Becoming a waiter or waitress is 2012 is not exactly what it was 50, or even 20, years ago. Restaurants today have more demanding customers, making waiting tables a more demanding job as well. As the economic downturn forces many people to find alternative forms of employment, restaurants can also be more selective with their applicants.
Waiters and waitress sometimes have the ability to advance into management positions, so even if it is a temporary or secondary job, it is important to strive for greatness.
Seven Easy Steps to Becoming a Great Waiter/Waitress
1. Always Arrive Early
As with any job, it is important to take your duties seriously. Arriving 10-15 minutes early will show management that you’re serious about doing well. It will also give you plenty of time to wash up and prepare any tools you’ll need.
2. Come Prepared
It may seem like a small thing, but being prepared as a waiter or waitress is often overlooked. Having plenty of pens and a full pad of paper will ensure your customers don’t have to wait longer to order. It’s so easy to put a few extra pens in your pocket and will save you the embarrassment of being unprepared in front of customers.
3. Know the Menu
Along with having the right tools to succeed, you’ll also need to mentally prepare for each day. Know what special, if any, your restaurant is serving and be prepared to answer questions about them. Being able to describe dishes in detail and answer questions about them will make customers more likely to order them. Since specials exist to make additional revenue for the restaurant, this will also make management happy.
4. Always Greet with a Smile
When approaching a table for the first time, always lead with a smile and introduce yourself. Customers should have gotten menus when they were seated, but if not, make sure you give them one. This is also a good time to take drink orders. You might also offer to put in an appetizer order for them and ask if they would like additional time to look at the menu.
5. Offer to Answer Before It’s Asked
Before taking a customer’s order, always ask if they have any questions about the menu, rather than waiting for the customer to ask you. This will keep you engaged with the customer and let them know that you are willing to help them and are there to get them what they need.
6. Always Ask if the Food is OK
After the food has been served and the customer has had a chance to try some, always stop and ask if everything is OK. If something is wrong, do your best to work with management and the kitchen to correct it.
7. Return Change Without Asking
Once a customer is ready to pay, never ask them if they require change from large bills. This, very rudely, shows that you are expecting a certain size tip. It may offend a customer and deter them from tipping an appropriate amount. If a large bill is given, simply make change without being asked to do so and quickly return it to the customer.
Following these steps will help ensure your success as a waiter or waitress. Being personal, friendly and efficient are good qualities to have no matter what your profession is, so working on them may also lead to other career opportunities.
Amanda Dee is a professional blogger that writes on a variety of topics including Las Vegas restaurants. She writes for Restaurants.com, a leading source of restaurant coupons for fine dining establishments.
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