Timing your Tables Perfectly

Studies show that diners are affected by the pace of their dining experience. If they feel like their server is rushing them or their food is taking too long, they won’t be happy. Here are a few simple ways for servers to achieve perfect timing at every table:

1. Get to know your guests. If they mention that they are on their lunch break or are going to a movie afterwards, pick up the pace. If they are celebrating a special occasion, give them plenty of time to eat and catch up.

2. Learn the cooking time of each food item. At my restaurant, the fish dishes take substantially longer to cook than any other dishes, so we ring them in immediately. Knowing how long it takes to cook each menu item will help you determine when you should ring it in.

3. Watch the expo window. Keep in mind how many ticket orders are in the window when planning out your timing. If there are more than ten tickets in the window, ring in your entrées right away−even if your table ordered an appetizer (especially since starters usually have short prep times!).

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By following these easy steps, your tables will have the optimal dining experience. In result, they will most likely tip better too!

How to Make Small Talk With Your Tables

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When you first become a server, it can feel uncomfortable and unnatural to make small talk with your tables. Here are a few pointers to master the skill of being a conversational waiter:

1. Read your tables. I have learned that there are many different kinds of tables; some tables want to be left alone and have a private evening while other tables love to joke around with their servers. Learn to gauge what each of your tables is like and adjust to them appropriately.

2. Don’t take things personally. Sometimes guests will be rude or talk down to you, which happens to me at least once every shift. When this happens, learn to let it go and kill them with kindness. Don’t let your negative tables to affect your mood, especially because your other tables will notice.

3. Be yourself while maintaining a professional demeanor. Most tables love when you are honest, friendly, and completely yourself with them. While it’s good to be open with your guests, you still need to be professional. With practice, you will learn to balance these two personalities perfectly.

By following these three simple steps, you will make a better impression on your tables!

 

Attitude is Everything.

While I was at work today, I had to remind myself that my attitude towards my customers and my co-workers can influence my entire day. I woke up in a bad mood this morning; I was tired and didn’t want to work a 10 hour shift when it was the weekend. Then during the morning shift, it was incredibly slow and I was hardly getting any tables. So right away I knew I wasn’t going to make any money, which made me even more upset to be there, since it was basically a waste of time.

No matter how annoyed I was though, I tried not to focus on it. Instead, I tried to enjoy the fact that it was going to be an easy and stress-free day at work. In result, I was being sociable with my customers, cracking jokes with my co-workers, and enjoying the free time I had. Since I was so laidback and easy-going, my tables loved me and the good tips just kept on coming. Thus, I got even more happier and positive as the day went on! By the time I went on my break, I felt good and had made decent money.

So trust me, if there’s anything you don’t want to do when you’re a server, it’s being in a bad mood. First of all, other servers can’t stand it when one server is always a “Negative Nancy” and constantly complains about the same things that all of us have to deal with (that we never complain about!). Your co-workers won’t enjoy working with you and then you’ll find that you have nobody to talk to during the painfully slow days. Not only that, but your guests won’t find you pleasant to be around either. They will also have no reason to think “She/he was awesome! I’m going to leave them a good tip.” And isn’t that the whole point you’re working anyways?

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So by being in a bad mood, you can lose companionship and even lose money! And finally, feeling down also affects you. By constantly hating the fact that you’re at work, it’ll feel like the hours are dragging on and you’ll become more irritated than necessary. Being pessimistic has negative health effects on your mind and body too!

When you’re thinking positively, being happy, and laughing with your guests and co-workers, your shift will be much more enjoyable and profitable. So if you’re feeling negative when you go into work, try to remember the reasons you enjoy your job. Or as an alternative, at least fake that your happy. A big part of serving is your ability to act like the happiest and more pleasant waiter ever, no matter what mood you’re actually in. As this Emily Nevius explains, “put your work face on.” 

Eventually, even fake happiness can rub off on you and become the real deal. So in the end, everyone will be smiling.

What are your guys’ strategies to snap out of a bad mood?