I’m not a waitress, but I do work in the food business. I am a “Sandwich Artist” at Subway, a fancy term for someone who works nearly every day cutting bread, making backups, cleaning dishes, and dealing with customers, nasty and nice. Counting tips at the end of a long shift is quite rewarding, especially if those tips are your only spending money (all my checks go directly into the bank for college). On some days, I earn more than seven dollars in tips. On other days, I earn less than five. I’ve learned that there are multiple factors to how to make better tips. Whether you are a waitress, a cook, a counter clerk, or even a Sandwich Artist like me, follow these simple steps and you’ll be sure to earn more tips!
Disclaimer: Not everyone tips. You have to remember that. Do not beg someone for tips. Your boss will like you less and the people who come to your restaurant will like you less. Who knows, they may never come back, and that, my dears, means your head on the chopping block.
- Make eye contact. By looking your customer in the eyes, you are showing him that you care, and actually establishing a connection between the both of you! Rather than staring at the wall or at the table when your customer is giving you an order, show him you care by looking into his eyes.
- Speak up! While asking someone what they would like to order, don’t mumble under your breath. Especially if you are catering to the elderly, speaking up is key. Just be careful to watch your tone: you’re not yelling to someone across the football field! Just elevate the volume slightly, and there will be less confusion between the both of you. [Also, don’t be afraid to ask the customer to speak up, too! He will be grateful that you did everything you could to get his order exactly right.]
- On that subject, Clarify. If you think you heard what your customer ordered, but aren’t exactly sure, ask again! You have no idea how many times I’ve had to start a sandwich all over again because someone asked for a “Spicy Italian” instead of an “Italian BMT.” There isn’t much of a difference between the sandwiches, but there’s a huge difference between the prices! Make sure your customer gets exactly what he’s looking for.
- Smile, as often as possible. When someone walks in, smile to them. When they sit down, smile. And when you finally introduce yourself to them, smile again! Welcome them to the restaurant! They will be glad they came to a place filled with happy people, who (outwardly) love the job they do!
- Thank your customers before they leave for visiting your restaurant. A lot of people forget this, and simply say “Have a great day,” but that is not enough! Customers will be flattered that you thanked them, and flattery is effective.
- Clean your hands. Especially if you work at a fast food restaurant like I do. If a customer sees you cleaning hands before the next order, he will respect you more. Who knows, that customer could be a die-hard vegetarian, and by simply cleaning your hands you would have saved them from their first brush with meat!
- Don’t be overly personal or obnoxious. Nobody wants to hear about your latest breakup, least of all your customers. Save the petty small talk for later (if you have to make small talk, make it about the customers, not you!) Also, keep the small talk small. A waitress at a restaurant I visited last week went on and on, nicknaming each of us “honey,” and “sweetie,” and “love.” She accidentally insulted my grandmother by asking her if she was my grandfather’s mother. She tried too hard, and that was when we realized that the service at The Fish Market wasn’t all that great.
- Don’t hurry! Some jobs require you to hustle, but hustling doesn’t mean hurrying. Take the time to make your order perfect. Wait patiently for your customer to decide what he wants, rather than tapping your foot, smacking your lips, and staring out the window with your hand on your hips. Who cares if your shift ended five minutes ago? More minutes, more money, and possibly better tips.
- Don’t pick a fight. Some people come to work in the most terrible mood. Please, don’t let your personal life affect your work life. Smile through it! If a customer is bothering you, don’t talk down to him! Simply apologize (or brush whatever they said off) and continue on. About a week ago, my friend Kelly forgot to put turkey on a customer’s sandwich. He yelled at her, saying “This is the worst Subway experience I’ve ever had!” Instead of yelling right back, she said, “I’m sorry I forgot your turkey; It’s completely my fault.” Take responsibility like Kelly, and most of all, be responsible!
- Don’t forget to smile! Smiling makes you feel better and reassures your customer. I said it before but I’ll say it again, smile smile smile!
I hope this article helps you create better relationships between you and your customer, and ultimately garner you more tips.
What kind of job do you work where you make tips? What would your “tips” be for making more? Leave a comment below! I’d love to hear about it!