Is there a secret to getting better tips as a server?

We’ve dug deep into Reddit’s subreddits where waiters and waitresses have shared their advice for levelling up their gratuity game…

  1. Introduce yourself – when a customer knows your name it personifies you
  2. Refills are key, it’s probably the biggest complaint most people have about service so to keep drinks full is tantamount to success
  3. I always write “thank you! :)” on the top of the receipt. 
  4. Know the menu well enough to suggest something when a customer is having a hard time deciding
  5. If it is super busy and food/bar drinks are taking a bit longer than normal – a simple ‘heads up’ to the customer assures them they haven’t been forgotten
  6. Anticipate a guest’s needs. They ordered greasy finger food? Bring extra napkins. Sharing? Bring side plates. Do these things before they have to ask.
  7. Mirroring. Simply the best way to quickly create strong connections with customers, and therefore tips on average. Try mirroring their mood/body language/voice & wording etc.
  8. Gauge how open a table is with conversing with you. If they’re not down for talking with their waiter, leave them alone. If they are willing to talk to you, get them to like you, be personable.
  9. Smile and the whole world smiles with you 🙂
  10. The most important thing is to read their order back to them when you are done taking all of the orders at the table. Guarantee your tips will go up by just doing that one simple thing
  11. This literally requires no social engineering: provide good service
  12. Be able to tell when customers are ready for the bill so you’re not holding them “bill hostage”
  13. I keep stickers in my apron for kids – gets me massive brownie points 🙂
  14. Know your menu (as in, “really” know your menu)
  15. Upsell passionately!
  16. Offer a complimentary mint or chocolate after the meal
  17. Wear clean clothes and be well-groomed
  18. Squat down next to the table when interacting with customers
  19. Draw a “happy face” along with a “thank you” on the bill – if appropriate for the establishment
  20. Wear something distinctive – such as in your hair – no idea why this works but it does!
  21. Compliment guests on their meal choices 
  22. A smile should be considered part of the uniform
  23. Credit & Debit card customers tend to tip more
  24. A tip-tray with a credit card logo on it works better
  25. Forecast good weather. “The weather is supposed to be really good tomorrow. I hope you enjoy the day!” (if it’s true of course)
  26. Call customers by name – for instance, when you take payment by credit card, “Thank you, Mr Smith” 
  27. Repeat the order of each guest exactly as they said it – not paraphrased – this helps rapport and makes them feel like they are being paid attention to 
  28. Talk to the chefs about their recipes and food. They can offer you great little bits of information, such as drink pairings and where ingredients come from – this is great for upselling and upselling mean bigger tips!
  29. Be quick with the condiments – if they’ve asked for mayo make sure they have it before the food is starting to go cold
  30. No matter how busy I am, I always try to make myself seem not busy – I always want my tables to feel like they have my full attention
  31. Recognise repeat customers – mega bonus points if you can remember and refer back to your last conversation with them
  32. Get the drink order ASAP
  33. Never interrupt a guest’s conversation, if possible
  34. Never say “I don’t know”. If you actually don’t know the answer, respond with “let me find out”. 
  35. Knowing when to tell a good joke is diamond
  36. Always rave about the specials
  37. An OK waiter does what they’re told; a great waiter offers before they’re asked
  38. Learn to read your guests. Some people only want the basic service (take the order, bring the food, refill the drinks), but some people really love to talk.
  39. Make them feel like they’re the only table in the world
  40. If you walk in every day intent on making sure that every single person you serve leaves the restaurant happy, the tips will come on their own

It doesn’t take long to notice – almost all these tips can be boiled down into simply giving great service with a smile!