Waitress and Waiter Server Rules
This is just a list of suggestions I have for crews who work together to maximize the customer service and ensure repeat customers, and also have people who come in and ask for you to wait on them. I am, in no way, meaning this for anyone in particular, just making a statement for those of you who are new to waiting, and are not too sure of how things should work.
1. You should always acknowledge people when they come in the door. If they are a repeat customer you should absolutely make sure to acknowledge them. A simple Hi, how are you doing is fine. People like it that you remember them. You like it when people remember you don’t you?
2. When you go to a table for the first time, please don’t ask people old enough to be your parents (like me – lol) or grandparents — “you guys want something to drink? “ This might be okay to say to your friends or people your own age, but it doesn’t sound very good to older patrons. Just a little thing but it annoys me. Say Hi, I’m Billy or Mary, how are you, how is your family (if you know them), what would you like to drink, etc. You don’t have to say I’ll be your waiter/waitress, I think they know that. Customers, as you get to know them, like to talk. Over the years, I have met many wonderful people who have been very kind to me, and I would never have gotten to know them if I hadn’t started to talk to them. I have heard many wonderful stories and sad ones too, from customers. And if they have had a bad day, you might be able to change that for them with just a little kindness by listening to them. Expand your world; make friends with your regular customers. It makes life interesting and your job more pleasant for both you and the customer. If you see that the person is not responsive to you, don’t take it personally; some people are just that way, but at least you tried.
3. If you see that a table, which is not yours, is looking for help or needs something, go and find out what it is. If you can get it for them, do so. If it’s something their server needs to know, tell them. Just because it is not your table, doesn’t mean you should ignore them. If you want to keep people happy and ensure they come back, everyone should work together. I don’t want to hear that it’s not your table, and you’re not getting the tip, (as I have heard a few times), it’s your job, and if you want people to keep coming back, then everyone should work together. Likewise, when there is food ready to be delivered, and the server is busy with another table, take it out for them so the food doesn’t get cold. We were taught this from day 1. There is no reason for any server to ignore a customer, or stand around and say “that’s not my table” in any restaurant!
4. If you cannot get to a table in your section right away, make sure you acknowledge them, and tell them you will be with them momentarily. Try to at least get them bread and a drink, but if you are too busy, ask another server to get it for you (see rule #3). Just make sure they know you are aware of them and will be right back. People don’t mind waiting a couple of minutes as long as you acknowledge them. They can see if you are waiting on or serving another table’s food, or taking an order.
5. Wash your hands – Wash your hands- Wash your hands!!! I can’t say this enough. You are serving people their food and cleaning tables as well, so not only can you get sick from cleaning up used silverware and napkins, you can make someone else sick. I also have an aversion to servers with long fingernails. Unless they wash their hands and clean their nails frequently, they are just disgusting. I know this firsthand because a few years ago I started getting my nails done. They looked pretty, but after I saw how much dirt got stuck under them I had them taken off. Its okay if you have them done short, but those long nail tips get too much under them. Keep them short!!
6. If it’s a slow night, find something to clean that you can’t do when you are busy. Don’t think – “that’s not my job” or say you don’t care. People expect clean tables, booths, silverware, condiments etc. Your effort to keep your restaurant clean will be noticed by customers and your boss as well. You expect the same cleanliness when you eat out, don’t you?
7. Do not try to steal another server’s requests! Be nice to your customers, and they will request you the next time. I have had a lot of people request me over the years only because I know what they like, or that some of them like to have a friendly person wait on them. Some people leave large tips, some do not. They all get the same service from me no matter what. Some people, mainly retirees, are on a limited budget, and this is the way they get out of the house and get to talk to people, so if they can’t leave a big tip, I understand. I don’t have a problem with that as long as they are pleasant. However, I have had co-workers over the years who watched which customers were leaving me large tips, and when they would come in again, and request me, they would tell them I was too busy. Or they would seat them in their section and say that they asked for them. When the customer would see me they would ask why I hadn’t waited on them. This is unbelievably sneaky and rude of the server, and because I don’t think of people as being that way, it took me a while to see what was happening. Make people request you and you will build your own clientele. Don’t be so greedy that you have to resort to sneaky bullshit to force people to sit in your section, just because they are a big tip. When you go to your regular hairdresser, you would not want someone else there to do your hair if you asked for your regular stylist! So it is the same with restaurants. Make people remember you and your good service, and you will have your own requests!
8. To sum this up, just be nice to your customers and keep yourself and the restaurant as clean as you would like it to be when you’re dining out. And help each other out when you’re busy. There are a million other restaurants out there, so make yours the best so that customers will choose yours over others. And my last piece of advice – OMG – No txting while u r wrking!! You know who you are – lol !!!