How to be a great waitress.
I've been out to eat many times and it always seems like I get a sub-par server. Serving has it challenges but it's pretty straightforward; basically, you do the same damn thing at every table. Here's how to get a perfect tip.
Greet the table in a reasonable amount of time.
No one likes sitting down in a restaurant, thirsty as hell, just to wait for the waitress to come over and grab a simple drink order. I've sat in a restaurant for about ten minutes before the server even acknowledged me. I normally am able to overlook mistakes (since I'm a server), especially if they are busy, but not even stopping to say “I'll be right with you” lowers your tip. Even on my busiest days, drink orders take less than 30 seconds and drinks are easily carried out with other items such as entrees, salad, soup, or dessert. There's no excuse for making your customers wait for drinks. Period.
Get all soups, salads, bread, and appetizers out as soon as possible.
After the drink order, these things come next. On busy nights this can be tricky because you have a bunch of sweaty servers running back and forth trying to get their own food. Make the most out of your elbows. Since there are so many servers in the vicinity, no one will know that you did it. Do NOT let your entrees come out too quickly. Salads and appetizers should come out together. When customers are out to eat, the pacing has to be perfect. One of the things that can piss people off more than anything is when they just got their salads and BAM! There's their food. Then they either have a clusterfuck on the table or they want their food to go back under heaters in the food line where it will get dry and need a re-cook anyway. Let them enjoy their salad/soup and bread for a little while. I normally let people eat at least a bowl of salad before I start checking for their food.
Make sure all the food is correct BEFORE it's taken to the table.
This goes for soups too but make sure that the food is HOT and looks great. Presentation is half the battle. When in doubt, think to yourself: would I want to eat this shit? Then they don't want to either. It's better to say that there was a mix up in the kitchen than to bring out food that looks like it's already been eaten or worse, burned, because now the blame falls onto you as the server. I always choose to run my own food because I know what it should look like, especially if someone has ordered something special. Everything should be perfect before it even reaches the table.
Check back after a couple minutes.
Please don't go to your table when they have a mouth full of food. That's rude. Wait for the most convenient time and ask the table if their food tastes good and if they need anything else. If you notice a drink needs refilled, don't ask, just bring them a new one (unless, of course, it's an alcoholic drink). The number one thing that people get pissed about is having a plateful of food with nothing to drink. Their food is getting cold and they are getting impatient. That's ridiculous. If you see your guest has half a glass, go ahead and bring a refill. Trust me, keep them refilled and your tip will double.
Ask for dessert and bring the check.
When you actually give them the check, try to be there as soon as they are ready with the money or credit card. Cashing the person out should be your number one priority. No one likes having to wait there at the table, wondering if they are going to have time to make it to their movie, while you're trying to do ten things at once. Take the time to go ahead and cash them out and give it back to them. Normally people remember the first thing that happens at the table and the last thing that happens at the table. Do you really want the last thing they remember to be that you were slow getting the check back to them? People who are in a mad rush don't think twice about the tip.
Like I said the other night, I made 100 (after tip outs) for just 5 hours, not even counting my 3.50 per/hr. So there you have it. Follow my easy step by step guide and watch as your tips double.