Restaurant Server Tips on Etiquette

Much has been written about how to be a professional server and better serve the needs of your guests.  But how does that professionalism translate into the part of your job that the customers rarely get to see?  The part of a waiter or waitresses job that requires them to work and interact with all others in restaurant on a day to day basis.

Merriam’ s defines a professional as: “exhibiting a courteous, conscientious, and generally businesslike manner in the workplace.”

It sounds pretty easy, right? Well, we all know that most waiters and waitresses have that ability to turn the charm on and be professional while talking with guests at the table, but it seems as though it is lost somewhere when working with the employees within the restaurant. What may seem like no big deal to you, can greatly affect morale, your ability to get things done for your guests and ultimately the respect of your co-workers.

After working several years in the food service industry I have found that there is a long list of do’s and don’ts.  This isn’t just your ordinary list pertaining to staying professional in the workplace, it’s a list written specifically for waiters and waitresses.

1. Do not talk about your server tips.

No matter how upset you are that the group of 10 people only tipped you $100, don’t go back in the kitchen and complain.  While everyone knows that you were working hard running drinks back and forth and tending to the guest’s needs, the BOH kitchen staff was working in 100 degree temperatures trying to make oders for not only your 10 guests but for the other 75 order that came in too.  Yes, did they choose to work and be part of the kitchen staff, yes, but that doesn’t mean that you have the right to go back there and complain about “only” making $100 in addition to your hourly wage for those 2 hours of service.

This same rule of thumb, not discussing tips, applies to all restaurant staff.  The host, the administrative assistants, the bussers, anyone and everyone, they don’t need to hear you complain about how much you did or didn’t make in tips.  Keep that private and if anything discuss it with your fellow waiters and waitress at the end of the night.

2. Thank You Goes A Long Way

Restaurant employees are trained to say please and thank you to their guests, but why is this forgotten when talking with coworkers?  It may seem like a simple thing but it can really make a big difference in the way that you are perceived.  If as a waitress you need help bringing food to a table and ask the busser, remember to ask them politely and thank them for their assistance. They were nice enough to stop what they were doing to help you out so make sure that you professional enough to show them the respect and appreciation they deserve. Think about it this way, if it were a guest handing you their plate would you thank them or simply walk away?

3. Tipping Out

In addition to always thanking fellow employees for their hard work and help, tip them out.  Tipping out at the end of your waitress shift is not something may not be required, but let’s face it; it’s the right thing to do. Take a percentage of your alcohol sales and tip the bartenders out, take another percentage of your overall sales and tip the host or hostess and bussers out.  Don’t worry, I didn’t forget about the BOH kitchen staff.  The kitchen staff can sometimes consist of 3-10 people so if you gave them a percentage of your food sales it might only be a couple dollars per person, that’s okay.  The fact that you are acknowledging their hard work will be greatly appreciated.  If the kitchen staff is of legal drinking age and it has been an exceptionally busy or rough night, compliment their efforts by buying them a beer at the end of their shift.  Remember, it’s not simply about the money, it’s about knowing that they are appreciated and valued.


Speak Your Mind