Tricks of the waitstaff trade: Learn what the best servers do to get the best tips

giving waiter a cash tip

Waitstaff jobs are in high supply these days. But, what can you do to increase the tips you receive and the money you bring home? Customers are often very willing and happy to tip generously for restaurant services that go above and beyond their expectations. In today’s environment where so many restaurants are hiring waitresses and waiters and are short-staffed, there are a host of ways to stand out from the crowd and get amazing tips in the process!

Follow these five service tips to increase your chances of getting higher cash tips during every shift.

Keep their drinks filled. Having to chase down a waiter or waitress for another glass of water or a soda refill creates frustration which leads to a low tip. Pay close attention to your tables’ drinks and be ready to give refills before they even ask. If you think you may have to step away from their table for an extended period of time, you can drop off extra drinks for the table just in case.

Start up a friendly conversation. Of course, getting your customers’ orders right is top priority, but people also like to strike up conversation with their waiter. Remind them that you’re there to serve but find ways to connect with them on a human level. Ask them if they’re traveling from out of town, if they’ve visited your restaurant before, or if they would like any menu recommendations. The point is to find something that you can connect with and build out into conversation over the course of their meal.

Anticipate what they need. Think they’ll need ketchup, want more bread for the table, or would love some complimentary appetizers? Then go for it! The waiters that are able to overdeliver will always get the best tips. Customers LOVE to be showered with attention (and free things), if your restaurant offers any special perks, make sure your customers know about it and give them that special VIP treatment.

Greet them by name. When’s the last time a waiter asked you your name and used it when they addressed you? They do it all the time at Chick-Fil-A for a reason! Having a personalized experience not only makes you feel special, but it makes the experience truly memorable.

Check in often and look for ways to overdeliver. This is an intricate balance between being attentive and being annoying. You don’t need to check in every 3-5 minutes, but keeping an eye out and checking in at least once every 15 minutes is a good frame of reference. Find ways that you can over-deliver on their request. For example, if the table asks for dipping sauce, maybe bring them 3-5 different options to choose from. The more you can provide a tailored experience, the better.

These are just a few tried and true ways to stand out and get larger tips as a waitress. If you’re new to the restaurant industry or want to up your game and take home bigger checks, try out these 5 strategies during your next shift.

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