Top 4 ways servers can improve their tips

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Being a restaurant server is a stressful job requiring public speaking competence, memorization, physical exertion, impeccable timing and critical thinking skills. Juggling each of those skills while staying positive can be a test for many servers, but being able to do so effectively can mean a lot more tips to take home at the end of the night. In many states across the country, servers rely on tips for the majority of their income, so it's imperative that they learn how to be the consummate professional.

Here are some ways servers can take their skills to the next level and provide excellent customer service:

1. Stay positive
The ability to stay positive in the face of adversity is a key quality that all servers should exercise. Let's say the worst should happen: You're bringing in food for a big table when something snags your foot. You stumble and for a brief moment the world hangs on a teetering balance, and then comes the crash. Food, plates and silverware go crashing to the floor. What do you do? Panic? It's hard to come back from a big mistake like that, but as a server it's your job to move on and help everyone else do so too.

As the busboys help to clean up the mess, you can offer an apology to the table, promise to get them some appetizers to hold off their hunger, and get their orders back in the kitchen as soon as possible. Then talk to your manager about any other ways you can compensate the patrons. You might be surprised at just how empathetic the customers can be if you own up to a mistake and work to rectify it as quickly as possible.

A positive attitude can create a more personal connection.A positive attitude can create a more personal connection.

2. Share your opinion
According to, one way that servers can positively connect with their customers is to recommend items on the menu. Diners will often ask what's good on the menu, and you shouldn't be shy about sharing your opinion. If you're worried about recommending something the diners won't like, asking them about their preferences can help you with making suggestions. Doing so will put you on a more personal level with your table, which could increase your chances of getting tipped well. With any luck you'll even get a few regular patrons who you will get to recognize by name. Then you can make even better recommendations as new items come on the menu.

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3. Don't overwork yourself
Being a server requires a lot of physical exertion. You're on your feet for several hours at a time and there's constant motion between the kitchen and the dining area. Working yourself to exhaustion will only make things difficult for you and increase the chances of making a mistake. Owning a comfortable pair of safety shoes is a great way to stay on your feet, especially if you're working a double. Your feet won't ache so much when you get home, and you'll decrease the chances of slipping on spilt food in the kitchen. Taking care of yourself is another way to keep a positive attitude at work.

4. Write it down
It's impressive when a waiter can remember an entire table's order without making a mistake. But if you're just starting out in the industry, Thrillist recommended writing everything down and repeating the order back at least once. It shows the patrons that you're paying careful attention to their orders and it will prevent mistakes. The customers won't begrudge you the extra few seconds it takes to make a note.

Being an awesome server takes a lot of patience and practice. Even those who have been at the job for years could benefit from taking the time to practice their skills. Stay positive and work on getting better a little bit at a time, and you may see your tips improving in the near future.

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