How to Be a Server

There is real money to be made working as a server. It does take time, hard work, and a lot of patience to make good money, but it is possible.


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    Know your menu inside and out; know what the main ingredients, cooking method, and allergens are of every dish.
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    Always wear your uniform and look neat.
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    Be on time, or even better, arrive early. When you are consistently not late, your boss will know he/she can count on you as a trustworthy and reliable employee.
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    Bring a $50 bank (all ones, fives, and coins so you can quickly cash out your guests)
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    Be willing to assist your coworkers or customers at all times.
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    Always greet tables as soon as possible, preferably within 30 seconds. If you cannot get over there that fast, stop by and smile and say, "Hi folks, I will be right with you," so they feel welcome and acknowledged.
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    Be friendly but professional. If a table wants to chit chat, that's fine, but keep it short and sweet because you do have other things to do. Most tables don't want to talk to their server much, so this really isn’t an issue most of the time. Be available to help them, but not in their personal space.
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    Repeat the order back to the guests after they order. Reason being, they may have told you something wrong, this way you can get the order incorrectly.
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    Keep their cups full! When you see a glass halfway empty, get a new glass of their beverage out to them or refill their glass. Don't make them have to ask you.
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    Keep them updated on the progress of their food. If they order something that takes a long time, tell them it will take a little bit longer, or if something is taking way too long, get your manager involved. It is not your fault if the kitchen messes up. That's why you want to get your manager over there to basically cover your situation on that problem, and so they don't base your tip on a mistake made by the kitchen.
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    Have a bounce in your step and show people your pearly whites! Having a great attitude helps a lot, also in helping you have a better day sometimes.
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    Don't let a crappy tip get you down. You never know, your next table may leave you a whopping tip for you just being friendly. A guy in the bar who isn’t even your guest might give you $20 just for bringing him a basket of bread.
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    Remember that you represent your restaurant. Every time you interact with a guest, the way you come off to them will affect what they tell their friends about their experience at your restaurant.
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    Very important-- do things by the book. If your manager says to do things a certain way, don't try to make a shortcut! You will seem more professional if you do things the right way the first time, plus it will give you some job security if you ever have any crazy guest complaints, because sometimes people will complain just to get something free. If you do everything by the book, your table can't write a complaint letter about you, literally.
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    Remember that it is all about teamwork in a restaurant. Everybody helps the shift run smoother by helping however they can. Do all you can to help out your co-workers and guests, even if they are not your guests. Just think -- they may be your guest next time.
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    Don't forget to tip your bartender and busser.
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    In your downtime, when it is slow in the restaurant, concentrate on still giving great service, and keep everything stocked up like sweet tea, ice, and straws: whatever you will need.
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    Wait on every table you can. Do not turn down a table because you want to text on your phone (better yet, leave your cell phone at the host stand.) The more tables you can turn, the more money you make.
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    Whatever happens, just keep things in perspective, that there will be tables that tip you very generously to make up for the ones that don't-and try to work at the busiest, most popular restaurant in town. You will make a lot of money there.
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    Save your money -- if you have a great night, tuck a little away because you never know if the next night may be unexpectedly slow.
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    Eat light before you go to work--that way you won't feel sluggish and sleepy at work. If you eat a heavy meal, you won’t want to work.
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    Don’t panic, ever, no matter how needed you are. Take a deep breath and ask for help.
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    Remember your managers want to see you succeed and they are there to help you and support you!


  • Be nice to the guests no matter what.
  • Order accuracy is the rule!
  • Tip your bussers and bartenders fairly.
  • A smile and a bounce in your step help.
  • Show your managers how awesome you are by being on time and always wearing your uniform clean and ironed.
  • Don’t judge people's character on how they tip. Some people, a lot actually, don’t understand tipping.
  • Follow the rules at work.
  • Greet your tables in 30 seconds.
  • Happy kids equals happy parents. Make the kids happy and the adult guests will have a better experience.
  • Turn your tables -- get more, if you can.
  • Teamwork is the most important thing to making good tips; so that no one is ignored, forgotten or overlooked whether by you yourself or by one of your co-workers. Teamwork is also impressive and pleasing to the clients.
  • Keep those drinks full! Halfway empty -- it's time to bring them a refill.
  • Suggest an appetizer, also suggest an entrée. It will show that you are available to help.


  • Don’t let your standard of service go down. Give the kind of service you would like to receive, your managers will notice.
  • When you go out to eat, tip well. You never know who will end up eating at your table at your job!
  • People will tell your managers bad stuff about you sometimes, true or untrue -- so do everything right that you can control. You can be on time and wear a well-ironed uniform and do your work correctly. It’s like insurance for bad things happening. Your managers have to recognize that you do always try to be the best employee you can.

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Categories: Volunteer and Community Service