Make sure you look professional by keeping your uniform nice and tidy. It is really important to keep in mind that as a waiter, you are the face of your restaurant. In order to do that, sometimes you need to forget what is going on in your private life and try not to bring your problems with you to work. Keep up with your personal hygiene, look sharp, subtle make-up for the waitresses and freshly trimmed beards for the men are a big plus.
2. Be nice and kind
Greet your guests with a big smile, and try to keep smiling throughout the evening, even during the most stressful times. This gives your customers the impression that they are welcome, that everything is fine and that they have nothing to worry about. At the same time, try to understand your guests and what they need. Some guests like to be talked to whereas others want peace and quiet while they order. Keep this in mind and try to match their needs. This becomes truly challenging when your guests are unpleasant or rude, bringing us straight to the next point.
3. Treat everyone equally
This one is probably the hardest one. It is really easy to deal with good and polite customers but, unluckily, these are not the only kinds of guests to enter your restaurant. You have to rely on your own self-control to stay calm and maintain a positive attitude. If you succeed, you will provide a good service even to the most nasty customer, who might reward your hard work with a bonus in the form of a tip.
4. Be a storyteller
Although this point can vary depending on different factors, including what kind of restaurant you are part of, you can improve the experience of yours guests by telling the story of both your restaurant and the food they eat. Explaining where the food comes from, how it’s made and other small anecdotes can be part of what makes it a memorable dining experience. You can strengthen your service with small facts about the food, the wine or history about the restaurant. Again, it is important to read the situation and evaluate what your customers would find interesting to hear about. If asked, you can also talk about yourself, answering their questions, but always keep in mind that they came to have a comfortable and relaxed experience – do not reflect onto them your stress or problems! These small talks can contribute to the overall environment for the clients, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
5. Anticipate the needs
Try to read all the different situations and do not wait for your guest to ask you. If you see that they finished their drinks, approach the table and ask if they need some more. After a few bites, ask them how their food is. Try and be smart about how and when you approach your guests – if a couple is having a romantic candlelit dinner, it is more likely that they want to be left alone to focus on each other rather than the waiter. A bigger group of friends may be more likely to listen to small talk.
6. Sharing is caring
If customers are coming to your restaurant, especially if it’s not for the first time, it is doubtful that they do it only for the service or the food. It is a combination of the varied elements that makes the overall experience memorable. Even though it may feel like a punch to the stomach to share your hard-earned tips with your colleagues, it creates a good atmosphere amongst the staff. You never know when you are about to have a bad day, and good colleagues (who like you) are more likely to help you get through your shift.
7. Something to keep in mind
We would like to give you a couple of guidelines that can sum up basically all of the above.
First, try to put yourself in the shoes of your guests. Understand their frustrations, their excitement. Think about what it takes to create a good environment to dine in from their perspective and how you would like to be treated.
Secondly, go the extra mile for your customer. They will notice the effort and reward you for making their night special. If you do something out of the ordinary for them, meeting their needs and guiding them through their dining experience, they will most likely express their gratitude by giving you tips.