While neat appearance and a nice smile are basic parts of the server’s vocation, are there other gestures or secrets for getting more generous tips? Here are some ideas to try out…
Introduce yourself to customers
For Nicolas, a server in a Laval restaurant with thirteen years of experience at the counter, it is important to make contact with the customer or customers from the outset: “From my first approach, I tell them my name to create a contact and I tell them I am there for them. It provides a personal touch,” he explains. “The point is that they see you as a real person.”
Mastering the menu
Then comes the moment to take the order. “It seems obvious, but it’s important to fully know the dishes that are on the menu,” Nicolas insists. “Where the products come from, the wine list, etc. It’s essential that the customer gets the feeling that we know what we’re talking about. The worst thing is to invent or to lie, because you risk losing all credibility… and the customer’s trust.”
We know logically that in this vocation, the more you sell the higher the tip will be. Some people are tempted to sell the most expensive items, but think again: “Honesty is basic,” advises Nicolas. “The less you think about your pocket, the more customers will appreciate it.” For Mathilde, a server in a restaurant with Montreal specialities in the Old Port, being natural and spontaneous are essential. “I always make sure to serve the customer as I would like to be served,” she explains.
Constantly suggest, never force
“In 100% of cases, I will propose an aperitif by advising specific things,” says Nicolas. “At the end of the meal, I automatically bring the menu with desserts, coffees and digestives. I don’t ask, because at the end of the meal people are often full and say no, whereas if the menu is in front of them, the temptation will be there. You must not force them, but constantly suggest so they succumb. And if this happens, it can be another $10 more per person…”
Ready for the bill?
When the time has come to present the bill, remember not to rush your guests. “I always prefer to confirm with the guests that they are ready for the bill, because if they feel that you want them to leave they will not appreciate it. It is important not to press them,” recommends the server. Mathilde, meanwhile, chooses this moment to start a discussion and create a link with the customer, just before paying. “Since we basically have a tourist clientele, I ask people where they come from, etc., because it’s also when I have the most time,” the young woman explains.
Don’t watch the clock
Some people spend their evening counting their pennies, at the risk of being demoralized by a disappointing take. Nicolas advises against this: “I try not to watch my tips during my shift, in order to keep my energy up. The guest must never feel that you have had a bad day, always keep smiling!”