging

Inside every great server is some part actor.  Remember, what might technically feel like your Monday morning could be their Friday night. So stay present and pleasant.

Be Observant

Keep an eye on drinks and condiments at your tables. And always watch the kitchen window, even if one of your orders isn’t up. You’ll be more keen to know how fast the kitchen is moving and better able to time your movements.

Be Appreciative

Make sure to always thank your guests for their business. And you will also benefit from being appreciative to your team members when they jump in and help you out.

Be respectful

Not every table will be easy. It’s important to stay respectful, courteous, and on task.

Be proactive

You might not guess a guest likes cayenne pepper with their spaghetti but parmesan cheese? A safer bet. Anticipate needs but make sure to ask about preferences.

Be well groomed

No one wants a smelly server. Show up well groomed with minimal perfume or cologne. Let the food or drinks be the star of the show.

Be humble

Your guest is right. You could swear they said fries but now they say they ordered onion rings.  Apologize and correct. Explain the circumstance to a manager if necessary but never argue with a guest.

Be calm

You will get double sat. An order will get messed up. You will forget to grab the ketchup. Stay calm. Tackle the issue swiftly and head on to avoid a messy domino effect. Stop upsets in their tracks by rectifying and getting back to your groove.

Be resilient

Not everyone is going to like you all the time. Maybe you look a little like a guest’s high school bully? You’ll never know. Brush it off and approach the next table as a fresh start. After all… Mama told you there’d be days like this.

Like anything, serving can feel like a lot of moving parts. But keep a cool head about you and you’ll discover one of the best things about being a server is the opportunity to truly multi-task both physically and mentally. If you enjoy a challenge and consider variety the spice of life, then consider serving a new challenge every shift!

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