Working As a Server: 10 Crucial Tips

January 21, 2023 · 4 min read

Working as a server in a restaurant or other food service establishment can be a challenging but rewarding career. It requires a combination of customer service skills, multitasking abilities, and product knowledge. A server is responsible for greeting and seating customers, taking orders, serving food and drinks, handling payments, and providing excellent customer service.

A server is also expected to have a strong understanding of menu items, specials, and wine pairings. They also need to be able to work well under pressure, handle complaints, and resolve any issues that may arise. Additionally, servers must adhere to health and safety regulations, and maintain a clean and organized work area.

Working as a server can also be a physically demanding job, as it requires a lot of standing and walking, and carrying heavy trays of food and drinks. However, it also offers flexible hours and the opportunity to work in different types of restaurants, catering, and other food service establishments. With experience and hard work, one can also advance to supervisory or management roles.

​​Here are some tips for working as a server:

  1. Be punctual and reliable: Show up to work on time and be ready to work.

  2. Be attentive and friendly: Greet customers with a smile and make sure they are comfortable. Listen to their needs and preferences.

  3. Be knowledgeable about the menu: Know the menu items, specials, and wine pairings well so you can make recommendations and answer questions.

  4. Be organized: Keep track of multiple orders and tables at the same time.

  5. Be efficient: Take orders and serve food and drinks in a timely manner.

  6. Be able to work under pressure: Remain calm and composed during busy times.

  7. Be a team player: Work closely with other servers, cooks, and bartenders to ensure a smooth service.

  8. Be aware of safety and sanitation: Follow health and safety regulations and keep the work area clean and organized.

  9. Be flexible: Be willing to take on different roles, such as bussing tables, as needed.

  10. Be open to learning: Continuously improve your skills and knowledge about food, service, and the restaurant industry.

Additionally, having a good attitude and being willing to go above and beyond for customers can make a big difference in the success of a server.

In many countries, including the United States, it is common for customers to leave a tip for servers as a way of showing appreciation for good service. Tips are normally given in cash, but some customers may also tip using a credit card or other electronic payment methods. It is usually calculated as a percentage of the total bill or as a flat amount, and the standard tip for good service is generally between 15-20% of the total bill.

Tips are considered to be a form of income for servers and are often used to supplement their regular wages. However, the number of tips received can vary greatly depending on factors such as the type of establishment, the level of service provided, and the local culture.

Quite an interesting fact that tips are considered taxable income and servers are expected to report their tips to the IRS and pay taxes on them.

In some places, restaurants may use a "tip pooling" system, where all of the tips collected during a shift are divided among the servers, bartenders, and other staff members who had direct contact with customers.

Are servers allowed to eat the food they serve? 

It depends on the specific restaurant and its policies, but in general, servers are usually allowed to eat food from the restaurant while they are on their break or their shift is over. Some restaurants may have specific policies in place that allow servers to take home leftovers or receive discounts on food.

Additionally, servers should be careful not to consume too much food while on the job, as it can affect their ability to perform their duties and provide good service to customers.

It's also important for servers to maintain good hygiene standards and to wash their hands before eating, to avoid cross-contamination, and to maintain a safe working environment.

by Evgenii Solianikov

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