Five tips to be a great server

Five tips to be a great server

Shannon Harkness | Full-time public relations student & part-time server.

For anyone who works in the service industry it is common knowledge that the better service you give; the better the tip you will receive. You have to have certain qualities to interact with your guest. You need to be attentive, but not annoying. You also need to know when and what is appropriate to talk about or say. I have been working a server for five years.

I was bar tending one night and a football game was on. A man who looked homeless came in, sat at the bar and watched the game. He asked me which team I wanted to win and I told him “The Eagles.” He gave me props and said ok. I served the man a couple beers and made small talk. The game ended and he was overjoyed, he had won $20,000. He tipped me $500 and thanked me for the wonderful service.

If you’re a great server and can keep the customer happy then you never know the benefits it can bring.

1) Be Attentive

When people go out for dinner they want to be served and it’s your job to do just that. Never be out of sight if your customers need something you should be right there with refills or any concerns. Being attentive shows that you care and your customers are your main priority.

2) Anticipate

As a server you should be able to know what your guest needs before they ask. If their drink is just about empty, bring them a refill before they ask. By doing that it really helps to “wow” the guest. If you notice your table is finishing up and they don’t want desert or coffee drop the bill off. Tell your table that there is no rush for them to leave, but the bill is there just in case. Never just walk away and wait for your guest to ask.

3) Be Personable

Going out for dinner is an experience no matter where you go. Talk to your guests, ask where they are from engage them in conversation. There is nothing people enjoy more, then when they get the chance to talk about themselves. Then in return tell them a bit about yourself. When people get to know you they feel more comfortable and are more likely to return.

4) It’s easy to be happy

Your job is to take an order and bring people their food, then the bill. You get paid to talk to people and be social. Smile as much as you can and try to truly enjoy what you’re doing. Customers can tell when you aren’t happy and that puts a damper on their dinner. Going out to eat is a social experience and you want to have as positive of an experience as possible.

5) Keep an open mind

When working in the service industry you are completely open to the public. Everyday is an adventure you never know who you’re going to meet. A friend of mine that I used to work with was talking to someone that she was serving and was telling her guest how she had finished school and was looking for a job. She had her degree in business and marketing. The man she was talking to was the hiring manager for Jaguar Canada. They exchanged contact information and now works for head office on their marketing team. She found her new career by keeping an open mind and meeting new people. It’s a small world and you never know who you are going to meet.

If you follow these five simple tips it should help to improve your “tips” with the service industry success is in your own hands. When you’re at work are you applying all of these skills? If not try them and see if there is an improvement.


One thought on “Five tips to be a great server

  1. 3XHAUST April 13, 2015 / 6:20 pm

    Did that man actually win $20,000? That’s incredible.

    Serving is such an overlooked art. The point I like especially is “Be personal,” as creating customer relationships is key to future success. You’ve told me as much!

    The company I work for stresses employee-customer relations to the highest degree. As with obtaining a job or getting anywhere, knowing people and networking is the key to selling as well. Your successes mentioned here are inspiring, and I think you’re well on your way to becoming a social sales professional.

    However, getting where you want at the pace you want requires a lot of time and effort. Additionally, certain hallmarks of this industry require a huge amount of patience and resolve. It can be really draining on a person to consistently exhibit a service persona, but there’s hope yet. You’ve mentioned being happy at work, but sometimes it’s nigh impossible to achieve an elevated mood. You should check out this article [] on easy ways to de-stress!

    Tabitha Summerhayes is a full-time PR student at Humber College.


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