Let’s face it – success for the wait staff is all about the tip count at the end of the night. Since their pay is based on tips, the great waiters will do everything they can to make the experience of the customer as great as possible in an effort to improve their tips every day. Besides triple checking to make sure their order is correct and serving them throughout the night so every request is met in a timely manner, there are many things servers can do to enhance the customer experience and make better tips.

Gratitude Sells

Trying to go to work and make money based on performance alone is not easy, especially if you have a lot going on in your personal life or if another person on staff has made your life more difficult. We all have those days at work; the important thing to remember is to leave it at the door and showcase gratitude. Being more grateful and showcasing a happy and helpful demeanor will help you make more money in your shift. If you can be entertaining as well, that will greatly help improve your tip amount. Some servers don’t have the entertainment bone in them, however, so as long as you are grateful and happy to serve, you will see larger tips.

Show Off Your Personality

There are numerous studies that show when a waiter or waitress gives the customers a taste of their personality, they receive higher tips. Here are some strategies to accomplish it:

  • Introduce yourself. This should be standard at every restaurant, but if you aren’t introducing yourself, start now! According to a Forbes article on earning more tips by Laura Shin, waiters that introduced themselves earned a 56% higher tip.
  • Emphasize your appearance. Even though you have a uniform, there are many things you can add to your appearance the emphasize flair. Ladies can add something distinctive to their hair, like a colorful headband or a flower. Men can add an eye-catching bowtie or a cool piece of jewelry.
  • Recommend your favorites. Many people at a restaurant are unsure of what they want to settle on. When you are introducing the menu, be sure to recommend some of your favorite dishes and why they are your favorites. This is also an opportunity to upsell certain items for a bigger tip!

Personalize Their Experience

Not only should you showcase your personality, but you should also personalize the dining experience based on the customers at your table. Many employees do this over time with their regular customers, but try to find something to make it a personal experience every time.

  • Bending down to the table level to talk over menu items allows customers to hear you better and is more personal than standing over them.
  • Talk about something going on in the community, such as a parade, sports event, or even the weather.
  • Try to compliment the customers on something they are wearing or one of their food choices. Compliments on food orders can boost tips by 16-20%.
  • Write thank you on the check and draw something on the back that relates to their experience. This tiny personal touch is a great tip booster.
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Matt Thompson

CEO of ShiftNote
Matt has let his lifelong passion of food and people lead him to 15 amazing years as a restaurant manager and another 9 years working as a Director with a major food service distributor. He has channeled this passion to help create and run ShiftNote. When he's not dominating the food service industry, he's spending time with his 4 children and cheering on the Tigers as a Mizzou Alumni.