4 Ways To Increase Your Tips as a Server

In the food service industry your income is largely based on getting more tips.  Creating a memorable dining experience with guests will not only increase your tips for one ticket, but may also bring them back as a returning guest.  Creating a return guest will not only increase your tips but also help your restaurant increase sales.

Increasing your tips as a server is based on two factors:

  • Increasing your food and beverage sales
  • Increasing your tip percentage

Both of which are dependent upon your ability to provide the guest with a quality dining experience.  Here’s how to make more tips as a server in food service:

1. Increase your tips by building rapport with the guest

First, welcome the guests to the restaurant and then introduce yourself. After you have introduced yourself, ask the guests if they have ever dined at the establishment.  If they have not dined there before, go over the menu and style of dining with them.  If they have dined there in the past, thank them for returning and let them know of any changes that may have taken place.

When the guest is new to the restaurant you might hear “no we are from out of town” or “just visiting.”  These responses give the server a perfect opportunity to make a personal connection with the guest.  Asking them if they are there for business or pleasure is a perfectly okay question.

Getting to know the guest on a personal level will show them that you are interested and care about them. Guests want to feel comfortable and to be able to trust you.  Once you build their trust, they will feel as though they had a wonderful and unique experience and in turn thank you with an increased tip.

2. Suggestive selling to increase your tips

Instead of just asking guests what they would like to drink, try suggesting a few drinks.  These suggestions should include  alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks.  By offering guests a Mango Berry Lemonade or Smoking Margarita, you are encouraging them to get something other than water.  Remember to suggest beverages that are unique to your restaurant.  Suggesting drink items may not seem like it will make that big of a difference, but most cocktails range between $9 and $13 dollars, which can add up quickly.  Remember, when their bill increases, so should your tips!

3. Overachievers make more tips

There are an abundance of “good” servers out there.  “Good” servers bring guests refills and extra plates after being asked, while great servers notice that a guest’s water is getting low and refill it before they have to ask.  By paying attention to your guests you are able to anticipate their needs before they may even realize it.  Anytime that you are able to do something before a guest has to ask you to do it, the better their experience is.  Most people don’t like having to ask for refills and they shouldn’t have to.  It is your responsibility as a server to take care of them and in return you earn a better tip.

4. Increase your tips by suggesting add-ons

When a guest tells you that they would like the chicken sandwich, ask them if they would like to substitute the for a more expensive side.  Suggesting a substitution that has an additional charge is one great way to increase the bill total.  There are many different types of add-on items.  Some of these include adding chicken to a salad, bacon to a sandwich or cheese to a burger.  Go over your menu and look for opportunities to suggest these add-ons to your guests.  These types of increases to the bill typically mean that your tip percentage will increase as well.

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