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Bryburn's avatar

What are some tips on how to be a waiter/server/busboy?

Asked by Bryburn (137points) July 1st, 2011

I got my first job and I am still getting the hang of being a server. As of right now I am a busboy that fills in as a server. I’m looking for any tips or helpful ideas.

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7 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Everyone has to have a first job. As a server, expect old people to be lousy tippers. I’m throwing that out there to hear the wrath of the old people.

jaytkay's avatar

Always keep you head up and give every diner a chance to catch your eye. If they signal you, either ask what they need or let them know you will alert their waiter,

Whenever you are at a table, scan it to see everyone has a full water glass and all the silverware they need. If you take away a knife or fork, and the meal is not over, bring them a clean replacement

Learn the menu. I worked at a place where we had to write out the entire menu from memory before we could wait tables. It made us much more confident, made us look good and earned us a lot of tips.

Have fun and work hard. You can make a lot of money waiting tables. I did it for 8 years in three cities, I always found a job easily.

marinelife's avatar

Do not flip off the prosecutor during a televised trial.

Bryburn's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe one problem with the tips is that I’m a server at an old folks home, sooooooo not a whole lot of tips for me.haha

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Bryburn Oh man, your hosed!

JLeslie's avatar


Know the menu really really well. Be able tl answer questions. How something is cooked, what’s in the dish.

Read back the order before you leave the table, make sure you have it right.

Before you bring the food out double check the special requests are done correctly. Butter on the side, no tomatoes, etc.

Keep your head up and watch for customers who need your attention.

After serving the food shortly after visit the table and double check if they need anything additional, and that the food is cooked as they requested.

Haleth's avatar

Learn the menu as soon as you can- how everything is made and what it’s made with. Older people have more dietary restrictions and they will probably have more questions for you.

Make friends with your co-workers and bosses. Help them out even if they’re not expecting it or if they didn’t ask you. When you’re waiting tables, there will always be times when you get overwhelmed. If you’re on good terms with your co-workers, a lot of the time they’ll help you out in a pinch and it will make things so much easier.

If you anticipate the needs of the customers, instead of waiting until they ask for something, they will appreciate it and tip better. Keep an eye on your tables and ask if everything is all right. Refill water glasses before they get empty, bring crayons/ coloring books for the kids, etc. Don’t let the bill sit for more than five minutes once the payment is there.

Serve all the entrees at the same time, unless the customers request otherwise. If half the table is eating and the other half of the table is hungry, they can’t enjoy their meal together. If someone seems to be finished, ask before clearing their plates.

If a customer seems to be cold, a nice, thoughtful gesture would be to bring them a cup of hot water to wrap their hands around.

When your work is done, ask your boss if there is any more work for you to do, or find more things to do. If you have a good work ethic, you will really stand out.

Get to know the regular customers. When you’ve built a relationship with them, they will trust you more and be more forgiving if you mess up. If they like you and know you, they’ll tip better. They may even bring their friends and family to the restaurant, which means more business for the owner and more tips for you.

Once you know the menu well, you can also make recommendations if the customers seem to be in a good mood. For example, tell them about a great dessert or a new special. If they spend more money, you might get a better tip.

Try to get the side work done ahead of time if you can. The two or three bucks an hour the restaurant pays you mostly goes to taxes. Once the restaurant closes at the end of the night, there are no more tips to be made and you’re basically working for free. Time to get the hell out of there.

Good luck!

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