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How to Make More Money as a Server?

Posted by:

James Clark | November 29, 2018

Life as a server is never easy, from dealing with rude customers to working long, tiring shifts. While many see serving as a part-time gig to make extra money on the side, there are hundreds of thousands of servers in America that rely on the profession to support them full-time. 

Given that, on average, the majority of a server’s salary comes from tips, it’s important for waiters and bartenders to refine their customer service skills and make sure they do everything in their power to please their guests. Once that becomes routine, the tips will begin flowing in. 

It’s also important for servers to put effort into creating a reputation for their professionalism and hard work. This will make it easier to apply for positions at higher paying restaurants or rise through the ranks to lucrative management positions. 

With that said, here are some tips you can put into motion at your place of work to start earning more money as a server. 

Making More Money as a Server

If you’re a server or you’re looking to become one, the good news is that you don’t need any dramatic life changes to earn a decent income. All you have to do is focus on a few different strategies and continue practicing what you’re already good at. The money will come after that.

While serving does have a reputation of being temporary, there have also been plenty of professionals who have found success by working their way up in the restaurant industry. Check out these awesome tips on how you can work your way up and make more money as a server.

Write “Thank You” on Guest Checks, Be Creative

It may sound cliché and simple, but those two words are very powerful, especially under the right circumstances. But how effective is it really? One study shows that this simple gesture can increase the chances of getting tips by 13%.

Regardless of how it’s done, showing appreciation is very much perceived as a sign of friendliness and respect. It’s such a simple step too, which can be easily incorporated into one’s daily routine. Plus, it will be the last thing the customer sees before they leave a tip. 

Tips are very good source of additional income for servers and often require a little extra effort. Try adding this personal touch the next time one of your customers closes out their tab. 

Work Efficient, Not Fast

‘Turning tables’ as they say in the server world is key to making more money in the restaurant business. The math is simple in theory; the more tables you serve in a shift, the more money a server can make. But if the place is full, there is a fine line between turning tables and rushing guests. 

Whatever the case maybe, you’ll never want to leave guests unattended for long periods of time or make them feel like they’re being forced out. Either would be a nightmare scenario for any server. Being patient and attentive to guests that like to linger may even pay off when they close their tabs after a nice long meal. 

Don’t be hard on yourself, though, as an efficient workflow is hardly a one man’s job. But for those that you can control, you’d want to always be a step ahead of those tasks at hand. Hard work pays off, and when done consistently, regulars and even random guests should be able to appreciate your efforts. This doesn’t guarantee a tip or promotion, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Invest in Your Development

While some establishments may provide training to applicants, it will never hurt your chances to proactively take the required training at your local state. Just make sure to check you have the right information you need so you can enroll into the right training course or certification.

If you’ve got previous experience as a server, explore your options. By this time, you should have earned enough experience to assess your personal growth. Ideally, you should’ve also gathered enough connections to gauge where you’re at professionally. If you feel like you’re finally ready to take the next step, research or train in advance so that you can qualify or transition to a higher post more easily.

Be mindful that managers are required to take a different training program than food handlers, so it’s best to prepare yourself ahead of time by clearly identifying where you’d want to take your career as a server.

Provide Excellent Service

Chances are, everyone you work with is also striving to make more tips. So, if you wish to climb up the ranks or get more tips from your customers, you have to make an active effort to stand out and be consistently good at what you do. It doesn’t mean you have to go out of your way to make people notice you, sometimes it can be just as simple as providing consistent, excellent service.

Whether that means patiently repeating orders, smiling more often, or going out of your way to remember customer’s names, there’s plenty of options for restaurants as well as servers to leave a lasting impact on guests.

Learn from Others and Work Well With the Team

There’s a special dynamic between restaurant staff members that those who have never worked in the food industry wouldn’t understand. While everyone is looking for personal growth, it’s never lost on the staff that the success of the business comes first.

To best serve the guests, it’s important to work with all team members, making sure everyone from chefs to hosts are on the same page. Serving is more fun if you can all grow, succeed, and earn more together. In fact, some restaurant staff even collectively split the tips on a daily basis to make sure everyone is rewarded for their hard work.

Summing up

Serving can be a very fun and rewarding career, and not all professionals can say that about their jobs. Half of the reason, of course, is simply being in love with what you do and the career path you chose. The rest comes from mastering the craft and seeing yourself grown professionally over the years.

Being in the food industry also offers a lot of opportunities to connect with people from all industries and learn from them. Furthermore, some of the wait staff that went on to become a successful entrepreneurs in other fields will tell you that their winning habits came from their days as part of the staff. So just remember, always keep yourself open to learning opportunities, strive to adapt, and regardless of how hard it may be, maintain a great attitude at work.