How to Maximize Your Tip Revenue as a Server in a Restaurant
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How to Maximize Your Tip Revenue as a Server in a Restaurant

Working in a restaurant, I have developed many ways to increase my tips. In this article, I give tips on how to increase your tip revenue as a server in a restaurant. Filled with easy to follow guidelines, readers will walk away with an understanding of how to increase customer satisfaction, which will lead to more increased tips.

            Waiting tables at a restaurant is a great way to earn extra income in these tough economic times. As college student, I rely on my tips to pay for my living expenses. The money I make being a server is directly related to how well I take care of my guests. If I am passive and careless with my guests, the money I make at the end of the night will be significantly lower than if I gave them great customer service. There are many factors that go into the serving process that will affect the amount of tips I receive. The three most important things I do while serving to maximize tips are building a rapport with my guests, serving as efficient as possible, and dressing appropriate. 

            When people go out to eat at a restaurant, they are looking to have a great time. Being a server, you are directly responsible for the satisfaction of their visit. One of the big keys in customer satisfaction at restaurants is building a rapport with your guests. Building a rapport basically means being in sync with your guests. The best way to do this is by finding a common ground. Be aware of what they are wearing. Are they wearing a hat with a football team on it? Ask them how the team is doing. This may seem pretty difficult, but if you pay attention to what they are saying and what they are wearing, you can easily find something in common with them. If you can’t pick up on anything by their dress or speak, ask them a few questions. What are their plans for the night? Are they from the area or passing through? If they are passing through, where is their destination and where are they from? Asking the guests questions will not only lead to a rapport, but it will also make the experience unique. By building a rapport, your guests will feel appreciated and will be more likely to leave a bigger tip.

            Now that you have built a rapport with your visitors, it is time to make the process as efficient as possible. Consolidating steps will save you more time, which will lead to more focus on the guest's experience. If you are bringing out a steak dinner to your guest, bring the steak sauce with you. This way, when you ask if they would like any, you will already have it on hand and save yourself the trip. Combining these steps will lead to a more timely and efficient experience, which will impress your customers. This is especially important when the restaurant is very busy or if you know your patrons are in a hurry. Not only does this keep the guests happy, this will conserve your energy, which is important on the very long shifts or busy nights. By having more energy, you will be able to attend to your section better, which will lead to an even better guest experience. Efficient serving will keep customer satisfaction high, and we all know that happy guests lead to larger tips.

            Appearance is a big factor when trying to make the best tips possible. No guest wants to be waited on by someone whose shirt is not tucked in, has untrimmed facial hair, and an overall messy appearance. If you are a male, try to be clean shaven, or at least have any facial hair neat and trimmed. Make sure your hair is styled in some way; show that you are genuinely interested in your look. For girls, make sure hair is pulled back and you do not have fake nails. Also, nail polish is a big problem. Do not take the chance of having the paint chip off in someone's food. For both men and women, make sure clothes are clean and wrinkle-free. Do not give the guests any opportunity to be turned off by your appearance. The classier you make yourself look, the better the customer experience. And great customer experience ultimately leads to higher tips.

            As a server, your income is directly affected by the amount of labor you put into your job. If you are content with making 5-8% tips, then be lazy. However, if you want to double, or even triple that number, follow my tips. Building a rapport, keeping appearance classy, and serving efficiently will all lead to a better guest experience, and this will greatly increase your tips. By working hard and being genuine your income will increase and making more money is a great feeling!

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Comments (6)

I have worked in the restaurant field as well and these are all very true and helpful tips! Keep up the good work!

Ranked #5 in Customer Service

Interesting on restaurant field. Thank you Christopher. Voted. Hope to avail your friendship and support.

Good info. If the waitstaff is more attentive, I will definitely tip more.

Exactly, Mark. Guests will be able to tell how much attention the waitstaff is giving.

I use to waitress in a restuarant in a poor part of the city, tips were terrible. But at least in Canada waitstaff gets a decent wage.

I feel your pain, Brenda! When I worked at a small diner, no matter how great of customer service I gave, I expected very low tips. The restaurant I currently work at is higher end and I am enjoying a better income now! Thanks for commenting!